We are thrilled to announce the winners and shortlist in our first Monologue/Duologue competition! We had a lot of entries and the standard was so high that we struggled even to draw up a shortlist and ended up making Simon & Schuster take all the hard decisions! We didn’t envy Jane Griffiths (editorial director at Simon & Schuster) her job of selecting winners one little bit…
So, before we single anyone out, some general comments:
- Everyone that entered should feel really proud of themselves. There wasn’t a single entry that we thought was poor. Every one showed imagination, skill and effort. We know how busy you all are (there were entrants at every point along the 10 to 16 age range). It takes a lot, not just to think about entering a competition but to actually follow through, make the time and do the work. We knew we were setting quite a hard task and we were insanely impressed!
- We’d given a completely free choice of subject matter and it was brilliant to see the range. For example, there were a number of very strong pieces about mental health issues, there were scenes where protagonists were facing real existential crises, entrants wrote of drug abuse, bereavement, homelessness, abusive parents and abusive teachers, school and exam pressure, a prison break in North Korea as well as, for example, pieces inspired by Lord of the Rings or Pretty Little Liars. Most of the work was dark and unsettling but there was some skilful comedy too.
- There were more monologues than duologues but again here the range impressed - a heart to heart between God and the Devil, a courtship scene during a Romeo & Juliet rehearsal, a conversation between the two ugly sisters after the Ball, some tricky relationship conversations and an appearance by a unicorn!
- Some entrants collaborated and we’d love to know how they found that process. Fun and/or tricky? Mail us!
- There was confident use of direction so that even in very short pieces a scene was conjured up. Most entrants wrote almost up to the word count but there were some powerful shorter pieces too.
We’re going to run this competition again next year so keep an eye on the website. We’d love to read what you write next. More generally if any of you want more feedback on your work or want to talk about your writing at any time, just email us or if schools with entries would like us to chat them through by Skype just get in touch.
Here’s what Jane Griffiths, editorial director at Simon & Schuster had to say: “It is rare to receive such a wonderful array of impressive submission for competitions, so a huge ‘Congratulations’ goes out to everyone who entered the competition and contributed to making the task of picking the winners such a difficult one. It’s exciting to see that there are so many talented young writers out there.”
And Jane couldn’t resist sharing them in the department! Jade Westwood, Publicity & Marketing asked us to pass on her congratulations, “I was SO relieved I didn’t have the task of picking the shortlists/winners, as the standard of entries was so high I wouldn’t have known who to pick!”
We showed lots of the entries to our agent, Hannah Sheppard (DHH Literary Agency) and she said, “The standard was great. I was impressed by the passion and sense of voice across the board and the atmosphere in some and the humour in others.”
Age 14 to 16
Olakitan Delano (14) for “I struggle with _____” Read his entry HERE
Age 10 to 13
Freya Hannan-Mills (13) for “Araminta” Read her entry HERE
Short List In no particular order… Press on the titles to read!
Rohan Chakraborty for “The Stars Glow Even Brighter”
Elhem Loukily for "Void"
Jenny Lancaster-Symington for “The day started well enough…”
Venus Ashu for “The Man I Was Before”
Holly Thomas for “Alec & Brad”
Jawhara Madani for “Hello my name is Emma…”
Amelia Peto for ‘Life’s Fickle Dance…”
Tess Marshallsay & Hannah Bryan for “The Fallout”
Samina Jalil for “Why does life dump the imbeciles on me?”
Helena Auty for “After the Ball”
The winner of the Simon & Schuster book bundle prize is Sir Jonathan North Community College in Leicester.
We will email the winners and those on the shortlist over the next couple of days to sort out prizes so keep an eye on your inboxes!
Honor & Perdita xx