The 2021/22 academic year got off with a bang thanks to our annual Six Word Story Competition. Inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s six word story, we challenge our young writers to entice us in just six words, a real skill and testament to their imaginations in creating something captivating with limited language. It was a brilliant turnout, with over 60 entries from more than 20 schools.
Last year, understandably, there were some quite dark stories, formed during the heart of the pandemic. This year’s entries have a worldliness and wit to them that our judge at Penguin Random House found incredibly difficult to select a winner from. Many stories seemed to be inspired by fairy tales and magic, providing our writers and us as readers with the escapism we’ve been craving over the past two years. We are delighted to be able to share our winners and shortlist with you here. Happy reading and congratulations to all those who took part!
And the Winner is…
About this thrilling entry from Poppy Shardlow, the judges said: “This story immediately jumped out at me. It feels ambitious and imaginative, and skilfully written – the casualness of the narrator is jarring against the final word ‘scream’.”
Second Place goes to…
About this subtly powerful submission by Maryam Ahmed, the judges said: “I love how this entry is so simple yet could be read in so many different ways. The characters could be so in love that it feels like the world stops when they are together. Or they could be in some sort of time-warp situation that they need to escape from. Each reader will bring their own spin to it!“
Third place goes to…
Our third place prize goes to Michael March, whose story speaks volumes in just six words. The judges said: “Like all great six-word stories, this one packs a punch. It feels poignant and at the same time powerful. We imagine two people whose lives were once so connected growing apart from each other, a situation that so many people can relate to.“
We also have five other entrants that made the shortlist, all of whom will be receiving a certificate of commendation in the post. So, in no particular order, here they are:
Honourable mentions also go to school winners Lucia Kallon, Lilly Terry, Rayhan Qadir, Rahi Shah, Max Hoyle, Efekan Tum, Jessica Alexander, Beata Sirinskyte, Zareen Begum, Stefy Salvetti, Haleema Bi and Biley Ramsey for their innovative and entertaining six word stories!
Another year, another Six Word Story Competition comes to an end. Thank you so much to everyone who entered. We appreciate many of our young people will be having a tough time with home learning this academic year, and we are so grateful that they still managed to share their lovely words with us!
And if you didn’t get a chance to enter the 6-Word Story competition, don’t panic! First Story’s 100-Word Story Competition is now open, and we would very much encourage you to enter.