Centenary Writing Competition – Winners Announced

Richmond and Hillcroft Adult Community College (RHACC) announced the winners of its centenary writing competition last month, which was staged to celebrate 100 years of women’s education at its Hillcroft Campus.

The competition was designed to celebrate the creative writing skills of current and former students following the appointment of alumnus Jess Kidd as the College’s first Writer in Residence this year. 

Jess, who has run a series of creative writing workshops and courses at the Hillcroft Campus in Surbiton this year, commented on the entries and the winners and said: “There was a wonderful selection of entries this year from RHACC's thriving writing community. It's heartening to hear these new, strong voices coming through. Congratulations to the winning entrants and to everyone who took part.” 

Students submitted 500-word entries against a choice of three categories - Writing for Children, Scriptwriting for Life and Writing for Wellbeing. The entries were judged by independent tutors and the Chair of Governors, Andrew George who presented the winners with their awards today.

The winner of the Children’s prize and the prestigious Hillcroft Centenary prize was student Sarah Terkaoui whose entry How the Deserts Were Made was inspired to write by her family. She praised her classes and commented on how Jess’s generosity and kindness was key to her enjoyment of the class, she said: “I have entered a few competitions before without success, winning this prize has given me a huge confidence boost.” 

The other winners were Zoe Neirizi for Pandora’s Box a poem written from first-hand experience from her time spent in Iran, and Janet Teal Daniel for Monologue in the Scriptwriting category.   Runners up were Deborah Reeves for A Penny for Biscuits and Angela Muriel Gray for A Dim Light. There was a partnership entry from Roger Gascoigne and Geary Lewis for Changing Roger.

Principal Gabrielle Flint was inspired by the entries and commented: “I was surprised with the number and quality of entries to the competition and the commitment our current and former learners have shown to developing their writing. Jess has been such an inspiration to our learners and has shown how creative writing can not only help to improve one’s literacy skills but also improve confidence and wellbeing through creative expression.”

All of the entries will now be collated into a commemorative book which will form part of the ongoing centenary celebrations which have been delayed into 2021 due to the pandemic. Mr George commented on the centenary itself by saying: “It is incredible that we are now celebrating 100 years of women’s education at Hillcroft. This specialist provision is unique, and we have moved the programme into the 21st century providing opportunity for women who may not have been able to access education in the traditional way. We are proud to continue the women’s mission at RHACC.”

RHACC runs a vibrant series of courses and workshops in all genres of writing, including scriptwriting, comedy writing and writing for wellbeing. For more information visit www.rhacc.ac.uk.