GDST Creative Writing Prize | Girls' Day School Trust

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GDST Creative Writing Prize

This year, the theme for the GDST Creative Writing prize was ‘courage’ and the entries were judged by Harriet Goodwin, an alumna of Bromley High School. 

Harriet read English Literature at Balliol College, Oxford before training as a professional singer at the Royal Northern College of Music. She has sung as a soloist at numerous venues throughout the UK and has also performed and toured with such internationally-acclaimed ensembles as The Sixteen and The Monteverdi Choir.

Shortly after the birth of her fourth child, Harriet had a vivid dream about a boy falling into a ghostly Underworld. She started writing for ten minutes a day, until she had the first draft of The Boy Who Fell Down Exit 43. The novel went on to be shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book of the Year Award, and since then Harriet has written three more novels for 8-12 year olds: Gravenhunger, The Hex Factor and Dark Tide.

Harriet very much enjoys visiting schools, delivering a flexible mixture of presentations and creative writing workshops to all ages. In the workshops, Harriet concentrates on getting students’ writing to “spring off the page”, on showing rather than telling, on characterisation and on story structure.  Harriet can be contacted through her website


2017 competition


Years 1 and 2 category winner:

Molly Doherty, Ipswich High School for Girls

Molly and the Alligators

Great action, with plenty of “showing, not telling”. Some wonderful similes and a good story arc. I loved the cheeky ending!

Prize: £100 Amazon voucher

Highly commended:

Noor Goeffers, Notting Hill & Ealing High School

Courageous Po


Years 3 and 4 category winner:

Fatema Zahra Mithwani, Northwood College for Girls

A Bowlful of Courage

Lovely use of voice: a proper storyteller already! Imaginative and good action. Zinging with life!

Prize: £100 Amazon voucher

Highly commended

Sylvie McAlpine Lee, Kensington Prep School

A Little Courage


Years 5 and 6 category winner:

Annabel Nuijens, Bromley High School

Stars in Heaven

Sophisticated writing: you managed to tie in the emotional with the physical. Lovely imagery. Great twist at the end.

Prize: £100 Amazon voucher

Highly commended:

Matilda Pope, Howell's School, Llandaff

Dear Diary


Years 7, 8 and 9 category winner:

Ruby Howard, Northampton High School

Devilish Courage

Wow! You hooked me in from the start. Unusual, imaginative, great use of voice. Develop it!

Prize: £100 Amazon voucher        

Highly commended:

Sharna Raymond, Sutton High School

The Chase of Perseverance


Years 10 and 11 category winner:

Sophie Varma, Nottingham Girls' High School

Petit Courage

I had the shivers reading this. Great concept and very exciting. I was right there, in the head of the protagonist. Fabulous ending.

Prize: £100 Amazon voucher

Highly commended:

Phoebe Blake, Sydenham High School

Finding Edie Lewis


Years 12 and 13 category winner:

Camilla Blakesley, South Hampstead High School


Quite simply stunning. You very nearly made me cry, and I shall keep this poem forever. Beautiful use of imagery. It is everything a poem should be.

Prize: £100 Amazon voucher

Highly commended:

Ivon Lai, The Royal High School, Bath