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Winter Writing Contest 2023 - Winner Announced!

Every year, the winner of our writing contest wins a unique video adaptation of their work.

To get warm the hearts of our members and supporters, we host a Winter Writing Contest to showcase the amazing creativity of our autistic community. We asked all of our autistic brothers and sisters to put pen to paper and words to word documents to create short stories and poems that evoke a special theme that occurs around winter time. This year's theme was "Wonder".


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, "Eternity" by Abbie.


I say this every year, but the process of picking a winner each year is very hard and one that we take very seriously. We receive so many fantastic stories and poems of all genres. We put the poems across all our staff and see which ones best resonate with them personally and display the theme of "wonder" most effectively.


Anyway, enough build up!

The winner of the Winter Writing Contest 2023 is...


Keziah Gibson-Matthews with their story, "Little Dino All Alone".


Enjoy their video storybook adaptation here!


Here is their short story:

"Little Dino All Alone"


by Keziah Gibson-Matthews



Once upon a winter, many moons ago, there lived a little dinosaur who wandered all alone. 

 

The woods he trekked were empty, dark, and tall; except for the branches creaking there was no sound at all. 

 

The deep snow he trudged through chilled him to the bone, as he wondered aimlessly through the trees looking for a home. 

 

The Triceratops snorted at him and shooed him on his way, the little dinosaur was gloomy and wished that he could stay.

 

He made his way through canyons, ravines from times of old, and hid beneath an old stone ledge to shelter from the cold. 

 

Hours passed and finally he exited from the gloom, until suddenly he heard a noise, but what had made it, and whom? 

 

Stomp! Stomp! Stomp! Came the noise around the bend, becoming louder and louder as it enclosed upon the end.

 

With a frightened squeak the little dinosaur peered up, and he suddenly realised his time could be up!

 

A towering Tyrannosaurus stood menacingly before him, and the little Dino knew that his chances were slim!

 

The tyrant lizard growled and forward he stomped, the little Dino had to look out or else he’d be chomped.

 

With a dodge and a swerve, he avoided the old bully’s jaws, escaping up a tree using his teeth and his claws.

 

Finally, he rested, but cold and afraid, he wondered if he would be alone until the end of his days.

 

Suddenly, he heard something, a deep bellow through the air; the little Dino was curious- the sound had come from whom, and from where?

 

An Alamosaurus suddenly reared its humongous head, spooking the scared little Dino so much that he jumped, and he fled.

 

Dashing through the bushes and roots on the ground, he started to wonder if a family could ever be found.

 

The snow worsened and the little Dino had to watch where he tread, one wrong foot and he’d end up buried instead!

 

An unexpected misstep and downwards he crashed, a turn and a tumble and into thick snow he smashed.

 

Swallowed up by the carpet so thick and so white, he shivered and began to realise he may not make it through the night.

 

Curled up in the snow, so alone and afraid, he knew nothing in the world would come to his aid.

 

Until suddenly he heard stomps, crunching the snow to the rhythm of four, but much gentler than the ones that he had heard just before.

 

A shadow loomed over him, and reached its head down low, gently picking him up and pulling him from the snow.

 

The Alamosaurus had seen him and come to his aid, so the little Dino was now no longer alone or afraid.

 

In the depths of the woods, he had found his first home, and the little Dino squawked happily as he was no longer alone.

 

No one deserves to be left in the cold,

Share kindness this winter to those young and old.


(Keziah Gibson-Matthews, 2023)



 

Congratulations to Keziah for your absolutely fantastic story!


We love the adventure the main character goes on to find a place they belong, especially in a setting that is so unforgiving. And that ending is so sweet.


Now, we'd love to share our favourite stories we received from the Winter Writing Contest below. Before reading these, please consider supporting Faraway in the delivery of our social groups, community projects and services. With your support, we can support autistic people near you to access their community, better understand their diagnoses and reduce their social isolation.



All of us at Faraway would like to thank everyone who submitted their work for taking part and sharing their enthusiasm and creativity with us.


Dear reader, we hope you enjoy!


 

"Winter Wonders"


by Blaize Moseley


One can only wonder about

How when geese migrate south in flight,

Stars illuminate the early nights,

Frosty feet and cosy socks meet,

Embraces from those long last seen,

And the elderly who smile at twinkly garden scenes.

 

One can only wonder about

Those with family passed on,

Who think of them in harmonies of solstice songs,

And the Scrooge's who hate to share,

Become jealous of those who care;

Unite themselves with the communities who seek love and warmth when surrounded by the season of glacial air.

 

One can only wonder about, 

Santa serving every street,

The food banks who make sure all can eat,

Scents of spices permeates through the atmosphere,

Blazing bonfires carrying on the first creations of man,

And the fluttery snowflakes that exclude no surface to melt on.

 

I will always wonder about

How proud I am that you've made it another year

And how can we remember those who aren't here,

How winter can be bleak and dismal

Yet be beautiful and special.

It's okay if winter makes you shed some tears,

If your future is grey, foggy and unclear,

There are others out here who share your fears,

As by my heart,

 Is where my thoughts for you are near.

 

Winter isn't about death, presents or snow,

It's about community and compassion that we decide to show,

In the beauty of night and the frost of day,

We help each other to guide the way.

Berries eaten and beds are laid,

Hibernation season is upon us til May.

Care for your family and care for your friends,

Care for the strangers who have none upon to depend,

And once the harsh beauty of this winter wonderland ends,

Let's do it again as Spring descends.


(Blaize Moseley, 2023)


 

"Frost"


by T’challa Babangida


In the heart of winter, when the world lay hushed beneath a quilt of snow, a lone wolf roamed the silent forest. His name was Frost, a creature of the winter night, with fur as white as the snow that covered the land.


One frigid evening, as the moon hung low in the sky, Frost's keen senses detected an unusual sound. A faint, fragile cry pierced the stillness. Intrigued, he followed the sound through the snow-laden trees until he stumbled upon a small bundle, nestled in the cold embrace of the winter.


To his astonishment, there, cradled in the snow, lay a tiny, helpless baby. The child's rosy cheeks contrasted starkly with the surrounding frost, and their cries echoed in the winter air. Instinctively, Frost's heart stirred with a protective warmth. He circled the infant, sensing the vulnerability that clung to the small being.


Frost, guided by an ancient understanding, gently nudged the baby with his nose, awakening a latent power within him. The wolf could sense the child's needs, deciphering hunger, cold, and fear. With a sense of duty, Frost stood guard over the abandoned infant, his white form blending seamlessly with the winter landscape.


As the night deepened, Frost's vigilant presence shielded the baby from the biting cold. His fur became a living blanket, offering solace and protection. Wordlessly, the two beings formed an unlikely companionship, bound by the unspoken language of survival.

As dawn painted the sky with hues of pink and gold, a passing wanderer, drawn by the distant cries, discovered the extraordinary scene. The traveler, humbled by the sight of the guardian wolf and the innocent child, marveled at the silent alliance forged in the heart of winter.


The news of Frost's guardianship spread through the nearby villages, weaving a tale of nature's harmony and the unyielding spirit of protection. The once-lone wolf became a symbol of compassion, forever remembered in the folklore of the winter woods.

And so, beneath the blanket of snow, a silent pact between a wolf and a child endured—a testament to the extraordinary connections that could blossom in the most unexpected of places.


(T’challa Babangida, 2023)


 

"Maggie's Room"


by Megan Kemp


Maggie's room is more than just a room; it is a sanctuary of the soul, a realm where dreams take flight and passions are nurtured.

Maggie has made it a safe haven where creativity and a sense of calmness dances freely as she delves into the magical realm of reiki. I observe various visualizations including imagery of tigers, eyes, shades of red and purple, as well as wings. It feels as if there is magic in the air, an energy that electrifies the senses and evokes a profound sense of awe.

The most special moment have ever experienced is when I step into Maggie's room during the frosty winter season. Her magnificent room, adorned with the warm glow of a blazing heater, possesses a power that can instantly thaw the icy chill lingering deep within your bones.


 As you step foot inside, a rush of warmth envelopes every inch of your being, causing delicate blush to grace your cheeks.

When you finally release the burdens of the day and remove your shoes, embrace the intimate embrace of the bed, if only for a moment. Tenderly place your shoes beside the small but mighty heater, allowing its radiant warmth to envelop every inch of your being. Savour this respite, for in the face of the frigid air that awaits at the end of the visit, you shall emerge utterly embraced by a serene tranquillity, completely swept away by a gentle, warm embrace.


Until then you’re able to relax…

She will lovingly caress your hair, fingertips delicately trailing through each strand, granting a blissful reprieve from the worries that weigh upon your shoulders.

Gracious and gentle, she will knead away the weariness that plagues your weary soles, her touch rejuvenating your every step. With remarkable tenderness, she will effortlessly banish the lingering remnants of sorrow, for her touch possesses an unwavering power to heal. This empathetic goddess with pink hair will try to erase the burdens of yesteryear, effortlessly unravelling the knots of stress and replacing them with an exquisite embrace of unfathomable comfort.


(Megan Kemp, 2023)


 

"Cindy's Poem"


by Cindy Clements


When I feel tired and lonely

You keep me warm and homely

With all your love and affection

You are there for my protection

 

You pick me up when I am down

You make me feel like a clown

To help me cope with all my pain

With all your heart you help me gain

 

You have been my shining star

You help me go near and far

With your knowledge and your brain

You help me through with all my pain

 

When we wonder here and there

With all our love that we share

When having good and bad days

You always show me the best ways

 

Forever we share in all our love

In our hearts a pair of doves

Forever you will always be

All my world eternity


(Cindy Clements, 2023)



 

"Winter Wonder"


by Katie Hopper


I wonder if that icy, nose-biting winter wind dances, rather than blows.

And we just can’t see it.

 

I wonder if children really do go on magical adventures with those snowmen they build with buckets of love and excitement.

And we just can’t comprehend it.

 

I wonder if that happy, red-breasted robin is whistling Christmas Carols as he hops past.

And we just can’t hear them.

 

I wonder if those busy squirrels are gathering nuts to make stew when the curtains in their dens are closed for the cosy season.

And we just can’t ask them.

 

I wonder if we once knew these secrets of the magic of winter when we, too, were wide-eyed children, playing with our snowmen.

And we just can’t remember them.


(Katie Hopper, 2023)


 

"Winter Wonder"


by Alyssia May Hanley

The poor man has no head,

He is just a body.

His skin is pale like a ghost,

The air around him is foggy.

 

He is completely cold to the touch,

He has no life in him.

He stays as still as a statue,

As if there is no life force within.

 

I roll up the snow as quickly as I can,

He stands still waiting.

I place the big ball of snow above his body,

He still isn’t moving.

 

I place two pebbles just below his forehead,

Now he seems to stare at me.

I place 5 pebbles just above his chin,

His smile is a wonderful sight to see.

 

I place a carrot in the centre of his face,

He seems to have some colour to him now.

But he’s cold, so I put a scarf and hat on him,

He’s nice and cosy - but something still feels wrong somehow.

 

 

“Aghh, the sticks, the sticks” I say,

I place a stick on each side.

Now he’s waving at me,

And I think he is saying hi.

 

This is why winter is so wonderful,

It will snow and you can make life.

Now we will wish you a merry Christmas,

From Mr Snowman and I.


(Alyssia May Hanley, 2023)


 

"The Wondering of Wonder"


By Kevin McHugh-Barker


Oh wonderful wonder

We wonder

what are you?

 

And what a wonder are we

that we wonder your wonder

Ever wondering

what you are?

 

And we will wonder again,

Once your wonder has passed,

Is not the wonder of wonder

that wonder not last?

 

And if none wondered wonder

nor wondered at all

would a wonder be

as wonderful?

or not wonderful at all?


(Kevin McHugh-Barker, 2023)


 

The following poem was constructed using the words and opinions of the Monday Mixed Activities group held at Cromwell Road Resource Centre.


"Wonder"


By Rowena Peaker, Violet, Jane, Matthew, Andrea, Angie, Christopher and Amanda.


"What's the wonder of winter?" I asked them all,

"Looking forward to Christmas!" came the call.

"And what's the best thing about that?" I asked again,

"Presents, happy faces, seeing family", said Violet and Jane.

 

"PARP!" exclaimed Matthew with a snigger and a grin

- I think he was thinking about the sprouts and the effects of Christmas pudding!

 

Twinkling stars in the skies,

Hot chocolate and mince pies

Falling leaves all around

Autumnal colours - reds, golds and browns.

 

Pulling on snuggly jumpers,

Gloves, scarfs and hats,

Fireworks booming!!

- Andrea doesn't like that!!

 

Making footprints in the snow,

Be careful, watch how you go!

Walking carefully along the path,

Looking forward to a nice, hot bath.

 

Christmas films on the telly,

Christmas food in your belly.

Who cares about getting fat? -

"You're a thunder thighs already!" says Angie with a laugh!

 

Decorating the tree, but what goes on the top?

A star? An angel? We'll worry about that later - let's go get some pop!

 

A beer? A whiskey?

Or a glass of mulled wine?

Christopher prefers a coffee,

That'll do him just fine.

 

So Santa Claus is coming,

But what gifts will he bring?

Amanda would like a new puzzle -

Something more challenging!

 

Christopher and Andrea have requested colouring books,

They like the ones in Morrisons,

So here's hoping that they're in luck.

 

Angie would like something Disney,

She doesn't care exactly what.

And for Matthew something that will make him laugh - like The Beano, The Dandy -

Or a trumping robot!!

 

Jane is hoping for something sparkly,

A green ring would be very nice.

Or maybe a watch and some jewellery,

And some goodies from Asda price!!

 

Now Violet enjoys giving presents,

And making her own Christmas cards.

She creates lots of different pictures -

Baubles, Robins and twinkly stars.

 

So let's listen for the sleigh bells,

And make sure that we're all being good.

Let's enjoy being together,

By being as kind and considerate as we possibly could.


(Rowena Peaker, Violet, Jane, Matthew, Andrea, Angie, Christopher & Amanda, 2023)


 

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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