Slough youngster wins first prize in national writing competition

A 13-year-old boy from Slough has expressed his excitement after winning first prize in a national writing competition.

Herschel Grammar School student Ayman Mohammed received the accolade as part of the Henrietta Branford Writing Competition.

The annual competition, open to youngsters under 19, seeks out and encourages future writers and runs in conjunction with the Branford Boase Award, which highlights excellence in writing and publishing for children.

This year’s participants were asked to complete a story started by last year’s Brandford Board Award winner author Struan Murray.

The paragraph he started is full of possibilities – fireworks suddenly frozen in time, an empty house and a figure moving in the garden.

The competition received more than 500 entries.

Ayman’s story, entitled A Simulation, begins with a ‘very anxious narrator’ as well as the arrival of a robot with an order to freeze the earth.

However, as the story continues the fear is eased by more light-hearted occurrences and ends on a happy note with a surprise reference to Roald Dahl’s The BFG.

His prize saw Ayman win a set of eight books on the shortlist for the 2022 Brandford Boase Award, all signed by their authors.

Ayman said: “I got into writing during primary school when we would do descriptive writing and sometimes story telling. I found it really fun, although you had to stay stuck to a basic plot.

“It wasn’t really a passion for me, but I would just enjoy it whenever I got to do it.

“I was shocked that I won the competition and I was very excited. I didn’t really expect to win it.

“I will carry on writing as this award has inspired me a lot, and I enjoy it.”

His father, Asifuddin, said: "Being a dad it’s a proud moment for me for having my son’s talent in writing honoured with the prestigious Henrietta Branford award.

“My tears of joy can't stop every time I read his story.”

His mother Zareena Begum said: “Firstly I would like to thank Henrietta Branford Writing Competition for giving Ayman the opportunity to show his hidden talent.

“I am very proud of my son's outstanding performance.

“It's a mixed feeling of joy and emotions, as a parent there is no greater honour than watching your child succeeding, my son is my greatest pride.

“This kind of competition inspires children and gives them the opportunity to show their potential.”

Competition judge Prue Goodwin said: “It’s been a brilliant year for stories.

“Ayman’s story is very lively, and I loved his intertextual reference to the BFG.

“Well done, Ayman.”

Ayman’s story can be read at:

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