More superb winning entries from UEA’s Festival of Literature for Young People, this time for the 11-14 year old age group.


Overall Winner 11- 14 and Winner: Prose 11-14



Mother says there used to be a type of flower called bluebells; I still haven’t decided whether to believe her or not.

You see, Mother spins lots of make believe stories in that web of hers – fairies dancing on waving streams, the daunting breath of her old pet dragon and most outrageous of all, the time she danced on the moon.

As a child, I believed the stories she’d whisper me to sleep with. As a child, I was able to picture the small fey and ferocious beasts she created. But a bluebell? That seems too good to be true.

Mother says, “It’s true alright, Cassi. Just long gone, and longer forgotten.” Mother says the last time she plucked one was the summer of 2018, which was a long time ago indeed.

As I normally do, I’ve searched high and low on the shelves at my local libraries, endlessly scanning pointless indexes for signs of a flower that supposedly existed. Nothing. I’ve even asked classmates at school. For the few seconds a day they pull their eyes from the glaring screens of their phones, I ask my questions – “Have you seen a bluebell?” or “Did your mother tell you about bluebells too?”  To both enquiries, I can only receive a pair of folded eyebrows, knitted into the shape of confusion, and sometimes the occasional shrug as people turn back to their overpowering screens, ignoring my claims of the elapsed blossoms.

Mother has tried to describe them to me too, hoping that I would be able to picture the plant that is now only fictional. “Sometimes not even blue, but a mixture of cobalt and violet. They had hanging buds in the shape of an old church bell, the ends curled up harmoniously.” The purple heads were – apparently – attached to a long, jade stalk, mounted in the earth. Mother says they smelt sweet and she would often desire to pick some on her walk home from school, as a batch grew among the morning dew on the path she took.

“Too valuable!” Her father would scold her for removing the blossoms from their natural home.

How is something so valuable – something so sweet, delicate and beautiful – so easily forgotten? The flower, once adored by the people of Britain, is now something even my history teacher has overlooked.

Even though I don’t know if a bluebell is just another of Mother’s stories, I yearn to see one – more than I wish to see the fire-breathing dragon. The reason for this? I know that I’ll never see a world of unimaginable fables, but bluebells could be real. Maybe they were real. Maybe, some are out there now, lost among scraps of debris, a blue curl of petals. Maybe, hidden in the depths of a forest, is a single flower, standing tall, waiting to be remembered.

Mother says there used to be flowers called bluebells; but they are forgotten.

Mother says there used to be flowers called bluebells; but I don’t think it’s true.



Amelia Jones



Winner Poetry 11- 14


The Lost Adder

Who saw the adder’s
shimmering scales?
Not I, said the father,
I was looking through my texts.

Who saw the adder’s
camouflaging pattern?
Not I, said the mother,
I was surfing across the web.

Who saw the adder’s
red forked tongue?
Not I, said the school boy,
I was playing GTA.

Who saw the adder’s
long and slender body?
Not I, said the school girl,
I was checking Facebook and Twitter.

Who saw the adder’s
gold and glittering eye?
I, said the little child,
Though I do not know its name.



Wilfrid Watson