Year 9 pupils from five secondary schools contributed to the fastest horror story in the west during November’s Youth Festival of Literature which brought authors to the town and inspired young people to delve more deeply into books.
Five youngsters from Greendown composed the story’s ending after the beginning was written by pupils at Swindon Academy, followed by contributions from Dorcan, Kingsdown, Warneford and Commonweal.
Fastest story coordinator Ali Slaven-Holder from Nova Hreod said that horror is the preferred genre of many teenage readers, so the challenge was to create a scary story. The pupils did not disappoint, with gory goings-on, mysterious strangers and a very spooky ending.
“Being the last in the the chain meant we had lots of questions to answer in the ending,” said Greendown pupil Tarquin Pryor.
“It was a bit random, but it was easier to use others’ ideas than have to think of them all on our own,” said fellow contributor Megan Knowles.
Oliver John also appreciated the collaborative approach. “It was good to talk about what might happen next and write it together.”
Jenny Eagle, Greendown’s learning resource manager, was very pleased with how the pupils responded to the festival activities. “It’s so exciting to watch young people engage with stories and books and champion their favourites among their peers,” she said. “The fastest story is such a great challenge for pupils, that we’re also doing a version of it between three primary schools, Oliver Tomkins, Moredon and Nythe, who will each get the opportunity to produce their own illustrations for their story too.”
A printed version of the completed story was circulated amongst participating writers.