The 2019 International Agatha Christie Festival introduced a competition to uncover Devon’s newest writing talent among young people aged 8-18. All were challenged to write a short story of no more than 1,000 words which involved a mystery; entrants were judged on the originality, characterisation and clever plotting of their stories.
Sophie Hannah, best-selling author of crime fiction and authorised writer of the new Poirot mysteries, chaired a panel of judges which included representatives from the Festival and its partners, literature development agency Literature Works and Devon libraries’ managing organisation, Libraries Unlimited. Sophie’s final choice of winners in a highly competitive field is:
Category One: young people aged 8-13
Winner: Lily Perkins, aged 11, from Newton Abbott for her story ‘The Mist’
Highly Commended: Robyn Callard, aged 11, from Yelverton for her story ‘Stage Fright’
Category Two: young people aged 14-18
Winner: Grace Stephens, aged 16, from Exmouth for her story ‘The Last Laugh’
Highly Commended: Kitty Giles O’Connell, aged 15, from Totnes for her story ‘Red Rose’.
You can read the award-winning and commended stories here.
The winning and highly commended writers were invited to receive their prizes from Sophie Hannah and to read aloud their stories at a presentation at Torre Abbey on 14 September during the 2019 International Agatha Christie Festival.
The winners each received an Apple iPad mini; winners and commended authors also receive a further gift of books.
Supported by Wollens and PKF Francis Clark.
Image, left to right: Grace Stephens (winner category 2), Robyn Callard (highly commended category 1), Novelist Sophie Hannah (Judge), Lily Perkins (winner Category one), Kitty Giles-O’Connell (highly commended category 2). Photographer: Emily Appleton.