An interview with entrants for The Young Walter Scott Prize

As the first day of the North Cornwall Book Festival came to an end, the remaining guests, visitors and students gathered in the marquee. The marquee really set the scene for this event, with its colourful illustrations of exotic birds and beautifully patterned cloth which spiraled up above our heads. The front row seats were filled with chattering children, nervously holding their writing close to their chests. But with each performance came loud applause from the audience; every piece of writing read was beautiful and poetic, and if you did not applaud them for that then you must for the sheer bravery it takes for a young person to stand up and read their work in front of a room full of authors, university students, and peers. After the event had finished, I rushed to talk to the students. Keelee Christie, who is just 14-years-old, read an incredible story from the perspective of a World War II evacuee, but when I asked her what period of time she’d like to have lived in, she chose the Victorian Era. She quickly corrected herself and said this was what she thought when she was younger until she realised that it probably wasn’t as glamorous as it looks to us now. I asked her why she used to like it, and she responded that it was interesting because it ‘isn’t so far from what we have now’ but still quite different. Keelee enjoys futuristic fiction books, her favourite being the Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth, which she’s recently finished reading. Keelee thinks she might like to be a writer but says her ideas still need some development, so keep an eye out for future Young Adult books with her name on!


Silas and Ace, both aged 12, were keen to have an interview together. Silas set his writing piece in the medieval era, whilst Ace set his in 1983. They both agreed that they decided to enter the competition because ‘you have to take opportunities’ and ‘try new things’, they also both enjoy writing, despite their hopes of traveling the world and becoming architects! When I asked them what period of time they’d like to have lived in, they both quickly answered that the present time is the best. Silas detailed that in the past, there weren’t many cures for diseases, but in the future, there might not be many trees left; which is why the present day is the perfect blend of nature and science for these two boys. Despite agreeing on most topics, they both had different tastes in books. Silas had recently enjoyed The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins, mostly because he found it refreshing to read an action-packed book with a female protagonist. Ace prefers The Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney; he finds it to be a fun series of books, and likes that he can come back to the same characters.

The overall consensus from the children was that they thoroughly enjoyed the day, particularly the lovely rural setting and the chance to learn and be inspired by other writers. The Young Walter Scott Prize is open to ages 11-15 and 16-19 years, and the competition is still open for entries until 31st October 2018. Best of luck to all the wonderful entrants and well done for reading your work to us!

by Rai Sweet