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Winter Writing Competition 2021 - Winner Announced!

Updated: Jan 6, 2022

Winner of this year's Winter Writing Competition wins a unique video adaptation of their work.

Every year we host a writing competition to encourage people produce writing that evoke the magic and wonder we often associate with the winter months.


The winner of this competition has their work transformed and adapted into a unique video art piece we call, the video storybook.

Click here to view last year's entry, Barry Bunny by William McArdle.


It is really hard to pick a winner each year as we receive so many fantastic stories and poems of all genres.


Without further ado, the winner of the Winter Writing Competition is...

Kevin Scott Barker with his wonderful poem, "A Neurodiverse Winter".


Check out our video adaptation of the poem.


Here is his submission:

"A Neurodiverse Winter"


by Kevin Scott Barker


Some people ARE winter

Yet in case the literalness of what I say

be lost amongst the darling buds of May,

I rephrase for you dear listener,

some people are LIKE winter.

But like December's snowflake obsidian

can winter's wonder

be so hidden

without the complex use of idiom?


Alas, however

I will endeavour

to say shimmering snow

shines bright like summer heather,

and though unwithered winter trees

without their withered winter leaves

are alive like the secret garden inside.


It oft seems to me

although perhaps I am deceived,

that you dear reader indeed believe

only leaves can be alive.

Now more similar to a simile of summer,

is autumn's antonym not springs colour?

Yet all three are painted in a prism of light,

while winter's photo is but black and white.


This barren beautiful photo fuller,

pristine when seen with scotopic vision.

For you dear patron, I'll add some colour

and lose of that precision.

For how in words can one describe

an unwritten storm seen only inside?

Inaudibly it cannot be said

when winter is white

and roses are red.

So now I lie exhausted

from my attempt to explain,

that winter sun is summer's rain

or how some people are only LIKE Winter

when LIKE and ARE are not the same.


If that nuanced distinction

of complex simplicity

is enough to overcome

the oxymoronity.

Then you may be LIKE a forest, dear friend,

and suppose me a simpler splinter.


For in the end,

I still said it best at first;

some people ARE winter.

And it dawns on me like lightning,

that something else may be true.

If some people ARE winter

Then perhaps WINTER may also be you.


(Kevin Scott Barker, 2021)



Congratulations to Kevin for your magnificent poem!

It really shows the majesty and wonder of winter and at the same time has a beautifully abstract and deep look at our perception of the neurodiverse mind.


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!


 

"Jack’s Delight"


by Laura Nolan


Jack smiled to himself as he drew another cross on the calendar. It was almost the first day of winter and he was excited to get to work.

Three months ago, he had sprinkled his magic powder onto the trees and watched every day as their green leaves became golden and dropped to the ground. As they fell, the temperature fell with them. The nights grew darker. The world had less colour. He found it beautiful.


The leaves were long gone now, trees were bare, and people wore hats, scarves and gloves to venture outside. It was the perfect time for Jack to advance his winter plan. Nights spent sprinkling frost over the ground, making icy patterns on windows and using freeze glue to block pipes and keyholes. Days would be spent following children, hiding, then nipping fingers, toes and noses when they least expected. They would run, crying to their parents that it was too cold. Jack would laugh and nip the next one. It was too easy!

Today he was meeting with Octavia, the queen of the spiders to give her his special frost powder for the spiders to decorate their webs. He was especially proud of his new recipe. Not only would it make the webs glisten and gleam, this year they would almost glow! He couldn’t wait to see his handiwork in action. He had already met with Mother Nature a few weeks before to show her his designs for this year’s ice patterns and snowflakes. She was very impressed with the creativity and promised him lots of opportunities this winter. Last year his designs were poor, rushed last minute, and she wasn’t pleased. He didn’t get nearly as many wintry days as he would like. This year, he had really put the effort in!

Feeling confident, Jack set off with the web freeze powder in his bag. He decided to see how many noses he could nip on the way. They were the hardest to sneakily reach, but the most satisfying! Only just around the corner from his house, Jack saw a young boy playing. “Perfect!” Jack thought to himself. His eyes sparkled as he nimbly leapt between trees and bushes to remain out of sight as he made his way closer.


The frosty dusting he had spread across the town through the night was still there and the boy was using a stick to draw patterns in the white. He was concentrating so hard; he didn’t see Jack reach out and tightly nip his nose with one hand and index finger with the other. He cried out as the instant freeze struck. Jack laughed as he watched the child threw the stick and ran away. “Just doing my job!” He chuckled to himself.


In the short walk to meet Octavia at Spider Palace, Jack nipped another seven children. Six noses, five fingers and a whole foot of toes. Every one of them cried out. This was going to be a fantastic winter!


(Laura Nolan, 2021)

 

"A Farewell Christmas Kiss"


by Steven Roy Burton


Lucy Appleton looked out of her bedroom window of her parent's house and saw parked cars all in a row with a scatter of snow on their bonnets. The sky outside was dull and grey, looming over the icy cold gravel driveway was shadows dancing by children throwing snowballs at each other. Lucy began to get dressed as usual that chilly morning, by bringing out her hand-knitted cardigan that her grandma had made. She threw the jumper over her head, and in a rush narrowly missed tearing the sleeve.


Lucy was so excited she couldn't stop giggling. Goosebumps were on her freckled skin as she opened her bedroom door and adventured into the landing. She rushed down the staircase and bounced outside. At the end of the street, there was a corner shop. It was a big, brick building with flats on top. They were all neatly in line alongside one another. Lucy would buy sweets and a drink when her father went for his daily walks. Lucy knew the shop owner; Mrs Kauser was a small, polite soul that always gave Lucy complements.

In the year 2000, Lucy met Michael, a boy that was very unique. He lived down past the shop. Lucy first met Michael whilst she was playing bob-down-tick with the neighbouring kids. There were a few children on the street path, most looked joyous as they made snow angels, and snowmen. But, it was Michael's last day in England, he was travelling to New Zealand to see their family over the festive period. Mr Appleton knew Michael's father, they both worked at the same delivery centre. Mr Thomas was coming for a dinner party with his wife, and Michael to Lucy's house for a farewell send off. It was getting late on that cold wintery afternoon. Lucy was tired from playing with Michael, and the other children. She walked through the street to her nestled house, but before she walked indoors, she took off her boots and placed them on a rug that was outside, Lucy opened the front door and let herself in. "Do you want to get ready now?" her father said. Lucy went up the stairs, and onto the landing where she saw her party clothes on the stair banister, all neat and sparkling.


The night began to fall as Mrs Appleton was preparing the buffet in the kitchen, with snacks and drinks. All different colours of pop were on the counter, snacks of sandwiches and sausage rolls, also there was a chocolate cake for after. The doorbell suddenly rang, Lucy heard her father letting the Thomas's in, with warmness on their faces. Step by step, Lucy walked down the stairs to meet Michael, all through the dinner party, Lucy played cards with Michael, sometimes they would watch television. The night softly ended, it was dark and misty. And, as Michael's parents waved goodbye, he looked at Lucy as they were standing on the porch and gave her a kiss on the cheek.


(Steven Roy Burton, 2021)

 

"A Winter Poem"


by Luke J


School is finished until next year, homework and books are tossed to a side and the weather gets cold outside, blue is gone whites and greys are the new mist begins to fall and eyesight begins to blur.

Frozen levees crunch and crackle as feet walk along the well beat path but not yet beaten. Frosty fog covers all areas the eye can see it’s a disappearing act the weather never tells its secrets.


It’s the morn’ of Christmas Eve the atmosphere is full of festivity the skies are white symbolising snow will fall later in the day.

These words are easily slayed just as Santa clause delivers presents to little girls and boys in just one day. In his little black and red sleigh.

Family and friends all come together to celebrate that one day in the year. Excitement higher than any skyscraper as wrapping paper off presents are being ripped, the time comes and goes so fast wishing it never ends.

Is it me or do all dads go all out this time of the year trying to beat your next-door neighbour? Lightshows all around as people flick the switch that lets there be light.

Carollers walking and singing giving a festive blast from the past.

During the eve of Christmas, the trees are put up, decorated with: tinsel burbles, lights and to top it all of an angle or a star it is up to you which one it does not matter it’s your choice it’s something just to finish it off.

Mince pies and carrots are left out for Santa and his reindeer. This is the time to settle down and watch that one Christmas film before bed.

Christmas day is next!


Christmas day arrives everyone feels warm and happy inside all the coldness of the snow is pushed to a side as Christmas dinner is being eaten inside.

Delicacies put all on to one plate everyone comes together isn’t it great.

But all said and done the festive cheer isn’t done Boxing Day is coming up and New Year is nigh.


Although the snow and ice has melted and gone it doesn’t mean the festive cheer isn’t finished and done, spring and summer is still to come.

The skies may be blue, and the snow may not fall. People still have fun after all with the new toys, gadgets and gizmos to enjoy, in three hundred and sixty-five days Christmas joy repeats itself again.

Now that it is the New Year, the decorations are taken down: the baubles, lights, tinsel, stockings and the tree.


It’s time to crack on with schoolwork because homework is weeks overdue the uniform needs to be found and ironed due to the weeks of it being crammed in your wardrobe.

Shopping needs to be done ready for the packed lunches, children need to remember to wake up on time, so they are not late and get to school on time. Set your alarm for seven in the morning it should be enough time.


(Luke J, 2021)

 

"Adventure in the Smog"


by Paul Hare


At five minutes to one Jimmy Peters stepped out of his front door into the strangest world he had ever encountered; it was as though a blanket had descended over London, or at least over that small part of it in which he lived. He was familiar with the white damp cloud known as fog, but this was something new; it was a kind of greeny-grey, denser than any fog he had ever seen, and it smelled like the smoke of a badly laid fire, one that wasn’t drawing well and might go out at any minute.

He had heard people say that fog was so bad that they couldn’t see their hand in front of their face and now, in this strange new world, he tried it out for himself. Dense as the smog was, he found that he could clearly see his hand as he held it a foot or so in front of his eyes, but he couldn’t see far enough down the short front path to see the fence or the gate. It was almost as though the rest of the world had somehow disappeared. Gingerly he edged forward, carefully putting one foot in front of the other as if expecting to step into some unseen obstacle or fall into a pit, even though he knew that there was nothing there.


On reaching the gate he turned left and, keeping close to the fence of his house, and that of the next, and then the one after that, walking slowly and cautiously until he reached the corner. He turned and made his way gingerly along the gable end of the terrace, staying close to the wall so as not to inadvertently step out into the unseen road somewhere off to his right, past the gate that led into the back yard of the pub, wherein stood the gents lavatory, and on along the wall until he found the door of the Public Bar. Here he paused, gathering his courage, and then timidly pushed the door open a little before pausing on the threshold, unwilling to step inside since he knew that he was not allowed to actually go in.


Jimmy looked around the edge of the door, carefully scanning what little he could see of the room until he spotted a familiar figure standing with a group of other men at the bar.

“Dad” he called in what was really scarcely more than a whisper, repeating the call several times until finally he was heard. The group of men at the bar all turned to look at him and, catching his father’s eye he called out “Mum says to come home Dad, your dinner’s ready.”

Now at last he could relax, his regular Sunday task was completed, and the journey back home would be easy, for now he could hold his father’s hand. Six wasn’t too old for him to do that, especially in the smog.


(Paul Hare, 2021)

 

"Winter Warm and Cozy"


by John Ross Dayton

Winter is warm, winter is cozy, but most of all winter is fun.

The brown leaves falling from a tree dark at 4 pm; the crunch of snow underfoot, car headlights beaming in the cold afternoon of winter.


Coming home from school or work, feeling warm inside. Thinking of hot soup for tea and there’s nothing better than a mug filled with marshmallows and steaming hot chocolate. A warm quilt, and a short winter story on a cold, snowy night, or a movie to warm the soul. Watching fireworks on November 5th: the smell of a bonfire in the winter air eating hot jacket potatoes.


Standing in the garden, feeling warm and cozy inside and also smiling, thinking of Christmas dinner. Building a snowman, he is your winter friend; the beauty of winter is magical whatever age you are. Porridge on frosty crisp mornings and hot steaming puddings with custard make you warm and cozy. Winter can be spooky with tales of witches, ghosts, and haunted houses, but most of all winter is fun, fun, fun.


(John Ross Dayton, 2021)

 

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.


We wouldn't be able to deliver fun competitions like this if it wasn't for the ongoing donations and help of our supporters.


Click here - If you want to find out more about how you can support The Faraway CIC to deliver projects and services that empower neurodiverse people and make the greater community more accessible for everyone.

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