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The Big Read 2021-22

Writing Competition: Competition Winners and Awards! 

As part of The Big Read, the Library and Humanities Department ran a writing competition across the University for short pieces of up to 1,000 words across Non-Fiction, Poetry and Fiction with the theme 'How we saved our Planet'.

Six applications received commendations and winning prizes. All chosen entries will have their entries available in the Short Story Dispensers available in the Library, and winning entries will have their entry presented on canvases on the Library walls, alongside beingWinner Jayne Flint being presented with her green ideas slipcase by staff member Steve Sharp presented with a copy of the Penguin Green Ideas Slipcase.

Find out more about the winners below.



Exercising Choice - Factionality by Wendy Stern

An inventive piece that really takes on the original Maslin texts and runs with it in the setting of a hairdressing salon. This is an interesting way in to climate change issues regarding energy, water and pollution. The writer uses a variety of techniques and styles, interpolating quotation and factual information in an open form style. Creative, amusing in places, but hard hitting. 


My beautiful beansprout by Sean Webster

A touching, carefully managed script in which father and daughter reach an accommodation on a key environmental issue through a personal conversation which takes us back into their past.

Bedside Prose by Richard Smith 

An imaginative take on the task in hand in which the moon reflects on the earth's plight and the sun's seeming lack of concern.



Blue Plastic Invader by Jayne Flint 

A poem that demonstrates how the smallest gift can contribute to and be emblematic of environmental degradation on a large scale. Through close observation on a domestic scale and at a visceral, bodily level, this poem engages us emotionally in thinking about what we pass on to future generations.


Green by Richard Smith

A thoughtful apostrophe poem, addressed to green in all its facets; this is both meditative and, to a degree, hopeful, focusing on the question of faith in the future.

We have the technology... by Claire Parsons

A poem that uses humour and well-placed repetition of the central conceit to tackle the question of how to save our planet on a practical, homespun level.

Winners Richard Smith and Sean Webster stood with their Green Ideas Slipcase prize.

Non Fiction

First  A World Wide Wood by Richard Smith 

A beautifully composed piece addressed as a direct challenge to us, the readers, to be more deliberate and careful in our own actions from day to day. The piece imagines a different way of being through a sustained analogy between the world wide and the wood wide webs. Profound thoughts emerge from clever use of short instructional sentences.