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May 23rd 2023

Our Planet: our budding authors win GDST prizes

Huge congratulations to our three Blackheath High Junior School winners of this year’s GDST Creative Writing Prize – the theme: Our Planet. The competition, judged by Rachel Hore - an alumna of Sutton High School and best-selling author – awarded prizes for the girls’ very mature and emotive entries in response to the destruction and restoration of our planet.  

Our three well deserving prize winners are as follows:

  • Elena from Year 2 was awarded a Highly Commended prize for the Years 1 & 2 category with a moving Our Planet poem to the Earth as seen from space. Her entry was summarised as “Simple, but full of beautiful visual imagery and a sense of wonder.” Elena will receive a £25 book voucher. Read Elena’s entry.

  • Ahana from Year 3 was awarded a Highly Commended prize for the Years 3 & 4 category with Yuni Saves the World – “Some impressive descriptive writing in this account of Yuni who flees his own dying planet and encounters ours in its damaged beauty.” Ahana will receive a £25 book voucher. Read Ahana’s entry.

  • Our winner for the Years 5 & 6 category was Isla from Year 5 with Day in the Desert – “A lovely descriptive poem about the beauty of the desert, full of effective imagery and thoughtful reflection.” Isla will receive a £100 book voucher. Read Isla’s entry.

Well done to all the Blackheath High School and GDST entrants and prize winners!  


Rachel Hore’s summary of the competition: 

I enjoyed reading the impressive range of submissions for the Creative Writing Prize this year on the subject of ‘Our Planet’. It was sobering to realise how well these young writers comprehend our poor stewardship of the planet, but impressive to see a strong sense of moral justice at work. They are outraged in these stories and poems and call for things to be put right. A large number of pieces addressed the despoilation of our oceans by pollution, the threat to bio-diversity and the effects on landscapes of devastating global warming. Many stories and poems focused on ways to restore our planet’s health, particularly by appeal to governments, and by calling on humanity to change its destructive ways. Writings by the younger age groups tended towards optimism for change. A note of cynicism entered the work of older students, however, with many favouring accounts of humanity seeking refuge on other planets or dramatising aspects of humanity’s last moments.   


About Rachel Hore: 

Rachel Hore attended Sutton High School between 1970 and 1978, after which she read Modern History at St Catherine’s College, Oxford. For many years she enjoyed a career as an editor for HarperCollins in London before moving with her family to Norwich, where she started to write fiction and taught publishing and creative writing part-time at the University of East Anglia. Rachel is now a full-time writer, the author of twelve novels, many of them Sunday Times Top Ten bestsellers. A Place of Secrets, Last Letter Home and A Beautiful Spy were each selected by Richard and Judy for their Bookclub in association with WH Smith. The Glass Painter’s Daughter (2009) was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Romantic Novel of the Year. A Gathering Storm (2011) was shortlisted for their Historical Novel of the Year. Her new novel, One Moonlit Night, set in the Norfolk countryside and wartime France, was published in 2022. 

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