Village schoolgirl wins national story writing competition

MOTO staff, Maria  Farrer, author, Sharon Bondonno, headteacher and Odilja
MOTO staff, Maria Farrer, author, Sharon Bondonno, headteacher and Odilja

A Handcross pupil came top of the class when she triumphed in a national story writing competition.

Everyone at Handcross Primary School celebrated when Odilja Pula was revealed as the winner of the contest which received more than 700 entries from 17 schools.

Odilja with her parents

Odilja with her parents

Sharon Bondonno, headteacher at the school, said: “At Handcross Primary School we have been working hard on developing the children’s writing skills and have a large number of talented writers throughout the school.

“I am very pleased and proud that Odilja’s story was selected from hundreds of entries to win the top prize.

“She is a worthy winner, showing a skilful command of language, plot and character.

“Odilja has the creativity and talent to become a successful author in the future and we are delighted she has had her first national success at our school!”

MOTO’s Young Writer Competition asked pupils from its network of adopted schools across the country to choose from a selection of story starters and use them to write their own story.

The entries had to be 200 words or more.

Author Maria Farrer, who has written books for children of all ages from picture books to young adult novels, had the unenviable task of picking the winner.

She recently visited Handcross Primary School where she met Odilja and presented her with her prize for her winning story ‘Lighthouse’.

Maria also talked to pupils about being an author.

She said: “I had terrible trouble choosing a winner because there were winning parts to every single story.

“I loved getting caught up in the plot, the intrigue and the atmosphere of the stories.

“Some were happy, some sad, some mysterious and some scary. Imagination can take us to so many different places!

“Odilja‘s story kept me hooked from beginning to end and was a very worthy winner but I would like to say congratulations to everyone who entered and keep on writing!”

Odilja won a £50 WH Smith voucher for herself as well as an enormous £2,500 towards outdoor play equipment for her school.

Handcross Primary School, the adopted school of Pease Pottage service station, has also recently had a number of stimulating author visits from Vashti Hardi and M. P Robertson, as well as a snuggles and stories evening event in school with pyjamas and hot chocolate which families attended and shared stories with each other.