During Lockdown, our students have been encouraged, by Mr. Bridge, to enter a competition, organised by UoM, which allows them to use their writing skills imaginatively to capture the experience of living through a pandemic. Our students, Caitlin Bones and Madeleine Storer rose to the challenge and have successfully become published finalists in The Manchester Review. Check out this link to see their work, alongside that of other finalists.
Caitlin’s story, Quiet in the Storm, she explains, “revolves around silence – something I’ve always loved, but I hadn’t realised how much I missed noise until it was gone – which I then incorporated with many of my friends’ feelings. We’re all feeling much more positive now thankfully, but it feels special to encapsulate a moment in time even when we move on.” Haven’t You Heard, by Madeleine, is essentially a work of the imagination; “…however, I tried to incorporate my own experience of life during Lockdown and how surreal everything became, with empty streets and closed shops,” she told me.
Intrigued to understand their influences, I asked both of our successful students about their favourite authors. Neither could put that influence down to a single author, both preferring to keep their reading experience as broad as possible, although Caitlin is particularly fond of songwriter Sam Fender: she loves his lyrics. Madeliene does not have a favourite genre either, though she does enjoy stories that contain an element of the surreal, while Caitlin enjoys reading mysteries. It was particularly enjoyable for her, through Lockdown, to be carried away, by a good book, to imaginary realms, away from ‘the dreariness of Lockdown”.
When asked about their feelings on hearing they had become published finalists, Madeleine said: “I was really surprised as I entered with no expectations and have never done anything like this before.” “I was in awe. I couldn’t believe it!” exclaimed Caitlin. It was especially remarkable for them to find that their work could sit alongside so many other accomplished pieces of writing in The Manchester Review.
Neither student has plans to be entering more writing competitions any time soon, but both love writing and will continue to do so for their own pleasure and recreation. Let’s hope they don’t keep their creativity all to themselves. As Mr. Bridge says of their published work: “It’s really excellent writing by both students, in my opinion.”
Couldn’t agree more!