Redwings Horse Sanctuary and the University of East Anglia have revealed the winners of a creative writing competition to mark the launch of their new fundraising edition of Black Beauty. One hundred and sixty young people aged 7-18 years old entered, and the winners’ work is now available to read on the charity’s website .

“Black Beauty was one of the first novels to have used an animal as narrator and the competition brief was to follow in author Anna Sewell’s footsteps by writing a short story or poem from an animal’s point of view,” said Nicola Knight, Head of Communications and Campaigns at Redwings and one of the competition judges. “We were blown away by the number of entries we received, which were staggeringly good. It was both a joy and a heartbreak to read the moving work by these young writers.”

Ten-year-old Zena, from Essex, won the 7-12 category with her story ‘Otter’ and read it in front of an audience of invited guests at a special event at The Priory in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk on 24 November – the anniversary of the publication of the world-famous novel in 1877.

Competition winner Zena with author and judge Sangu Mandanna

Sixteen-year-old Alfie, from West Yorkshire, won the 13-18 category with his story ‘Red Leaves’. Five runners-up were chosen from each category and an honourable mention was given to seven-year-old Evie, for her collection of poems ‘Cat Tales’.

The entries were shortlisted by judges Professor Thomas Ruys Smith – who collaborated on the new edition of the book – Dr Hilary Emmett and Daisy Henwood from the UEA and Nicola Knight from Redwings. The winners were selected by children and young people’s author Sangu Mandanna, with special guests including Master English Saddle Maker, presenter and author Suzie Fletcher and Anna Sewell biographer Celia Brayfield.

Fellow winner Alfie

The winners all received an adoption of Redwings’ very own Black Beauty, Maya, a Friesian who lives at Redwings Aylsham Visitor Centre, and a copy of the Redwings and UEA edition of Black Beauty signed by children’s author Dame Jacqueline Wilson, who contributed the foreword to the book. Their work will be published in Redwings’ Young Reds and Mini Reds supporter magazines in the spring.

The special Redwings and UEA edition of Black Beauty is available to buy here for £9.99 or from all good bookshops, along with more information about Redwings’ custodianship of Anna Sewell House in Great Yarmouth and how you can visit. Half of all proceeds from the book will go to the care of the horses and ponies at Redwings Horse Sanctuary.

Redwings’ Christmas animation about the life of Anna Sewell and her contribution to animal welfare, voiced by Dame Joanna Lumley and produced by Meantime Media, is available to watch, here.

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