GDST Creative Writing Prize Results 2023

Creative Writing Prize 2023

This year, the theme for the GDST Creative Writing Prize was ‘Our Planet’. The entries were judged by Rachel Hore, an alumna of Sutton High School and author of twelve novels, many of them Sunday Times Top Ten bestsellers.

Rachel commented on GDST Creative Writing prize:

“I enjoyed reading the impressive range of submissions for the Creative Writing Prize this year on the subject of ‘Our Planet’. It was sobering to realise how well these young writers comprehend our poor stewardship of the planet, but impressive to see a strong sense of moral justice at work. They are outraged in these stories and poems and call for things to be put right. A large number of pieces addressed the despoliation of our oceans by pollution, the threat to bio-diversity and the effects on landscapes of devastating global warming. Many stories and poems focused on ways to restore our planet’s health, particularly by appeal to governments, and by calling on humanity to change its destructive ways. Writings by the younger age groups tended towards optimism for change. A note of cynicism entered the work of older students, however, many favouring accounts of humanity seeking refuge on other planets or dramatising aspects of humanity’s last moments.”


The winning stories are:

Years 1 & 2:



The Cloud Forest Magical Spooky Adventure – Alexandra – Brighton Girls

An imaginative, upbeat and magical approach to the difficult issue of loss of biodiversity. Full of beautiful imagery.

Read Alexandra's story


Highly Commended:

The Snowflake Heroes

Paavani – Northwood College for Girls

A pacy and well-structured story about the Snowflake Sisters of the Arctic who set out to save habitats from climate change. Lively dialogue and effective description of the natural world.

Read Paavani's story


Our Planet

Elena – Blackheath High School

A  moving poem to the Earth as seen from space. Simple, but full of beautiful visual imagery and a sense of wonder.

Read Elena's story


Years 3 & 4:



Our Planet: A Tragic Tale

Charlotte – Wimbledon High School

How our despoiled Earth viewed from space came to look like a brown pickle. This is a well-sustained narrative with some impressive descriptive writing on display.

Read Charlotte's story


Highly Commended:

What Have We Become?

Elizabeth  – Kensington Prep School

A well-told futuristic story about abandoning Planet Earth in a spaceship, this features a touching central character.

Read Elizabeth's story


Yuni Saves the World

Ahana – Blackheath High School

Some impressive descriptive writing in this account of Yuni who flees his own dying planet and encounters ours in its damaged beauty.

Read Ahana's story


Years 5 & 6



A Day in the Desert

Isla  – Blackheath High School

A lovely descriptive poem about the beauty of the desert, full of effective imagery and thoughtful reflection.

Read Alexandra's story


Highly Commended:

It’s Dreamtime

Jisoo – Sutton High School

An accomplished story set in the Australian outback, vividly told and with a magical approach to addressing the effects of climate change.

Read Jiscoo's story


Years 7, 8 & 9



Our Planet

Arwa – Croydon High School

Two generations of Bangladeshi women encounter the devastating effects of climate change in their country. A cleverly structured and vividly dramatised story that conveys a mature outlook.

Read Arwa's story


Highly Commended:

A Brighter Future

Aneesa – Oxford High School

Hope for the future found in dystopian times – invested in a central seed bank. This is a well-paced, suspenseful, atmospheric and immersive story.

Read Aneesa's story


Years 10 & 11



My Short Fifteen Years

Natalie– Norwich High School for Girls

A passionate, cogently argued and well sustained piece of creative non-fiction that explores the devastating effects of cyberspace on the hearts and minds of the younger generation.

Read Natalie's story


Highly Commended:

Our Planet

Aliya – Northwood College for Girls

I appreciated the unusual but effective approach of this imaginative and sobering account in which Earth is personified, dying amidst her family of planets.

Read Aliya's story


Years 12 & 13



Three Whales in One Tank

Lauren – Wimbledon High School

An unusual, moving but unsentimental tale told from the point of view of a captive Orca. Well-paced with sure-footed prose.

Read Lauren's story


Highly Commended:


Rosalind – Oxford High School

An imaginative and nuanced story of an uneasy friendship, a mature realism is on display here.

Read Rosalind's story

Many, many congratulations to the winners! We hope you enjoy their brilliant stories.


Rachel Hore attended Sutton High School between 1970 and 1978, after which she read Modern History at St Catherine’s College, Oxford. For many years she enjoyed a career as an editor for HarperCollins in London before moving with her family to Norwich, where she started to write fiction and taught publishing and creative writing part-time at the University of East Anglia. Rachel is now a full-time writer, the author of twelve novels, many of them Sunday Times Top Ten bestsellers. A Place of Secrets, Last Letter Home and A Beautiful Spy were each selected by Richard and Judy for their Bookclub in association with WH Smith. The Glass Painter’s Daughter (2009) was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Romantic Novel of the Year. A Gathering Storm (2011) was shortlisted for their Historical Novel of the Year. Her new novel, One Moonlit Night, set in the Norfolk countryside and wartime France, was published in 2022.