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‘Scary’ story wins Winchmore Hill student big prize

Saffron Pennycooke has been named the winner of The Big Writing Challenge for her short story Redroom

A Winchmore School student has won a creative writing competition after penning a “scary, emotion-laced story”.

The Big Writing Challenge, organised by London Metropolitan University and Orion Publishing, has named this year’s winner as Winchmore’s Saffron Pennycooke, for her short story Redroom.

The competition introduces students aged 16-18 to professionals from the publishing industry, including writers, agents and publishers. The challenge aims to equip students with a good knowledge and understanding of how the publishing industry works. Using this heightened awareness, students can actively seek out opportunities to get involved in the aspects of publishing that most interest them.

Judge Sareeta Domingo said: “Saffron’s story was steeped in dark, gorgeous descriptions and a really assured tone that was perfect for this scary, emotion-laced story.”

Saffron herself reacted: “The Big Writing Competition is an opportunity geared to any fellow lover of creative writing or just anyone that wants to let their creative juices flow.

“I never would have thought so much could come from my hobby of writing stories.”

As this year’s winner, Saffron will see their work published in full on the Orion website and also receive a Moleskine notebook, a gift box with a £25 book voucher courtesy of the London Review Bookshop, a creative writing course courtesy of The Arvon Foundation, a book of their choice from Orion editors’ recommendations and a copy of The White Review.


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The Big Writing Challenge consisted of initial schools workshops developed and run by members of London Met’s creative writing lecturers and outreach team. Richard Fisher, Liz Routhorn, Funmi Ajibodun and Trevor Norris helped students produce a short piece of creative prose. This was then followed by a bootcamp at London Met where student groups honed their writing with more editing and technical discussion under the guidance and mentorship of a group leader.

Saffron’s teacher at Winchmore School, Tallyia Charalambous, added: “It is a fantastic programme that provides all students an opportunity to engage in creative writing, no matter their subjects of study and ability. The combination of London Met and Orion publishing is one of greatness – communicating every step of the way and giving our students the chance to develop their
knowledge alongside their cultural capital through a diverse range of experiences.”

Read Saffron’s short story Redroom:
Visit orionbooks.co.uk/big-writing-challenge


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