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Sunday, January 17, 2021

Seven-Year-Old Among Winners for Lighthouse Story Writing Competition

The winners of the Bedtime Story Writing Competition, run by Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts, have been announced. And it’s proof that literary talent can be found in people of all ages…

As part of its creative engagement program during lockdown, Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts ran a competition for writers to produce a bedtime story. The contest was open to people of all ages, with the winning entries to be commissioned and performed for the venue’s weekly Sunday Bedtime Story video. And after narrowing the submissions down to a shortlist of ten, judge Donald Hutera, an arts journalist, has selected the three winning stories.

One of the contest winners is seven-year-old William Howlett, who produced a story entitled, The Pants Snatcher of London. Hutera described the story as, “A short, original and audacious satirical comedy that flirts with topicality – Boris Johnson and the Queen feature. It’s also slightly naughty. And it was written by a child. While it might seem particularly suitable for age five and up, please note that it made this seasoned 63-year-old laugh out loud.”

On William’s behalf, Karen Howlett remarked: “This is brilliant news and we are so proud of William. He has just got home from holiday club and heard the news and he said: ‘I am really happy and amazed about winning and really excited to see my story come to life.’ I can’t wait to see it on Facebook on the 16th!”

However, the first of the winning stories to be performed (on Sunday 2nd August at 7pm) is Party Animals, written by Diana Morrissey. This story, described by the judge as, “A playful, quick-witted rhyming text that might work a treat especially, but not at all exclusively, for young listeners…” will be read by Dorset theatre maker Michele O’Brien.

“I’m thrilled to bits and can’t believe I’ve been selected!” said Diana, “I am so looking forward to listening to Michele bringing my story to life on Sunday. It’s wonderful to have this recognition for my story, and I’m very grateful to Lighthouse for this opportunity as I believe Party Animals would make a colourful, fun and slightly naughty picture book!”

Dorset theatre maker Michele O'Brien will perform the first of the winning bedtime stories, Party Animals
Dorset theatre maker Michele O’Brien will perform the first of the winning bedtime stories, Party Animals by Diana Morrissey. (Credit: Colin Phillimore)

This will be followed on the next Sunday by the third winner, Saving Bindi by Susmita Bhattacharya. Hutera called this story, “A longer and more traditionally literary choice … brought to life via a vivid shipboard setting and its central characters, a pair of dynamically contrasting siblings. I suspect it could have a special appeal for ages eight or nine.” Saving Bindi will be performed by Lighthouse’s writer-in-residence Jack Thacker.

“I’m absolutely delighted that Saving Bindi has been chosen as one of the winning stories,” commented Susmita, who went on to reveal: “This story is inspired by my husband’s experience as a cadet on an oil tanker, when a dog stayed back on board as the ship sailed away. He insisted on saving the poor dog by hauling him onto one of the tugboats and ensuring that the dog was reunited with his master.”

The Pants Snatcher of London will be the final winning story to be performed, this time on Sunday 16th August, by the Black Cherry Theatre, Lighthouse’s associate artists.

You can check out the performances of the winning stories on Lighthouse’s Facebook page here. For more information about Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts, take a look at their website. For more stories surrounding entertainments, click hereAnd you can also follow HQB Media on all our social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

DISCLAIMER: Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts’ press and media team provided the image of the venue.
Dale Hurst
Dale Hursthttp://dale-hurst.com
HQB Media's Editor Dale Hurst is a novelist, restaurant critic and presenter. A graduate in Multimedia Journalism from Solent University, he has a wide variety of journalistic experience, ranging from reviewing top London restaurants to interviewing MPs for BBC Radio. Dale is the author of two mystery novels and also a part-time singer.

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