Henley Schoolboy Among Winners of Short Story Competition

Dragonfly Tea Award Ceremony19

Children from Henley and Reading were among the winners of a nationwide short story competition that attracted over 1,000 entries. The winners of Dragonfly Tea’s Story in a Teacup short story competition were revealed at a special ceremony at the Henley Literary Festival, which partnered with the Berkshire-based family tea company in a quest to find the best new adult and children writing talents.

Judges for the competition included bestselling writer Jojo Moyes, Charlie and Lola creator Lauren Child, Daily Mail literary editor Sandra Parsons and comedian turned novelist Helen Lederer, who presented the awards.

James Wakefield of Henley-on-Thames took the prize in the 5-10-year-old category. “James managed to create an actual story arc in just 409 words, which is so impressive,” commented Lauren Child. The winner of the 11-15-year-old category was Isabel Knight from Reading. Child praised the story’s “joyous energy”. Each child won £50 of book tokens for themselves and £200 of tokens for their schools.

The winner of the adults’ flash fiction – a story of up to 500 words – was Jane Healey of London, who received £750. Maidenhead’s Karen Martin was the winner of the 3,000-word category for adults, taking the £2,500 prize.

“We would like to congratulate the winning writers and say a big thank you to everyone who entered as well as our fantastic judges,” said Dragonfly’s Georgia Ginsberg. “It was wonderful to see how this competition ignited storytelling and we were truly impressed with the high standard of entries we received.”

“Dragonfly was a perfect partner for this initiative – they truly believe in the power of stories, as well as making delicious tea,” said Harriet Reed, Henley Literary Festival events director. “In a week where we welcomed international bestsellers like Candace Bushnell, Louis de Bernières and Michael Morpurgo to the Festival, it was hugely gratifying to be encouraging the best in new writing talent.”

The 2015 Henley Literary Festival – which ran from 28 September to 4 October – brought a record 18,700 ticket holders to the town for 170 events across 12 local venues including the Town Hall, a boat on the Thames and historic Fawley Court, which opened its doors to the public for the first time in 175 years. Speakers included Archbishop John Sentamu, Jane Hawking, Lynda la Plante, Sue Perkins and Max Hastings as well as children’s authors Cressida Cowell and Lauren Child, who helped make up the bumper Children’s Literary Festival line-up of almost 50 events.