Wisbech girl, 15, crowned winner of Young Walter Scott national creative writing competition

PUBLISHED: 14:06 31 March 2017 | UPDATED: 14:06 31 March 2017

A 15-year-old girl from Wisbech has been crowned the winner of a national creative writing competition.

A 15-year-old girl from Wisbech has been crowned the winner of a national creative writing competition.

Archant

A 15-year-old girl from Wisbech has been crowned the winner of a national creative writing competition.

Demelza Mason won the Young Walter Scott prize for the 11-15 age group thanks to her story ‘Smuggler’s Moon’, a retelling of an 18th Century story about smugglers in Cornwall.

She said of her inspiration for the story: “I’d just watched a documentary by Tony Robinson about Zephaniah Job, the ‘smugglers banker’, who turns out to be my main character.

“My whole family loves Cornwall, which is why I’m named after a character from the Poldark novels, and also why I chose to base my story there.”

The judges said of the story: “Demelza chose a less traditional setting than we might have expected for this story of a group of smugglers caught red-handed.

“We admired the atmosphere she created through rich imagery and authentic dialogue and dialect, and the way the narrative’s focus suddenly spotlights young Zeph, from whom the soldiers demand answers.

“Demelza is a most accomplished writer, and an ambitious storyteller, drawing on her clear knowledge and understanding of the period, and of the dangerous world of smuggling.”

The Young Walter Scott Prize, which launched in 2015, is a UK-wide creative writing prize for 11-19 year olds, challenging young people to write a piece of short fiction set in a time before they were born.

She will receive a £500 travel grant, a published book of her work, and a two-day trip to the Borders Book Festival in Melrose, Scotland where she will be presented with her prize.

Entries from across England, Wales and Scotland were judged by a panel including award-winning writer Elizabeth Laird; the prize’s sponsor the Duchess of Buccleuch; its director Alan Caig Wilson, and the literary agent Kathryn Ross.

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