12-year-old Larry Marsh from the Wirral has been selected as the North West winner in a national writing competition, and will see his story about a boy living in the future published in a brand-new book as part of Pearson’s My Twist on a Tale: Our Tomorrow writing competition.
In autumn 2021, learning company Pearson empowered children and young people between the ages of 4–19 to put pen to paper and write their own stories and poems of the future, compiling the winning entries in a brand-new book: My Twist on a Tale: Our Tomorrow.
The book and audio stories are being launched alongside new research which suggests fluent reading skills top the list of skills that North West teachers feel will give students the best chance of accessing a wide range of careers (72%), alongside spelling, grammar and punctuation skills (50%) and adapting their writing for different audiences (50%).
Scooping the award in the North West category, Larry’s work, Our Tomorrow, was chosen alongside 16 other fantastic stories and poems written by children across the country, including A Mother’s Plea by South West winner Sophia Papasouliotis, Into the Blue by Key Stage 2 winner Veer Khanna, and New Atlantis by Northern Ireland winner Emma-Louise White.
Larry’s story is in the form of a letter to his past self, explaining what the future holds.
Written in an original phonetic style, the letter paints the picture of a boy playing Fifa 2109 on his Playstation 36; how he installs a food app on his ‘brainpad’ so he only has to think about what he wants to eat 10 minutes before he gets hungry, and how the reader need not worry about getting old as when his legs get worn out, he just buys new ones from Amazon 101.
The letter explains how he has a Robo-Joe, which he programmes to walk his dogs, clean his sleeping chamber, make sure his brainpad is always charged, and help him swap his new body parts when the old ones wear out.
Larry’s story finishes with the twist that there’s been no school since 2022, following an outbreak of COVID in 2019. Not to worry, he says to his past self: it doesn’t affect your education as I can still read and write!
Larry, who attends The Mosslands School in Wallasey, said: “I was so shocked when I got told by my teacher I had won. I wrote the story to make my teachers laugh. I am so excited for people to see my work and I hope it will make them happy too. Hopefully in 2023 we will all be ordering off our BrainPads and I might even have 200 German shepherds this time. Surprisingly, COVID inspired me to do this. I initially wanted to do a COVID 23 but then I thought of the BrainPad, RoboJoe and more.”
Over 1,200 school, sixth-form and college students entered the competition, unleashing their fortune-telling skills. 17 winning entries were picked across categories including KS1 through to KS5, and all regions in the UK.
The resulting book, My Twist on a Tale: Our Tomorrow, is available to download on Pearson’s website, with all budding authors receiving their very own hard copy as part of their prize. Audio versions of each story have been made available too!
Lindsay Nadin, director of primary at Pearson, said: “Larry should be extremely proud of the story he has written. His creativity and writing skills make him a worthy winner, alongside the 16 other young authors whose stories and poems ranged from earthlings zipping around on hoverboards, to the need for new laws to keep people safe.
“At Pearson, we are committed to empowering schools to give their students different opportunities to excel, and develop essential skills needed for their futures. My Twist on a Tale allows us to encourage and excite young children with writing, motivating them to create work that represents their own perspectives of the world in which we live, and find joy in the written word. Everyone who submitted a story should be very proud of their creation.”
Author Jemma Wallace, who judged the North West category, said: “Larry’s letter from his future self had me guessing from the beginning – I wondered at first if spell check had failed! However, on reading the full passage, I was able to understand this wonderfully clever and unique idea, and re-read it many times just for enjoyment! Well done Larry.”
To find out more about Pearson’s My Twist on a Tale: Our Tomorrow and to download a copy of the book, click here.