Ali Smith OBE – the most generous of judges


Twenty-four shortlisted young writers from across Southwark gathered in the George Farha Auditorium at Dulwich College to hear Ali Smith’s adjudication on their short stories submitted to the Dulwich Literary Festival’s Short Story Writing Competition. The theme was Winter, reflecting Ali’s own recently published book of the same name.

Ali read excerpts from every shortlisted piece, describing the writing as ‘sensitive’, ‘witty’, ‘powerful’ and ‘sublime’. Of one story she declared ‘I wish I’d written this’ and of another she said ‘this story moved me to tears’.  Ali was inspirational in her talk to the young writers, arguing that ‘there is no such thing as creative writing; all language is creative and creatively used’ with advice to anyone who wants to be a writer to read, read, read.  Characteristically generous, Ali gave personal feedback to all shortlisted writers before declaring the following winners:

Overall Winner: Charlie Powell for Climate Control (The Charter School)

Prize Winners (who all received Dulwich Books tokens):

  • Tom Whittaker for His Last Stand (Dulwich College)
  • Asia Pesaro for Fall The Snow, The Prostitute Said (JAGS)
  • Iris Ferrar for Holly Claus (JAGS)
  • Anais Dernis for Out On The Ice (JAGS)
  • Mary Henderson for Bulgarian Bells (JAGS)
  • Daisy Simpson for Hot Gingerbread (JAGS)
  • Jack Probert for A Nuclear Kind of Winter (Dulwich College)

Shortlisted and Commended:

  • Ella Purdon for Aftermath (JAGS)
  • Henry Delap Smith for The Great Storm (Kingsdale)
  • Ellen Roxby for Alone On The Marsh (JAGS)
  • Seymour Hine for One Good Day (Dulwich College)
  • Moustapha Cherif for Children of Seasons (City of London Academy)
  • Jamie Chong for The Winter Dance (City Heights)
  • Scarlett O’Connell for Winter Heat (The Charter School)
  • Poppy Thwaites for The Wintersmith (JAGS)
  • Sam Gordon Webb for Remembering A Fond Winter (Dulwich College)
  • Dora Gawn Hopkins for Olga’s Letter (JAGS)
  • Tom Whittaker for His Last Stand (Dulwich College)
  • Tom Sampson for Christmas Lights (Dulwich College) 
  • Beulah Paintsil for A Girl Called Winter (JAGS)
  • Anna Broadley for Warmth Within, Winter Without (JAGS)
  • Eleanor Poli for The Winter In My Heart (JAGS)
  • Redmond Gurney for A Strange Cold Time (Dulwich College)
  • Tega Akpodiete for Winter’s Last Cradle (City of London Academy)


Discover More