News, events and schools' information for families across Bristol

The Percival Library and the English Department at Clifton College in Bristol teamed up to shadow the novels shortlisted for the 2023 Carnegie Medal, the oldest and most prestigious award in writing for young people.

The shadowing scheme culminated in an inter-schools competition judged by special guest author Louisa Reid and attended by five schools from across Bristol. Clifton College took the top spot for their wonderfully varied and moving presentation on the tense historical thriller I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys (the book that won the Shadowers’ Choice Award).

The group used drama, poetry and dance to persuade the judge that their book deserved to win the Carnegie Medal. Congratulations to Sophie, Ben, George, Molly, Aidan, Matthew, Leyla, Charlie, Emily and Lauren.

As well as judging the contest, Louisa spoke on the theme of activism and making your voice heard, which linked to her new verse novel, Activist. She asked the audience to think about the concept of utopia and to consider what an ideal world would look like.

Louisa drew attention to inspirational young activists who are making a difference all over the world to raise awareness for causes in which they believe. She spoke of the Black Lives Matter protests, climate activism, the anti-government demonstrations in Iran, animal rights activism, feminism and working together to end sexual harassment and assault, as well as creating a better world through reading and empathy.

Louisa also ran a special creative writing workshop on poetry and utopia, watching, reading and analysing the poet and spoken word artist Danez Smith’s dear white america. The group discussed the poem’s theme of racial injustice and the techniques used to engage the reader/listener before creating their own poems based on the structure of Smith’s deeply personal work.