The BBC Young Writers Award, 2018; an exclusive extract.

It’s that wonderful time of year again – the BBC Young Writers’ Award is upon us! 

This is the fourth year of the wonderful award which invites all 14 – 18 year olds living in the United Kingdom to submit short stories of up to 1,000 words. The BBC Young Writers’ Award was launched as part of the tenth anniversary celebrations for the BBC National Short Story Award and aims to inspire and encourage the next generation of writers. 

The five shortlisted writers will attend the exclusive BBC Short Story Awards ceremony on 2nd of October 2018 at Cambridge University, when the winner will be announced live on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row and they will have the chance to meet high-profile authors, publishers, agents and broadcasters at the award ceremony. 

And I’ve been given a lovely job in promoting it, by sharing an exclusive excerpt of a shortlisted young author’s entry! Below, you’ll find a brilliant piece of Davina Bacon’s story, ‘Under a Deep Blue Sky’. 

Davina Bacon is 17 years old and from Cambridgeshire. Inspired by Davina’s early childhood in Africa and her passion for environmental issues, this is the raw and emotionally powerful story of a young poacher and the brutal murder of a mother and baby elephant. Beautifully structured, parallels are drawn between the boy’s memory of his own mother’s death and the harsh realities of life where killing is his only survival option… 


'Under a Deep Blue Sky' (extract)
by Davina Bacon.

Leaves rustled as we crawled through the thick brush. I hushed the others, although I was loudest. Matthew pinched my leg, chuckling softly when a yelp escaped from me. His pinches were deadly. David craned his head to glare over his shoulder, silently reprimanding us: If you fools continue misbehaving, I will leave you here in the dark, and you can explain what we were doing. See if you’ll be laughing then.
Our path was barely visible despite the yellow headlamp clamped on David’s head. Matthew and I followed almost blindly, placing our hands exactly where David had. The trail was familiar. The cold, sharp edge of my rifle fit perfectly into the groove it had carved into my skin years ago, and its weight no longer bothered me. Instead, my mind focused on staying low, silent, and swift.
We reached the watering hole. The view might have been beautiful, had we come to appreciate the way the deep blue sky dotted with a billion stars was streaked with red and violet light coming from just behind the hills along the border. But we hadn’t. Instead, we sat back on our haunches and devoured the rice and beans we had brought for the wait. The elephants usually ambled down about ten minutes after we arrived.
Soon the first of the lumbering grey beasts wandered down to drink. In a flash, the rifle was poised in my arms, lifted to eye-level to get a shot. From the corner of my eye, I glimpsed David’s gesture for me to lower it. It wasn’t worth it.


The winning BBC YWA story will be available on the Radio 1 website after the award ceremony on Tuesday 2 October, and will be available to download on the Life Hacks podcast from Sunday 7 October at 6pm. The winner will also receive a personalised mentoring session with an author to enhance their writing skills! 

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