Time travel tale was a winner for pupils

Ali Sparkes and pupils from Portsmouth Grammar School.  Picture: Christopher Reed
Ali Sparkes and pupils from Portsmouth Grammar School. Picture: Christopher Reed
Picture: Shutterstock

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Evil clowns, inter-galactic wars, tragedies and fast-paced sci-fi adventures were just some of the offerings from budding writers taking part in a sensational school competition.

Year seven pupils at Portsmouth Grammar School gave published authors a run for their money when they came up with fantastic story ideas for a competition devised by award-winning author, Ali Sparkes.

Seven teams of boys and girls presented intricately woven plots, together with book covers, attention-grabbing blurbs and, in some cases, role plays and adverts.

Ali and her co-judges – the school’s deputy head Louise Wilson and The News’s education reporter, Aline Nassif – were impressed by the range of ideas from the 10 and 11-year-olds.

In the end though they voted unanimously for the creators of Stone of Dreams to win.

The story was about two thieves who broke into a museum to steal a stone that transported them into a prehistoric and futuristic world where one of them grew much older by the day and the other younger.

Team member Patrick Coldwell, 11, says: ‘It feels great to win, especially as we were judged by Ali whose books I’ve read and whom I admire greatly.

‘As a team we worked really well together and everyone contributed a different idea.’

The runners-up were the team behind Think Like A Wolf – a story about a boy with a wolf instinct who is sent to an asylum by his parents who don’t understand his condition. The boy escapes into the wild just as the human race is being attacked by a killer virus.

Louisa Buckle, 12, says: ‘We had so much fun coming up with the book and it was an honour to share it with Ali who is so funny and lovely.’

The winners and runners-up were given copies of Ali’s Unleashed and a £10 voucher.

Ali says: ‘Today was an absolute delight. Not only were the children a great audience but I got to be an audience for them which was fabulously entertaining.’

On the winning story she adds: ‘It was very atmospheric and immediately pulled me into the setting.’