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Wednesday 20 December 2017

Lydia and Wickham get 21st century revamp

Local college student, Katie Chalk, has won first place at a creative writing competition run by Southampton Solent University.

The competition, held earlier this year to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, required entrants to write between 1,500-2,000 words on a theme linked to those of Austen’s novels.

Katie’s story, Lydia and Wickham, is a modern take on Pride and Prejudice’s Lydia Bennet and George Wickham, with a dark twist.

Of her inspiration for the story, Katie, 16, says: “I wondered what their relationship would look like in the 21st century with the added dangers of social media.”

Dr Devon Campbell-Hall, one of the competition’s judges and Course Leader of BA (Hons) English at Solent, says: “Lydia and Wickham is an innovative and new take on an old story with a surprise twist. It evidences the enthusiasm and potential of a local budding young author, which is very exciting.”

For winning the competition, Katie has been awarded a £50 book token, and her college, Barton Peveril, receives a set of Jane Austen novels.

Katie, who is in year 12, says: “It’s amazing to have won – I wasn’t expecting it at all! I’m very proud of the story and concept, and this competition has given me the opportunity to improve, which I will make the most of.”

Devon Campbell-Hall awarding Katie her prize

Nicola Carcone, Director of English and Foreign Languages at Barton Peveril Sixth Form College, says: “Katie did amazingly well with her short story - such a gritty reading of Austen's original, and I particularly liked the portrayal of the mother.

“University competitions offer students incredible opportunities to showcase talents beyond the curriculum and we remain ever in their debt for promoting a love of learning in such dynamic and different ways."

Second place was awarded to Emily Broughton from Bournemouth School for Girls sixth form, for her story I Never Knew.  Third place went to Peter Symonds’ College student Megan Clarke, author of One Hundred. They won £25 and £10 in book tokens, respectively.

Read Katie's story, Lydia and Wickham