Sidcup 9-year-old named regional winner of National Young Writers’ Award judged by TV presenter Steve Backshall

PUBLISHED: 11:20 08 June 2017 | UPDATED: 11:20 08 June 2017

Thomas Johnson

Thomas Johnson


The overall winner will be surprised in a school assembly by Mr Backshall

A nine-year-old from Sidcup has been named a regional winner in the National Young Writers’ Award.

Thomas Johnson, who attends Red Hill Primary, won the regional heats with his story titled The Amber Watch Time, and now hopes his tale will be shortlisted nitp the top 10 to be announced on June 12.

The competition, organised by tuition provider, Explore Learning in Orpington, and entered by over 10,000 children, is now in its ninth year, and this year’s judge was TV presenter Steve Backshall.

The overall winner will be surprised in a school assembly by Mr Backshall. Every child entered will receive a certificate to celebrate their story, along with personalised feedbaclk.

This year’s theme was The Futue, and children were tasked with writing a 500-word story set in 3017.

Mr Backshall, said: “The quality of the stories was beyond belief. If I didn’t know this was a competition for young writers, I’d believe I was reading the scribblings of Isaac Asimov or Philip K Dick, and while there were elements from the great works of science fiction, every story was original, and had its own sense of individuality.

“What astounded me more than anything was that these young people had not only imagined future worlds, but imbued them with the conundrums of our modern planet.”

Carey Ann Dodah, head of curriculum development at Explore Learning, added: “This year’s National Young Writers’ Awards attracted so many entries so Thomas should be very proud of his success.

“We were blown away with the amazingly creative, thoughtful and inventive stories. We’re thrilled to see so many children demonstrate their interest in such important matters.

“Trees were mentioned more than phones and political leaders features in many stories too. Interestingly, Donald Trump was mentioned six times more than Theresa May.

“It’s so positive to see not only great writing ability but also that children are engaging with key environmental issues and politics.”

Explore Learning provides English and maths tuition to children aged four to 14, with 126 centres, nationally. They ran a number of creative writing workshops in libraries and schools throughout the competition.

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