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Winter Writing Competition - Winner Announced!

Updated: Apr 6, 2021

This winter, to add a little festive cheer and as part of our Authors with Autism Project, the tutor held a winter themed story and poetry competition for autistic authors to submit their stories so they may win the prize of getting their story made into a video storybook.

It was really hard to judge so many fantastic stories but we had to pick one winner.

The winner of the Winter Writing Competition is...

William McArdle with his fantastic poem, "Barry Bunny".

Here is his submission:

"Barry Bunny"

by William McArdle

On the very first Christmas,

Of their sweet baby boy,

Mummy and Daddy

Found Harry's new toy.

Under their tree,

Where you might think to look,

There was perfume for mummy,

And for daddy, a book.

But next to their presents,

From where, who can say?

Was something for Harry,

On that bright Christmas Day.

It was a cute, cuddly bunny,

With big floppy ears.

Always ready for hugs,

Whenever there's tears.

Its body was pear shaped,

Its tail was odd too.

Its short fur was grey,

But some thought it blue.

"He just needs a name,"

Said Mummy to Harry.

"Hey! Why don't we call,

Your new bunny, Barry?"

On the very next Christmas,

Harry sucked on his thumb,

And hugged Barry Bunny,

Whilst carols were sung.

But when he was two,

No word of a lie,

Daddy told Harry,

That reindeer can fly.

By the time he was three,

he thought that he might,

Hide under the table,

And watch through the night.

And together with Barry,

He hoped he would see,

That moment when presents,

Went under their tree.

So that Christmas Eve,

Mummy's brave little man,

Snuck downstairs with Barry,

To act out his plan.

In a room that was dark,

But for lights on the tree,

Young Harry spied someone,

Knelt down on one knee.

The figure was dressed,

In red festive clothes,

With a jolly, white beard,

And soot on his nose.

He carried a sack,

Filled with toys to the brim,

And Harry decided,

That this must be HIM.

But then Harry dropped Barry,

As he tried not to yawn,

And when he looked up,

Santa had gone.

Harry said softly,

"Where did he go?"

For all that was left,

Was a sprinkle of snow.

But the stockings were filled,

And if he wasn't mistaken,

The mince pies, and carrots,

And milk had been taken.

Through the window he looked,

To a cold winter's sky,

And Harry knew then,

That reindeer can fly.

(William McArdle, 2020)

Congratulations to William for your beautiful poem, it really shows the magic and wonder of Christmas through the eyes of a young child.

We have now adapted it to be a video storybook that you can view here!

We'd also love to share the other fantastic work that was submitted to this competition, as it really is outstanding.

We thank everyone who submitted their work for taking part and sharing their enthusiasm and creativity with us.

We hope you enjoy!


"A Winter’s Prelude"

by Kevin Scott Barker

Piercing through the clouds,

Like cupids never waning arrow,

The hazy gold assemblage parts,

And summer laments her sorrow.

The time is now by Luna Light,

The day declining into night,

And “hark”the Green Man tells his Squire,

Go kiss the trees with the Hearth-man’s fire,

Crimson creeps along their veins,

As leaf by leaf is mottled with flame,

Yellow, orange, Brown and red,

Lingering still yet all but dead,

The Orchard glut now ripe for pickin’

And Samhain Summons her brethren Wicken,

Bonfire smoke to cleanse the air,

Turns what is foul to what is fair,

Oh sacred spirits hear our prayer,

Of brambles,

And apples,

And plums,

And pears,

Embracing all earthlings,

Autumn is here

Now dankly moving,

Moving faster,

Rotten roots,

And Mossy pasture,



Even faster,

to the harbinger of Dusks disaster,

Everlaster on a throne of frozen flakes,

Jack Frost now awakes,

Who whirls the winds,

That starts to blow,

And summons in his winter snow.

(Kevin Scott Barker, 2020)


"A Christmas that Started at Halloween"

by Lindsey Jane

It was cold outside and Halloween was looming.

Children were looking sad and gloomy.

I asked my child what was wrong? He said he isn’t allowed to scare anyone.

I helped him to bed and kissed him goodnight and said not to worry as we always have tomorrow night.

As I closed his door I said good night and remember Christmas is still in the night.

I had to think of something as his face was so glum and he loves Christmas, so why couldn’t it just come.

If Halloween were to be cancelled, what fun would that be, maybe we could skip Halloween.

COVID was everywhere and no one felt safe so Halloween was cancelled, which was such a shame.

It was a tough time for children for them to understand, so I decided for my son we would take a stand.

We decided it was time to skip Halloween and bring Christmas to our home with mince pie for tea.

Halloween was looming so we went in the loft where we gather our decorations from a dusty old box.

We started with Christmas to bring some cheer

October 31st is here for us all but don’t be gloomy as Christmas has come early this year.

We will put up our Dec’s and love all the lights and feel safe and warm and fuzzy inside.

That night, putting Zack to bed, he said thank you mummy for giving me Christmas instead.

I reassured Zack and said not to worry, Halloween season will back with treats in a hurry.

We will dress up and knock on peoples doors and not have to worry about COVID at all.

But for now we will enjoy being together spreading Christmas cheer no matter the weather.

With that I said it’s time for sleep so snuggle in and enjoy your sleep.

This year has been hard it’s been tough it’s been strange but we will be all here singing together again, singing our Carol’s and remembering good old Mr Tom and singing about how everyone became one.

This year has been tough and people have cried, people have lost a bit of love they carried inside

But thanks to people working so very hard

Next year will be a fresh start.

So snuggle up tight and try not to worry this years gone so fast like it’s been in such a hurry.

We say good bye 2020 with relief, but this will be remembered just like trick or treat.

(Lindsey Jane, 2020)


"The Realisation of Winter"

by Laura Nolan

Winter hated winter. She resented being named after the season where everything was dead. The days were short and grown ups did nothing but complain about how “winter ruined their plans.” The whole season was dark, cold and miserable, both in mood and climate.

The feeling was mutual. Whenever Winter ventured outside during the colder months, she would struggle to maintain her balance. Every time Jack Frost left his mark, Winter would be on the ground within a few moments. It was as though the season knew her name and taunted her in resentment of the imitation.

Winter looked out of her bedroom window across the meadow. It was calm and still. Every part of the view was white. The snowy ground blended with the overcast sky. It was barely even white, more like an absence of colour. She resented the view, but she couldn’t look away.

In summer, the meadow was beautiful. A view she loved. There were copious shades of green. Her paint palette was full from mixing them. The grass, the bushes and flowers grew and flourished. The sun would shine down, and the flowers would raise their little faces to the light, basking in the rays. The bees buzzed; the wildlife danced.

Today there was no sun, no wildlife, no flowers, no colour. Just the absence of it. The shape of what lay below the snow was barely visible. But still Winter stared. All those beautiful elements of nature were buried or died away before winter took hold. As she watched the nothingness, Winter began to imagine they were all still there, that she could see the colours, the smiling flowers, the warming yellow sun, the grass dancing in the summer breeze.

“Winter! Come along for dinner!” Her mother’s voice interrupted her reverie, bringing her back to the reality of the snow once more. She sighed and climbed down from her seat on the bedroom windowsill.

As she headed down the stairs, the smell of her favourite foods began to reach her nostrils. Freshly home cooked stew with delicious vegetables and creamy mashed potatoes. Winter inhaled deeply as she entered the kitchen.

Her sister, Summer, was already sitting at the table with a scowl across her face. She glared at Winter as she took her seat opposite at the large old oak table. Summer adored winter. She was never happier than when throwing snowballs or sledging down the hills in the park. She loved a warm, cosy cardigan and fur-lined boots. She enjoyed sliding along the icy streets and admiring the rosy red cheeks the cold temperatures gave her. But Summer detested the food associated with the season.

Winter’s stomach growled in anticipation of the meal. Summer still scowled. Summer preferred salads, sandwiches, ice cream and cool lemonade. Winter adored soups, stews, steamed puddings and hot chocolate. She may not like the cold, dark days winter brought, but she certainly loved the comforting, warming foods that went with them.

Their mother began to dish up the delicious, mouth-watering meal. Winter smiled. (Laura Nolan, 2020)


“The Season of Winter”

By Steven R Burton

The snap of winter

It hits my bones

The cold sends a chill

Down the spine of my soul

Winter’s upon us

So we get our scarfs and gloves

And enter the season of love

With a hot cocoa to go

As the snow falls

I see from my window

Children throwing snowballs

It is the season of winter

Hearing sleigh bells for the first time

And waiting for father Christmas to appear

It’s an exciting time for the little ones

As they look out of their bedroom windows

A crisp of ice

It clings to the outer window ledge

You can hear the laughter

As the children bounce out of their beds

As they run down stairs

They see presents galore

It brightens up their little faces

As the season of winter knocks at the door.

(Steven Burton, 2020)


We'd love to hear which of the winter stories and poems were your favourites, please leave a comment below about your favourite one and what you liked about it.

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1 Comment

I really enjoyed "The Realisation of Winter"

by Laura Nolan

I liked the reflection on perspectives and reminder that two people can have very different experiences of the same phenomena. I loved the descriptive yet uncluttered narrative, the unexpected entrance of "summer" into the tale and how I was left longing for a bowl of winter stew and dumplings!!!!!

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