Dagenham pupil named best young writer in the country

PUBLISHED: 07:48 21 June 2017 | UPDATED: 07:48 21 June 2017

Steve Backshall presenting the writing award to David Williams

Steve Backshall presenting the writing award to David Williams


A Dagenham pupil has won a trip to Disneyland Paris for being named National Young Writer of the Year.

Steve Backshall talks in an assembly for All Saints pupilsSteve Backshall talks in an assembly for All Saints pupils

David Williams, 13, won first place in the National Young Writers’ Awards, for which he also received £500 worth of books for his school.

Steve Backshall, TV presenter, author and competition judge, announced David’s prize at an assembly yesterday afternoon at All Saints Catholic School and Technology College in Dagenham.

Steve, the host of CBBC show Deadly 60, received a lot of attention from the Year 8 pupils who attended the assembly. They even got the chance to ask him a few questions.

“Have you ever been bitten by a snake?” one student asked.

“Have you ever eaten an octopus or a shark?” another asked.

When the questions were over, Steve explained to the pupils why they were all there.

“His story was absolutely brilliant, and I know he’s going to go off to have a great career,” Steve said.

“David’s piece felt like more than a few hundred words. I could imagine an entire novella or novel of content just in those few hundred words. It was very original.”

David received a trophy, a certificate and a rousing applause from his classmates. He took pictures in front of a table full of books that the school won.

When he first found out, David said he felt ecstatic.

“I had never dreamed anything like this would happen to me,” David said. “It’s amazing because it’s something really huge and I’m the person who’s won.”

The National Young Writers’ Awards is a writing competition for children aged four to 14 organised by Explore Learning, a group of maths and English tuition centres.

More than 10,000 entries were submitted this year. Steve said that the quality of the entries was outstanding.

“So many of the entries I saw were publishable, even from as young as age five,” Steve said.

Aside from giving pupils a chance to have their writing judged, one of the best parts for Steve is encouraging them to write.

“Having a competition like this gives pupils a reason to put a pen to paper,” he said.

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