Young writers in Birmingham announced as winners of Water Stories writing competition

16 Mar 2022
Birmingham water stories competition logo

Winners have been announced for the Water Stories writing competition which is led by Birmingham Stories, a campaign from the National Literacy Trust and University of Birmingham.

The competition, which saw over 450 young people enter, encouraged budding writers to think about what water means to our society, and develop their writing skills along the way.

It forms part of research at the University of Birmingham to raise awareness of the urgency of the climate crisis, and related water crisis. This research explores the grand challenges in water research which require multidisciplinary approaches to address water resources in a changing environment, from floods, droughts and resilience to the problems caused by human activities.

The winning story, A Droplet's Journey, personifies an energetic and empathetic rain drop entering a water supply and traveling across the globe. The young winner, who like all other entrants remains anonymous, will receive an exciting visit from author and head judge Sita Brahmachari. The first place winner outside of the city will receive an iPad, whilst second place in Birmingham and second place outside of the city will both receive a family ticket for a T20 cricket match next season at Edgbaston.

The judging panel was led by head judge Sita Brahmachari, current Writer in Residence at Islington Centre for Refugees and Migrants, as well as an Amnesty International ambassador. Other members of the panel included founding member of Clean Bandit and climate activist Love Ssega, leading academics from the University of Birmingham as well as staff from Warwickshire County Cricket club.

The winning stories are as follows:

  • First place entry for Birmingham: A Droplets Journey
  • Second place entry for Birmingham: The Water Monster (Whoosh!)
  • First place entry outside of the city: Torrents of Time
  • Second place entry outside of the city: Money in the Well

Read the stories on this webpage.

All submitted stories will contribute to the Birmingham Stories Corpus (BSC), a collection of stories used by researchers to study the language of young people. Stories reveal information about society, relationships, culture and language – and the competition entries will help capture the young voices of today.

“Huge congratulations to everyone who entered the Water Stories competition. I laughed, cried and was deeply impressed to read the original storytelling exploring the theme of water. The passion that young people have for environmental recovery at this pivotal moment in our earth's journey poured into these imaginative tales and was felt and sensed in every precious word. Talent and creativity flowed freely. The winning story (outside of the city) was a joy to read and contained a powerful message against complacency; people being satisfied and smug in their own lives while polluting the world's water. The reach of this story really stuck with me when reviewing the entries.”

Sita Brahmachari, author and head judge

“National Literacy Trust research shows that writing supports children and young people’s mental wellbeing, with 2 in 5 (38.3%) children and young people agreeing that writing makes them feel better. I hope that the young people who entered the competition enjoyed the creative process as much as I enjoyed reading the entries, and I can’t wait to hear how their writing develops in the future.”

Kyle Turakhia, Birmingham Stories Hub Manager