Marlborough LitFest and English Literature at Bath Spa University are delighted to announce the winners of Marlborough LitFest Love Books Competition which attracted nearly 100 entries. The winners are: in the 13-16 age group – Sophia Pauls, runner-up Henry Green; in the 17-19 age group, Isabel Lee, runner-up Dylan Bailey, and in the 20+ age group, Olivia Bignold-Jordan, runner-up Rebecca Jackson.
The winner in each age group will be given £300; runners-up will each receive £100.
The competition, which has been running since March, invited participants to celebrate their love of reading by explaining their choice of favourite book, poem or play in either words or a video.
Two Bath Spa University students managed the competition as part of their final year English Project module. The judges were: Judy Carver, Writer and CEO William Golding Limited; Jan Williamson, Founder, Marlborough LitFest; Nicola Presley, Senior Lecturer in English Literature at Bath Spa University.
Winner Sophia Pauls of the 13–16 age group wrote about ‘The Storied Life of A.J Fikry’ by Gabrielle Zevin. The judges commented: “This piece was really engaging, and had great energy and passion, as well as wit.”
The judges found Isabel Lee’s entry based on ‘Holes’ by Louis Sachar “a creative and well-sustained piece, successfully assuming another voice, and demonstrating the reader’s engagement in the work.”
Olivia Bignold-Jordan’s entry was based on ‘Purple Hibiscus’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The judges noted that this was: “A courageous piece, with its own narrative arc in a small compass.”
Nicola Presley, Senior Lecturer in English Literature at Bath Spa University, said: “We were delighted with the quality of the submissions received and we would like to thank every entrant for their thoughtful engagement with a wide range of texts.”
Genevieve Clarke, Chair of the Marlborough LitFest, said: “It’s been very exciting to develop this competition with Bath Spa. We’re really grateful for the work that their staff and students have put into it and to the judges for taking on the daunting task of identifying winners out of such a strong field. This has been a great way to demonstrate the power of reading, particularly in such a challenging year.”