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Senior School Creative Writing competition winner

We are pleased to announce that Year 13 student Ilena Shadbolt was the winner of the 2018 QMC Senior School Creative Writing competition.

The competition was judged by writer Hannah Tunnicliffe. Hannah is the author of three published novels and one picture book. The Colour of Tea, her debut novel, was a national bestseller in Canada and her books have been published in over nine different languages. Her picture book, Marjory and the Mouse, was completed as a charitable project for The Cradle of Hope, a children’s home based in Macau, China.

Hannah has previously lived in Canada, Australia, England, Macau and, while travelling Europe, a campervan named Fred. She currently lives in Auckland, New Zealand with her husband and three daughters and is hard at work on her next book. Aside from writing she is also an eating disorder survivor and body positivity advocate.

Hannah described Ilena’s piece as having “stunning use of language and transfixing, lyrical sentences.”

“My personal favourite – “A different kind of clear, menthol air like new-minted money”. A modern, jolting piece of writing.”

Year 11 student Libby Witheford-Smith’s piece Aquarius Rising came second in the competition.

Hannah described it as “mysterious, poetic writing that left me wanting to learn much more about its two characters”.

Year 11 student Amelia Ware came third.

Hannah says it was “a lovely, measured piece with sophisticated language.”

“I love how the reader is drawn into the scene with the lone car and how various seasons are described. My favourite – “The cold weeps crystals on to the pristine landscape, floating down with delicate, inhuman grace”.”

Read Ilena’s piece below;

The second stage of the Kubler-Ross Model by Ilena Shadbolt

It is in this absence of motion that i see myself truly transparently. All moon craters and pewter flesh. My mouth is still cold from gum pressed between fingers. Write this on a sticky note and open it a year from now: whatever you’re still trying to see, your mind holds far more. My mouth is still cold. Fish tank kitchen and threadbare sofa. Now the mornings taste like tea and grimy window light in recovery.

Look: at your hands, your vessel. It won’t stop shaking! It won’t stop shaking! The leaf body you were given cannot take this abuse, guitar strings pulled taut. You swore you were done with unzipping old wounds, but here we sit in the mist. I see myself as assemblages of skin, a million different Rubik’s combinations, through six layers of glass. Or perhaps, through tears. Our skeletons scrape at charred splinters.

You were restless with outlines and watery light, in oceanic bed sheets. You hated how dawn could shake your shoulders and tell you what you insist you don’t need. A shower can’t blot memory.

Please do not misinterpret- i see anew. My head long since broke that dream-viscous water, eyes dried by brittle sun. A different kind of clear, menthol air like new-minted money. You can get by with self-management rituals, cupped under faucets soaked in rose water. Heart open; you have suffered by a match you wielded, fizzing red in beaches and parks.

So, don’t pretend you weren’t warned, held face to face, haloed by streetlight. A lump below your throat, tucked behind an ear. rolling over dim bodies out for morning collection. I didn’t anticipate this at all. We dropped our flames off the edge of the earth, wind whipped and salt eyed. You drove all night just to show me you care.

So, forget it all. Bury yourself in earth, take comfort in caress of soil. She will braid your being back to a whole.