First prizein the ELL feature writing competition went to Taslima Begum, 17, from Tower Hamlets College with her piece on the protests against the cuts entitled: “My Dear Nicholas, What Has Ye Done? R.I.P Education”.
Taslima’s first person piece about her experience of the demonstration showed that there is undoubtedly a future awaiting in journalism. For winning the competition Taslima will receive £100 worth of Ryman’s vouchers, a place on the journalism summer school, being held at Goldsmiths, University of London and publication of her work on ELL.
Second place was awarded to Radhika Seth, 17, from Prendergast Hillyfields College in Lewisham with her entry “Rebel with a Cause”. This was an engaging piece about the success and survival of a vintage clothes store in Tower Hamlets, written with the confidence and structure that is the mark of a good writer. Radhika will also be attending the summer school and will receive £50 of Ryman’s vouchers so that she is never short of a pen when reporting on a story.
Below is an extract from Taslima’s piece and a short video interview about her experiences of being at the demonstration and writing the winning entry. Many thanks to all those who entered and make sure to apply to the summer school so that the journey into the world of journalism can begin.
“There were people everywhere. They were running. Running fast. What I couldn’t understand is why they were running towards me. They were barging into me, past me, making me nearly fall to the ground and I still couldn’t figure out what all the panic was about. I could tell everyone was screaming because of the terror written across their face and the strain in their necks, but I couldn’t hear anything clearly. It felt as if I was hearing everything from underwater, a distant blurred echo.
I turned my head to the left, to the right. My friend was nowhere to be seen. I wanted her here, I wanted her to explain everything to me, to reassure me, but she was lost in the crowd. Or was it me that was lost? I rubbed my eyes just in case I was seeing things but that only made me view everything in slow motion. It was like a bad movie where the viewer knows something bad is going to happen but the person in the film refuses to move. I must have inhaled some kind of drug forcing me to hallucinate because I was not only the annoying person in the movie, but I felt somehow projected out of my body, acting as the viewer as well, screaming at myself, ‘move you stupid airhead!’ I, in the movie was ignorant; I just stood there staring like a deer in headlights at everything around me crumbled and burned in the midst of sheer horror.”