Write On Norfolk

There’s no time like the summer to let your child’s imagination run wild.

Our Write On Norfolk competition will help to keep young minds active and writing skills sharp over the summer holidays. And there are great prizes to be won.

We want children aged from 5 - 13 to submit a piece of original creative writing – a poem, a story, a letter or anything in between.

The piece of writing should be no longer that 500 words and Norfolk has to appear at some point in the piece, whether it’s a story about pirates landing on the beach at Great Yarmouth or an ode to a dragon who lives in Norwich Castle, or a diary entry about a spooky happening in Thetford Forest.

Prizes up for grabs

  • Gold – Fire tablet and £40 Jarrolds Vouchers
  • Silver - £25 Jarrolds Vouchers
  • Bronze - £20 Jarrolds Vouchers

Plus all winners will be invited to select a book from the Jarrolds book section after the event.

All winners will be publicised in local media and online via social media and the Norfolk County Council website.

Entries are now being judged and winners will be notified by 5pm on Monday 11 September. The winners event will be held at the Millennium library on Thursday 5 October at 5pm.

Thank you to Jarrolds and BBC Radio Norfolk for supporting our campaign.

Write On Norfolk competition winners 2016

Gold – Eve Derisley, 12, from Thorpe St Andrew School, Norfolk Senses
– Eve Cameron, 13, Wymondham High Academy, Untitled
– Amber Airey, 11, Thorpe St Andrew School, Untitled
Special commendation – Amelia Platt, 13, Litcham School, The House of Ambition

Gold – Sophie Lines, 8, Cringleford Primary, Library and Go Go dragons
Silver – Gabriella Best, 8, Shouldham Primary Academy, Norfolk – The Place I Love to Be
Bronze – Hannah Sydney, 10, Norwich High School, Souls Poem

Gold – Toby Adlam, 7, Erpingham Primary School, Billy the Barn Owl
Silver – Dakota Flannagan, 7, Scarning Primary School, Mermaid of the Deep
Bronze – Harrisen Hale, 7, home educated, Pete the Peregrine Falcon

Write On Norfolk 2016 winning stories

Name of child: Eve Derisley
Age: 12
School: Thorpe St Andrew School
Award: Gold

Norfolk Senses

I see swallows soaring high in clouds that wisp above farmers corn that glows golden in the spring sun.
I see towering windmills in their glory, sails cutting steadily through the air like knives through butter.
I see stretches of fields and greenery, buzzing with wildlife below the depths of harvested soil.
I see poppies swaying innocently in the wind, the hay bales that children long to climb.

I smell that fresh scent of Norfolk, that carries through the landscapes.
I smell that waft of fish and chips, tickling your taste buds and forcing me to splash out on a seaside delicacy.
I smell the salt on my lips, with images of happy days on the beach.
I smell the rain, as it dances on the country lanes.

I taste the mud that splatters my face when my wheels race down the road.
I taste the lavender fields, when I gallop my horse across the purple meadow.
I taste the metallic gunfire, that reaches the plump pigeon so early in the morning,
following several more shots skywards that send out frightened squawking.

I touch the warm udders of a cow that takes in grass and descends milk into a tin bucket.
I touch the milk that is transported up to the farmers wife, and fed to the baby lambs playing innocently.
I touch the fresh eggs that nestle beneath the chickens soft, ruffled feathers.
I touch the Norfolk way of life and it touches me.

I hear the Norfolk accent that is as rough as sandpaper, yet familiar and warming.
I hear the whistle of wind, that scales my eardrums, as my legs pump my bike around back country roads.
I hear the swallows swooping, as they call the first signs of Spring.
I hear nature calling at midnight, hoots of owls and barks of foxes, comforting in the nights silence.

Name of child: Eve Cameron
Age: 13
School: Wymondham High Academy
Award: Silver

Norfolk is only for the pure. The county of goodness, that's what they say. But I can't change my neurological makeup. I try to hold back my evil like Poseidon holding back the tide. Evil is in the eye of the beholder, right? What one person finds good another may find evil. But evil is inside me, unfolding like dye onto water.

Tomorrow I will have to take a pill that alters my DNA after some tests. January 1st, 2356. If I'm good, then my eyes will turn gold. My skin will be baptised in buttery luminosity. If I'm evil, my eyes will flush carmine. I'll have an injection which makes you mindless and have to do labour. Out founder Katrina Kilane made the injection and pills. She also made the forcefield that encloses Norfolk, separating it from the corrupt. I see pictures of her sometimes. Her eyelashes scatter light, her smile the ragged edges of clouds. Her eyes like a forest pool soaked in summer sunlight.

The tests are difficult the next day. There are tricky statements that you have to circle yes or no for.
It's ok to steal if it's to help someone else, I read.
Stealing is evil, helping is not. Yes.
Power should only be given to those who earn it. Easy enough, yes.
Killing in the name of good is ok. No.
I chew my pencil and clutch the paper and ponder until the time is up.

Next are the character tests. Would you save one relative or six strangers? And the interviews. I know I've failed. My belligerent tone, my glare...
Norfolk is Pure, I tell myself. That's why the forcefield separates it from the rest of Britain.

As I wait for my pill, I watch the sunlight, apricot and charcoal, like summer's skin, stream through the window.
"Alexis Greenwood?" A woman asks.
I follow her to a room; there is a single pill and mirror.
The system is good if you're good. Wonderful if you're wonderful. But I'm not. I swallow my pill, and feel an itchiness in my eyes. I rub them, then look into the mirror.
Red eyes. Evil. Impure. I calm my shaky breaths and look desperately for an escape. I'm being monitored. Any minute now they'll come for me. I grab my chair and smash the window and begin to climb out when I hear shouting.
"Get her!"

I run, but my crimson eyes will make me stand out anywhere. The city I live used to be a flat countryside. Wymondham. You can still find water pump ruins. Now it's skyscrapers-and-robots technology. The people in the street surround me. Something about the voiceless formation frightens me.
LIke they're being controlled too...
Unless they are. Their pill alters but doesn't destroy their minds unlike the pill.
Strong hands grab me, and I'm dragged to a white room and strapped down. I scream when I see the needle.
"It's just business sweetheart," the doctor says, and silences me forever.

Name of child: Amber Airey
Age: 11
School: Thorpe St Andrew School

Fire and smoke filled the Winter air as the people of Cresswell Street gathered. Hazel, who had just popped to the shop to fetch her mother some bread, pushed through the crowd to see what had happened. There she saw a weird sight - her mother and father were lying on the ground. “Oh Mum, Dad, get up, what are you doing?” She stopped. The couple weren't moving, breathing or blinking, their eyes filled with dust. It struck her, the pain tearing her heart in two. Her knees buckled and Hazel fell to the ground clutching her heart and hot, wet tears ran down her pale white cheeks. Then a warm hand wrapped around Hazel's shoulder. She turned and her eyes met a plump friendly face, though it was blurred by her tears. “Is this your Mother and Father?" the Policeman asked.Hazel slowly nodded her head. “I think you should come with me, poor thing.” Hazel didn't want to go but she was too weak to resist. The last thing she remembered was looking at a bright white wall.

She was woken by a pair of long nails that dug into her back making her jump in fright. Hazel twisted her head and saw an old pointed face. The lady was dressed in a bottle green pleated skirt with a matching jacket and hat. She opened her thin pursed lips and started speaking very quickly “I'm your Great Aunt and you will be living with me for the next eight years by which time you will be nineteen and leaving. You shall call me Miss Scriven.”

The following day, Hazel walked up to some towering, green, wooden doors. At which moment she knew life was going to change beyond her imagination.

Hazel sat quietly in the kitchen, straining to hear the hushed voices from the next room. Although she couldn't catch every word, she could tell by her aunt's voice that she was angry and knew that her current plight was the result of a Zeppelin attack on her home town of Kings Lynn. When her aunt came out there was an awkward silence, she sat down and sipped her sweet tea slowly. The silence was broken with a loud knock at the door “Go get it.” Miss Scriven said, Hazel went to open the door but no one was there. She was just about to close the door when something caught her eye. There, on the doorstep was an old shoebox. Quietly, she picked up the box and took it inside. Closing the door gently behind her, she paused in the hallway to peek inside the box. To her amazement, she found herself staring at some items of jewellery that she knew belonged to her mother. She tiptoed upstairs to her room, knowing that her Great Aunt would soon be looking for her. The shoebox was hidden carefully under her bed. The next few years may be hard but she now had treasured keepsakes to help her through...

Name of child: Amelia Platt
Age: 13
School: Litcham School
Special commendation

The House of Ambition 

The large black gloved hand clenched the glistening axe. It hovered for a moment then like a falcon it ripped the air and flew downwards. There was a thud. It reverberated wildly, spreading the sound of a dreadful finality. The raucous crowd screamed its approval as Anne Boleyn's head was lifted high into the air.

A year later Tom Boleyn crept stealthy through the dark, oppressive corridors of Blickling Hall, Norfolk. Dappling pools of candlelight shone on white pale faces that dominated the paintings hanging on the rich velvet walls. Blickling Hall had once been a bustling home. The Boleyns' home had been reduced from an orchestra of wealth to a silent ensemble.

Tom felt a chill on the back of his neck. His body convulsed into shivers as a familiar and mocking voice whispered, “It is I, Anne.” A wave of memories drowned his brain. Anne his sister. Both siblings had been born into a house and family of power. Fed on ambition, the walls of Blickling could not hold them and their insatiable hunger to be loved, known and wanted. When Anne had caught the attention of Henry VIII the Boleyns had encouraged her, including Tom. When Anne had fallen, the Boleyns had regarded her with distaste, so the Boleyn family had returned to Blickling now suffocated by the outside world and not the house as it had been.

Tom turned slowly. Anne Boleyn stood before him dressed in a black dress that seemed fathomless. Her face was pale porcelain. The face was youthful and yet the years of hardship were shown in the harsh lines that cut through it. Her brown eyes filled with accusation bored into Tom's. He felt a stab of guilt. Her long and slender neck stood out, painfully stark in the darkened hallway. Her neck was unadorned except for a bloodied scarf tied around her neck. She seemed real, human except for the shimmering outline of her body.

The wind outside the hall howled incessantly. Anne stepped towards Tom. Even in death she commanded attention. Her face was dispassionate, her mouth arranged in a mocking smile. Tom closed his eyes and waited for the inevitable. The revenge for his continued pursuit of power which had resulted in her death. Instead he found himself engulfed in a hug. It was like he had been shoved into icy water and yet he felt the remnants of warmth struggling to be heard. He stared hard at his sister and saw his sadness reflected in her eyes.

“I'm so sorry,” he whispered.

Anne smiled, grabbed his hand and led him through the halls of Blickling. They spent hours frolicking reverting to their childhood form. And as the morning sun rose in molten flames Anne smiled and whispered, “See you soon.”

As she vanished into the sunlight Tom turned and saw Blickling properly for the first time. He saw the beautiful house fully and for once it was enough.

Name of child: Sophie Lines
Age: 8
School: Cringleford Primary 
Award: Gold

Library and Go Go dragons 

I was sitting reading a book in the forum library when I heard a kind of swishing sound. I turned to have a look and I saw a wing flapping behind a bookshelf. “I wonder what that is”, I said to myself, and went to investigate. There, behind the book case, was a bright colourful Go Go Dragon. The dragon turned around and asked me “What's your name?” I was lost for words and eventually replied, “errr Sophie.” Opening her wings as wide as she could and taking a bow she said “My name is Colourburst and I could do with some help Sophie.” 

Colourburst explained that unless more children read books Norfolk would become as grey as dust. “You see,” said the dragon sadly, “when children read books their imagination runs wild and this fills the air with joy and colour. Without it our market will lose its stripy colours and our golden rapeseed fields will fade. Too many children are watching television and playing video games.” 

I felt angry and heart broken. “I'll do anything to save Norfolk!” I said. I hopped on Colourburst's back and said “Go Go dragon fly to the BBC”, and with that Colourburst flew up into the air and flew me to BBC office. I told the people working there it was an emergency and I needed to make an advert really quickly. So, as quickly as I could, I put an advert on the television that said “Read books, read books, it's good for you and Norfolk so switch you're gadgets off”. While I was making the advert Colourburst was making leaflets. When Colourburst and I where finished I hopped on her back and we posted the leaflets through everybody's door. “Well done Colourburst, I hope this works” I exclaimed happily. 

Colourburst flew me home and I went to sleep. The next morning I had some breakfast and met Colourburst in the library. We were glad to see the library so full of people reading books but there was no room for us to sit down so we picked a pile of books and sat on the steps outside. When I looked up I saw a rainbow shooting across the sky and I had never seen the stripy market roofs shine so brightly. I knew our job was done. I smiled broadly and threw my arms around Colourburst but she felt cold and hard like a statue. 

Every time I walk past Colourburst on my way to the library I remember our mission fondly and if I stare hard enough I can even convince myself that she winks.

Name of child: Gabriella Best
Age: 8
School: Shouldham Primary Academy
Award: Silver
Norfolk - The place I love to be

Norfolk, the place, where I love to be,
Big skies and countryside and close to the sea.
On our way to King's Lynn, to do some shopping,
Around the roundabout with the bunnies hopping.
With it's busy port and Captain Vancouver history,
Old and beautiful buildings, some full of mystery.
Lunch with my family down on the quay,
Is one of my favourite places to be.

A happy, fun town by the sea,
Hunstanton is the place to be.
I run on the beach and take off my socks,
I love the hot sand and stripy rocks.
The lighthouse towers above me on high,
Seagulls dive and swoop from the sky.
Although the lifeboat is often called out to sea,
It's still one of my favourite places to be.

Wells Next the Sea, another favourite place to be.
Through the pine woods, I love the smell,
Will the tide be out or in? Only time will tell.
Amongst the colourful beachhuts galore,
I love to lay on the white sandy floor.
Down on the quay, I just have to say.......
Crabbing and fish and chips, the end to a perfect day!

Norfolk is the place to be,
If you have not been, you must come and see.
Migrating birds, off to far away places,
Big blue skies and open spaces.
With Holkham and Sandringham fit for a Queen,
Norfolk is special, it's beauty must be seen.

Name of child: Hannah Sydney
Age: 10
School: Norwich High School
Award: Bronze

Soul's poem

I scanned the beach.
I was alone.
A solitary figure in the receding light, carefully proceeding towards the site of the footprints, on the now famous Happisburgh beach.
I advanced, right on top of them now, waiting to feel it.
The same sensation I felt five years ago, on this very spot.
And there it was, the presence of another, yet not wholly there.
I whispered: 'What are you? Ghosts?', though I did not expect a reply.
Yet I was given one.
It was not a sound, it was a thought, in my own head, but not from me:
'We are no ghosts. We are souls, from 800,000 years ago. We stay on this site, waiting for a soul like yours to come alone, and listen to our story.'
I waited, in case they said any more.
When they were silent, I asked: 'Tell me a name for me to call you by, for you must have one.'
Now a different voice spoke, telling me their name was Vercingedotta, and they were 7 years old. Her father was Haermid, the 23-year-old leader.
I was intrigued by their presence, for they had not talked to me when I was 5.
I just stood there, in the footprints of Vercingedotta, contemplating existence.
After what must have been three minutes but what felt like forever, I realised I had to go.
I promised to come in another five years, and haltingly meandered away, silently pondering the vanishing cliffs crumbling above the beach.
In years to come, the whole village would be washed away.
Would the footprints of my friends be eroded too?
And is sound really there if only you hear it?

Name of child: Toby Adlam
Age: 7
School: Erpingham Primary School 
Award: Gold

Billy the Barn Owl

Let me begin with my name. It's Billy the barn owl but you can call me Bill. I am rather a handsome barn owl with brown and black speckled feathers, a creamy white face and two beautiful black eyes to look into the distance and see many things. Our story begins at the Norfolk Broads where I see three people I know called Toby, James and Alex taking Never Can Tell 2 for a sail. It's a hot and sunny day and is the first time Toby has been sailing. He is very good with the rudder. Further up the river, I see Salhouse Broad and people queuing up very excitedly for a delicious ice cream from the anchored ice cream boat. It's a shame I don't like ice cream especially on this hot day. I take a break from flapping my massive wings at Ranworth, and I perch on top of the church tower so I can see for miles around. From this height I can see Never Can Tell 2 coming back with its trusty sailors on board. I see a flash of blue as the amazing Kingfisher dives into the river and comes out with a tasty fish for its lunch.

Our next stop is Erpingham. Today the children at Erpingham Primary School are learning about Sir Thomas of Erpingham and the battle of Agincourt. They watch archery and fencing. I love to dodge the flying arrows shot from the big long bow! Oh there's a little mouse for me, yum yum! 

To the splashing waves and cool sand at Cromer next. Lots of children are making sand castles and catching crabs. I can smell hot chips and hear the noisy arcade machines. 

I swoop down over Wroxham Barns to look at the sheep, cows and horses on the Junior Farm. Oh those cheeky goats trying to nibble the children feeding them. It's time for the lambs' bottle feed and I can hear noisy children in the barn helping with it.

Hovering over Norwich cathedral, I look at the Peregrine falcons nesting at the top of the tower. Even though we are all birds of prey, I am better at hunting and far more beautiful.

I fly around the magnificent Norwich castle and look at the ramparts. My least favourite thing about the castle is the stuffed owls in the glass jars! I wish they could be flying with me today, what brilliant fun we would have.

I follow a train from Norwich to Great Yarmouth and watch people enjoying the snail ride at Joyland, which many families of barn owls have enjoyed. 

Time for a quick prehistoric adventure at the Dinosaur Park. Look as I brave flying through the jaws of t-rex! And I see a saber tooth tiger, a woolly mammoth and some cave men! 

Well then, what a wonderful flight around beautiful Norfolk. Time for me to go and rest ready for my next adventure, which I may tell you about soon.

Name of child: Dakota Flannagan
Age: 7
School: Scarning Primary School
Award: Silver

Mermaid of the deep from Norfolk

Once upon a time there was a girl called Coral she was a lovely mermaid and she had two sisters Sophie and Alice who were princesses. Their mummy and daddy were King Marlin and Queen Oceania. 

They all lived in a castle under the sea near Holkham beach in Norfolk. One day a scuba diver called Mike came to dive under the sea and saw the mermaid castle, all the mermaids hid in a secret Chamber as they were scared. 

Mike came up to the surface and the mermaids came out of the secret chamber, Mike told everyone about the beautiful castle he had seen in the sea. Everyone thought he was making it up, they stopped talking looked at him and laughed. Mike felt disappointed so took his friends to the castle and they could not believe what they saw. They saw a mermaid it was Coral and she was terrified, they caught her in a net and she screamed for help. They took her to the beach, her tail turned blue the beach was sandy and had lots of sea shells and stones. She was so frightened as she had never been on this beach before, it was full of people and big furry animals that made lots of barking type noises, some were on a long bit of rope and others were running free. 

Mike lived in a big house nearby that was known as Holkham Hall his name was Mike Coke. The house was really big and had a huge garden with a swimming pool. He took Coral to his house to put her in the pool, his friends helped him carry Coral over the beach through the trees and and up a really long lane into the house. Coral was still crying and wanted to go back to her castle. Lots of people came to see the mermaid and then someone from Great Yarmouth came and took her to a new home at the Sea life centre. 

Coral was missing her sisters, mum and dad and was very unhappy. Mike went back to the Mermaid castle and found her family, he took them to be with Coral at the sea life centre. They got fresh fish for breakfast everyday and they performed special diving tricks for the visiting boys and girls. Every day that passed , Coral and her family cried and were sad as they missed the sea and the castle - they wished that someone would rescue them.

Their sad cries were heard over the wind by Willie the whale who summoned all the sea creature friends nearby. Willie whipped his huge tail and a large wave of water flooded the sea life centre allowing Coral and her family to escape into the sea and they were never seen again. Even the castle had disappeared. If you should ever go to Holkham at night you may just hear Coral singing in the wind.

Name of child: Harrisen Hale
Age: 7
School: home educated
Award: Bronze

Pete the Peregrine Falcon

My nest is atop Norwich Cathedral spire, 
I look down on the city as I soar higher and higher, 
I see the beautiful market with its coloured stalls, 
the Norman castle with its thick stone walls.
Chapelfield Gardens with its bandstand and chess, 
a pantomime dame in a fairy tale dress.
I hear church bells pealing for miles around,
busking musicians join the sound,
swans honking as they fly in formation,
trains tooting as they enter the station.
I smell the river Wensum full of fish,
tasty chips a local dish,
freshly cut grass at Carrow road,
Eaton park gardens neatly hoed.
I`m a Peregrine Falcon my name is Pete
I have the whole of Norwich at my feet.

Name of child: Emily Krause
Age: 5
Special commendation: This entry has been written phonetically which is very typical of a 5 year old learning to write. The judges found this particularly endearing.

The Big Trowt went to Hickling Broad

The big trowt went to see his frends in Hickling Broad. He asked them if they wanted to go to the beech at Great Yarmuth. 
His frends got eatin by a sharck and a boat cums and rescod [rescued] the trowt. It wos a red boat. It sangc [sank] uh oh. Then what wood [would] they do? They wood hafdoo [would have to] call the lighf [life] boat. 

The end.