‘Keys to Wycombe Abbey’ by Ms Paige Turner
Continuing with the Creative Ink theme of ‘Keys’ this year, I’ve spent a few days reading the Wycombe Abbey students’ entries for their 2019 Short Story Competition. I was then invited to read my Judge’s Report last night and announce the winners, whilst dining and then serving up some of my ‘Red Lipstick’ offerings.
I agreed with the organiser, English teacher Mrs Shivaun Mason: it was a wonderful evening. Writers as young as eleven years ranging up to the Lower Sixth, grappled with the concepts of Metafiction, the Villanelle and the Sestina. I gave a couple of writing exercises, although Lord love them, by seven o’clock in the evening they must have been school saturated. My four Ws I hoped might provide keys to opening up their stories, WHO, WHERE, WHEN, and, as many of us might ask about our lives: WHY NOW?
I must apologise for mistaking the four staff members for sixth formers. Yes, policemen are getting younger too. And I apologise to the two members of the Literary Society who so eloquently introduced me and gave the closing thanks. Over our lovely dinner I promised to tell them when the evening was over, what Alan Bennett – who coincidentally had a birthday yesterday – had said about our competition theme. ‘Life is rather like a tin of sardines. We’re all of us looking for the key …’