The winner of the 2018 BBC Young Writers’ Award with First Story and Cambridge University (YWA) was announced last night (Tuesday 2nd October) on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row. The winner, with her story ‘Under a Deep Blue Sky’, was Davina Bacon from Cambridgeshire.
Her short story was a raw and emotionally powerful tale about a young African poacher and the brutal murder of a mother and baby elephant. Inspired by her early life living in Africa and her passion for the environment, Davina’s story was praised by author and judge William Sutcliffe as a ‘superlative piece of writing by any measure, regardless of the age of the writer’ and by fellow judge and actress Carrie Hope Fletcher, for its ‘compassion and intelligence’.
Citing Michael Morpurgo as an influence on her writing style and having recently read a lot of post-colonial literature including Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and Anthills of the Savannah, Davina Bacon’s winning story is inspired by her earlier years spent living in Malawi. She said:
“My story is based on Kasunga National Park where they have issues with poachers crossing the border from Zambia to kill elephants. The population has decreased rapidly and this is very worrying.”
‘Under a Deep Blue Sky’ is now available to read and listen to on the Radio 1 website. An interview with Davina will be available on the Life Hacks podcast from 5pm on Wednesday 3 October. Davina will also receive a personalised mentoring session with an author to enhance and further develop her writing skills.
Congratulations to everyone that entered, and especially to Davina for her winning story.
All the shortlisted stories can be read and listened to online at: www.bbc.co.uk/ywa