'Writing For The Sake of Writing'
A Celebration of The Elmbridge Literary Competition
My vocabulary hadn’t been up to it. I’d floundered about, hunting up unfamiliar words that I’d never written down before, getting baffled and entangled and frustrated. But I shouldn’t be writing now with an eye to publication. Even if it got finished I’d never offer it to a publisher and risk another fiasco. I wanted to write for the sake of writing, and got started one evening in my hotel bedroom.”
The Elmbridge Literary Competition was launched in 2005, initially as a one-off project, a collaboration between The R C Sherriff Trust and Elmbridge Borough Council, with the theme of ‘Cook Up A Story’. Now in its 17th year, the Elmbridge Literary Competition has become a truly international one, with entries in 2021’s ‘Music’ coming from across the world.
The winners of that first Competition that year were Patricia Jones in the Adult Category with her short story ‘Plum Jam’, Olivia Parnian in the 5-8 year old category with her poem ‘Don’t Like, Do Like’, Helen Berg in the 9-13 year old category with her poem ‘The Pie’ and Nigel Munson’s short story, ‘An Apple A Day’, in the 14-18 category. Since then, hundreds of authors, young and old have submitted stories and poems on themes inspired by events like the 2012 London Olympics, the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the debut novel of R C Sherriff. The 2019/20 Competition, inspired by the 400th Anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower had, given everything what followed, the rather prophetic title of ‘New World’!
In recent years, the Competition has partnered with the publishers Sampson Low, who have produced chapbooks of the winning entries, with copies of these stories and poems being housed in the British Library, and the national libraries of Wales, Scotland and Ireland.
Prior to the Coronavirus Pandemic, each Competition culminated with a prize-giving and public reading of winning entries. Sadly, this has not been possible for the past two years, but in anticipation of a return this following the 2022 Competition, actors from the Elmbridge based theatre company, Alter Ego, have recorded a selection of the winning, highly commended and commended entries in the Adult Category from the 2021 Competition ‘Music’, inspired by the 150th Anniversary of the opening of The Royal Albert Hall.
Winners of the Little Rhymes and Short Stories,
2018, with Judge and author Simon Cherry.
Some of Literary Competition Judges L-R Simon Cherry, Susannah Rickards, Former R C Sherriff Trust Director, Loretta Howells, Agnes Meadows, Current RCST Director, Pete Allen
The Music of the Spheres
In Which Granddaughter Katy Plays...
Why The Dum Tree No Longer Sings
Requiem in Absentia
And The Wrens Would Not Stop Singing
Hats Off To Larry
A Song of the Sea
Boy Brown's Memory
Alter Ego: The Readers
Caroline Dooley is the Director of Alter Ego Drama for Adults. Her weekly classes held at the Riverhouse Arts Centre, Walton are attended by people who want to learn acting and performing skills, explore their creativity and release their alter ego without the pressure of rehearsals or being in a production. Caroline is a performer and a published writer of children’s musicals and part of the Riverhouse New Writing Project, supported by the R C Sherriff Trust.
Ben Wilson is a long-standing member of Alter Ego and a writer/performer with Elmbridge-based community theatre Quick Fix Theatre group. He is also the founder of Bright Immersive Ltd, a start-up specialising in augmented and virtual reality technology for digital storytelling.
Nicola Hobbs joined Alter Ego in 2019 to learn performance skills with a great fun group. She has been a Walton resident and local accountant for 30 years and is a prolific reader, enjoying countless hours reading to three children before they grew up and flew the nest. This is her first foray into reading for an audience and she has thoroughly enjoyed herself.
Paul Hobbs is a sales agent by day and singer at the weekend. He’s a Londoner born and bred, left the big city thirty years ago and Walton has been his home ever since. Despite being an ex-grammar school boy he’s only ever read a handful of books, so reading these stories was not in his comfort zone. He’s a performer at heart though and loved every minute.
Janine Jones has performed in community projects ‘Take On Me’ with Dante or Die theatre company, ‘The Freedom Game’ - an opera to commemorate the 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta, ‘Under The Hammerbeam Roof’ composed with The English Touring Opera to commemorate the 500th Anniversary of Hampton Court Palace. For the last three years she has been a member of Quick Fix Theatre - a community theatre company sponsored by the R C Sherriff Trust. She has contributed to writing and performing ‘Four Families of the Fallen ‘ and ‘The Scold’s Bridle’ - inspired by stories in the history of Elmbridge. You can see a virtual exhibition and performances of ‘Four Families of the Fallen’ stories in this years ‘Light Up Elmbridge’ Festival and on the Riverhouse Barn YouTube Channel. Janine’s day job is as a physiotherapist and acupuncturist in Weybridge.