Preston pupil features in future writers showcase

Posted on - 30th July, 2021 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Arts, Education, Preston News, Schools
Emma Deeks from Future U with the final Through the Window anthology

A 15-year-old Preston student has won a competition that aims to find the best young writers in Lancashire.


Alex Beattie, who attends Myerscough College, was chosen for their story about the experience of isolation, a tale that follows a mermaid trapped in an aquarium.

Organised by careers support organisation Future U, The Future Writers competition encourages young people to explore future careers and the benefits of reading and writing.

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The competition aims to inspire young people to consider careers in the creative writing sector, from authors and journalists to scriptwriting and marketing.

Emma Deeks, Future U Senior Coordinator, said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the quality of young writers in Lancashire and the level of entries that we had for the competition.

“It was a difficult decision, but Alex’s stood out most for its creative interpretation of the ‘Outside the Window’ theme.

“As well as written work, we broadened the criteria to include spoken word pieces and encouraged even more young people to take up the creative challenge. Competitions like this are a great way for young people to express themselves, make their voices heard and will hopefully inspire them towards a creative career.”

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Alex’s entry was chosen by a panel of experts, including academics from partner universities and a guest judge, author Philippa Holloway. The top 10 pieces have been compiled to create an anthology.

As part of the project, Future U also provided Lancashire’s schools with sector skills sessions designed to explore careers within creative industries and outline how young people can get started in creative writing careers

Dr Philippa Holloway said: “The standard of entries for this competition was very high, and so selecting the winners and anthology finalists was difficult. Each entry showcased creativity, imagination, and intelligence in response to the competition.

“The winning piece is a tale of connection and confinement. The window theme is used to show the harrowing toll captivity can take on a character and the longing there is to escape, touch hands and engage with another life without a pane of glass as a barrier and to discover more about the world beyond.

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Dr Philippa Holloway said: “It resonates with our shared feelings of entrapment over the last year but presents this in such a vividly imaginative way the reader can empathise without it feeling too familiar.”

Future U is part of the national Uni Connect Programme, funded by the Office for Students, and supports school pupils across Lancashire to encourage more young people to think about higher education and future careers.

The project involves institutions and organisations across the county. These include the University of Central Lancashire, Lancaster University, Edge Hill University, and the University of Cumbria.

Future U works with a network of schools, colleges, higher education providers and local agencies to create tailored activities to meet the needs of students for now and the future.

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