Penny Dias (7) and Adam Dias (10) from Rowlands Gill have won a short story writing competition judged by award-winning author illustrator Lauren Child.

The competition, run by Seven Stories the National Centre for Children’s Books, links to the Fenwick Christmas Campaign celebrations and this year’s Christmas Window featuring Child’s story Clarice Bean: Think Like an Elf, published by Harper Collins Children’s Books. 

Children aged 5-11 entered from across the country, submitting either a 500-word story or a one-page comic strip by the beginning of December, and the winning entries were judged on having a clear structure, the vividness of the setting of the story and on creativity. A winner was chosen from each of the KS1 and KS2 categories independently and judges were surprised to find out the winners were related.

Judge Lauren Child said:

“I chose Penny’s story “Santa finds a raindear” because it beautifully conveys the magic of Christmas. There were some lovely descriptions which gave her writing real personality and the reindeer had true character which can be hard to create in a short story. I so enjoyed reading it.

“I loved the telling of Adam’s ‘The King and the Christmas Tree’ tale. It is very nicely thought through and has a good story arc. The words effortlessly take us from one scene to another with great charm and pace, with vivid descriptions of the palace and beautiful use of language - and the story has a perfect resolution.”

Wendy Elliott, CEO at Seven Stories, said:

“It’s been wonderful to see the entries coming in and the imaginative stories we’ve had the privilege of reading. Encouraging children to tell their own stories, in their own ways, is why we exist and being able to offer a fantastic prize to two talented writers courtesy of Fenwick this year has been a highlight of the festive period. A huge well done to Adam and Penny and we hope to read more of your work in future!”

The winners will enjoy a special prize donated by Fenwick including a gift box of exclusive Clarice Bean: Think Like an Elf goodies worth over £75 and a £50 gift card to spend in the Fenwick Toy Department.