GDST Creative Writing Prize | Girls' Day School Trust

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GDST Creative Writing Prize

In 2018 and 2019 the creative writing 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


In 2019, the following awards were made:


Year 1 and 2 category winner:

Winner: Ella Woodcock of Brighton Girls (Little Penguin’s Brave Adventure)

“ Lovely, timeless storytelling. Could easily be made into a little picture-book.”

Runner-up: Imogen Rees of Howell's School, Llandaff (Lilly and the Lost Crown)

“ Great story! Great characters! Great dialogue!”


Year 3 and 4 category winner: 

Winner: Daisy Coote of Kensington Prep (The Magical Plant)

“ A born storyteller! Loads of great detail.”

Runner-up: Isabella Goodman  of South Hampstead High School (The Robin)

“ Beautifully told. I really cared about your characters”.


Year 5 and 6 category winners: 


Fatema Zahra Mithwani of Northwood College for Girls (Raven and the JadeStar)

“ Sophisticated storytelling”.

Marina Godina of Oxford High School (The Tight-Rope)

“ Action-packed and exciting”.


Year 7, 8 and 9 category winner: 

Winner: Madeleine Farrow of South Hampstead High School (Fearlessness)

“Beautiful storytelling. Exciting, too”.

Runner-up: Emeline Hulsen of Bromey High School (Fearlessness)

“ Great use of original imagery. Lovely writing”.


Year 10 and 11 category winner: 

Winner: Alexandra Patterson of Bromley High School  (The Midnight Journey)

“ Great sense of voice. Unusual, original writing. Heartfelt”.

Runner-up: Sunanda Saxena of Blackheath High School (The Old Man)

“ Original voice. Strong use of imagery”.


Year 12 and 13 category winner: 

Winner: Madeline Williams of Shrewsbury High School (Descent)

“Wonderful use of voice. Exciting writing.”

Runner-up: Lybby Drake of Brighton Girls (The Nothing to be Scared Of)



In 2018, the following awards were made:


Year 1 and 2 category winners:


Tuuli Silverstone, Kensington Prep School - (The Girl Who Wanted to Become a Ballerina)

Leyla Chrishan, Wimbledon High School - (Delilah the Determined Tortoise)


Tuuli: A lovely story. Atmospheric, with a great ending!

Leyla: Great use of dialogue. Lovely sense of humour and good characterisation.


Year 3 and 4 category winner: 

Tilly Perrett, Howell’s School, Llandaff - (The Quest of Hedgehog Bobus) 

Original, imaginative and compelling.


Year 5 and 6 category winner: 

Hermione Mattimoe, Notting Hill & Ealing - (Kaichir of Willow Wood)

Beautiful, mature writing. Wonderful use of language.


Year 7, 8 and 9 category winners: 


Georgia Lockey, Northampton High School - (A dark shadow) and

Ariane Compton, Wimbledon High School - (Mutation)


Georgia: Made me shiver. Quirky, twisty and with a wonderful use of voice.

Ariane: Original, imaginative and chilling.


Year 10 and 11 category winner: 

Mary O’Shaughnessy, Oxford High School - (The road less travelled by)

Mary: Fabulous writing. Great use of  voice. Enormously compelling.


Highly Commended:

Ellie McVay, Howell’s School, Llandaff - (Artistic License to Kill) and

Anna Coutts, Putney High School - (To Rule the Sun)


Ellie: Best opening out of all the entries I read (all schools/all ages). Quirky and Dahlesque.

Anna: Lyrical and beautiful. Superb use of language.


Year 12 and 13 category winner: 

Julia Wardley-Kershaw, Northampton High School - (The Night’s Conquest)  

Strong, lyrical and compelling. Great grasp of language.