A GIFTED Windlesham girl was declared the winner of a prestigious writing award at a glittering ceremony in London on Thursday.
Last week the News & Mail reported that Caitlin Wilkins had been shortlisted from more than 5,200 submissions nationwide for her story The Lost Coin. There were just 100 finalists over five categories for the Wicked Young Writers’ Award.
Caitlin, who recently turned 11, waited with bated breath as the chosen few were announced at the home of award-winning musical Wicked, the Apollo Victoria Theatre.
She came joint first in the eight to 10-year-olds class.
The ceremony, hosted by Wicked star Savannah Stevenson, had prizes presented by best-selling author Michael Morpurgo (War Horse).
Judges included Michael McCabe, Executive Producer of the musical, and performance poet and writer Dean Atta.
The shortlisted entries were published as part of the annual Wicked Young Writers’ Award Anthology.
As well as entertaining the 100 finalists – aged between five and 25 – and their guests with numbers from the hit show, Wicked cast members also flatteringly performed readings of the winning entries. Among the winning and highly commended submissions were stories and poems about bullying, love, dementia, memory loss and the traumatic effects of war.
Caitlin’s was written around the true story of HMS Association, a ship wrecked off the Isles of Scilly in the early 1800s.
It is loaded with imagination, flush with excitement, and brimming with vivid description. Mr Morpurgo said: “All the writers have allowed their imagination to live and breathe.
“They haven’t been afraid to tell their stories and express themselves with originality and flair.”
Mr McCabe added: “We’ve been inspired and excited by the creative skills and extraordinary pieces this year. Congratulations to our winners.”
They received a certificate signed by Mr Morpurgo and patron HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, the magical experience of going to see Wicked with friends or family, and £50 worth of book/ebook tokens.
“They will also be given £100 worth of books for their school library, donated by Hachette Children’s Books.
The Wicked competition was started in 2010 by the long-running musical to inspire young people to look at life a little differently.