Wimbledon Bookfest is an annual event that takes place every year on Wimbledon Common, where different writers and celebrities are invited to give talks. As a part of this event, the Young Writers Competition is run, where students from different schools all across the borough are invited to write a short story or poem of 500 words or less on a chosen theme. This year, the theme was Secrets, and participants were asked to be inspired by some of the greatest literary secrets, such as in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

Antonia Beevor, aged 14, from Wimbledon High School, has won the age 14-15 category with her story titled “The Secret”. She decided to enter after hearing about the competition through school, and says she was inspired by the novel she was reading, If We Were Villains by M. L. Rio. Antonia said “It was strange to win. I got the email during lockdown, and I’d honestly forgotten about it! So it was a nice surprise in the middle of a not so nice time!”

Normally, a prize giving ceremony would have taken place on Wimbledon Common, but due to Covid-19 restrictions, the event happened online this year instead, with author Patrice Lawrence giving a talk at Ursuline High School, followed by the prize giving.

Antonia’s story will appear in the 2020 Bookfest anthology that will be awarded to all prize winners.