Perse Student Wins BBC Young Writers Award 2016
Lizzie Freestone, 14, from Cambridge is celebrating this week having won the top prize in the BBC’s National Young Writers’ Competition. Lizzie, a Year 10 student at The Perse School, is passionate about writing and dreams of publishing her own book one day.
Her short story, entitled ‘Ode to a Boy Musician’ was inspired by Lizzie’s household piano, and is a poetic and lyrical story of a boy set free by music.
Lizzie said: “I never expected to win the Young Writers’ Award and it was such a surprise. To say I’m happy is an understatement, I am overwhelmed and really can’t believe it.”
The BBC team of judges which included BBC Radio 1’s Alice Levine said: “We received some incredible entries and the standard was very high, but one story really stood out and that was Lizzie’s. She was one of the youngest people that entered and she was also the unanimous favourite. Her writing was beautiful. Her story makes you feel unnerved and really brings out unusual emotions.”
Lizzie wanted to write a story about music and how it can affect people’s lives. She said: “My story is about a boy playing the piano and the room and the situation he is in. It’s an emotional piece and it’s left on a cliff-hanger. I love writing short stories, it’s relaxing and interesting and it’s like a hobby. The story I entered is one of my favourites – I just thought I would submit my story and see what would happen.”
British actress Daisy Ridley, famous for her role as Rey in Star Wars read Lizzie’s story on Radio 1’s Huw Stephens show, and praised Lizzie for her talent. She said: “I feel very lucky that I was able to read out this amazing story. Congratulations on winning, I hope this is a brilliant present for you and I hope to meet you at some point in the future”.
Lizzie joined The Perse School in Year 9 and says that English, Maths and Drama are her favourite subjects. She says that winning the competition has encouraged her to continue to work hard in all her subjects and especially to write more short stories. She said: “I like to write about interesting things and learn more about something through my writing. You have to immerse yourself into the story so that it feels real for everyone else reading it. You can still be aware that you are writing but you need to make the characters believable, like real people.”
You can listen to Lizzie’s story here: