Wednesday, 01 July 2020 11:37

Lighthouse Showcase Bedtime Story Competition Winners

Lighthouse Showcase Bedtime Story Competition Winners

Having been overwhelmed by entries to its first bedtime story writing competition Lighthouse, Poole’s centre for the arts, is to commission three winning stories to be performed in its weekly Sunday evening Bedtime Story video on Facebook.

The competition was part of the ‘It’s All About You!’ #Lockdown-themed creative engagement programme at Lighthouse and was open to writers of all ages. The entries covered an incredibly diverse range of styles, but an unofficial shortlist of ten was selected for consideration by the judge – arts journalist Donald Hutera whose work has appeared in The Times as well as many other publications and websites around the world.

“All of the entries showed, to varying degrees, imagination and flair,” he explains. “Finding perfection, an elusive and even illusory quality at best, wasn’t a major issue for me. Rather, a combination of skill with words, plus a sense of fun or adventure, would do quite nicely, thank you very much.

“I love words and language as a tool to convey ideas and feelings, and to spark the same within others, but there’s an additional understanding I brought to the selection process. As a performer and public speaker, I like to think that I’ve developed some solid instincts about what constitutes a ‘playable’ piece of writing. And so for me ‘judging’ Bedtime Story was based not only on my response to the words I was reading, and how artful their order and arrangement, but also how engaging they might be when delivered aloud.”

And the winners are: Party Animals by Diana Morrissey. “A playful, quick-witted rhyming text that might work a treat especially, but not at all exclusively, for young listeners.”

Saving Bindi by Susmita Bhattacharya. “A longer and more traditionally literary choice, is 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.”  

The Pants Snatcher of London by seven-year-old William Howlett. “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.”

Party Animals story will be performed this Sunday 2 August from 7pm by Dorset theatre maker Michele O’Brien, with Saving Bindi on 9 August performed by Lighthouse writer-in-residence Jack Thacker and The Pants Snatcher of London on 16 August performed by Lighthouse Associate Artists Black Cherry Theatre.

The winners say, Diana Morrissey: “I’m thrilled to bits and can't believe I’ve been selected! 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!”

Susmita Bhattacharya: “I’m absolutely delighted that Saving Bindi has been chosen as one of the winning stories. 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.”

Karen Howlett (for William): “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!”