King’s Taunton School Dickens Prize Success

Aodren Clemit, Year Eleven, has won a prestigious award for creative writing. The King’s Taunton School Dickens Prize is awarded to pupils who respond to the work of Charles Dickens by creating their own imagined versions of what might have taken place in his books.

In order to win the competition, Aodren had to read one of Dickens’s less-celebrated works, the 700-page Barnaby Rudge. Aodren then took a brief paragraph from the novel and turned it into a 4,000 word episode, full of vivid characterisation, comic dialogue and fast-paced plotting. The scene describes the desperate efforts of Barnaby’s friends to have him released from prison, where he has been mistakenly accused of having taken part in a riot. The friends in turn visit a High Court Judge and the Lord Mayor of London, before finally pleading with the Prince Regent himself to grant their friend his freedom.

Winning the prize, which includes an award of £125, is a considerable achievement. It requires not only the ability to read Dickens’s novel with great insight and understanding, but also the ability to write with flair and to capture and reproduce the style of one of the world’s greatest writers. It also involved a considerable amount of literary and historical research.

The judge of the competition, Mr Michael Roberts (former Chairman of Council for the Dickens Fellowship) commented: “Aodren’s entry demonstrated very successful fulfilment of very demanding criteria: he showed sound knowledge of the storyline, convincing portrayal of characters from the novel sustained through the chapter, and convincing instances of the Dickensian style. The story which developed was enjoyable to read, showing excellent awareness of how the historical circumstances would evolve”. Similarly impressed, the Headmaster Mr Pitt said “Aodren’s work demonstrated a very impressive degree of independent research, of exactly the kind required of a successful pupil at university level. Aodren has combined this Scholarship with a great deal of creative talent and literary flair to produce an outstanding piece of writing”. Mr Phillips, Head of English at RGS, commented, “Aodren’s work is one of the best pieces of creative writing I have had the pleasure to read during my time as a teacher”.

Congratulations to Aodren on a wonderful achievement, of which he can be rightfully proud. You can read Aodren’s prize-winning entry here.