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Life in Lockdown Competition Results

04 August 2020

Life in Lockdown Competition Results



19-25 Category – Judge Susmita Bhattacharya


1st Place – This is Something to Tell the Grandkids – Olivia Tuck

2nd Place – The Things I Learned While I Lived with My Grandad – Ellie Varley

3rd Place – Parcellitis – Oliver Jones


15-18 Category 


1st Place – A Cold Night/ A Good Night for Dancing – Kate Lucas

2nd Place – Locations (Untitled) – Honor Farley

3rd Place – Life in Lockdown – Ellie Yeoman


11-14 Category


1st Place – One Virus - Iona Mandal

2nd Place – They Just Hope - Grace Burgess

3rd Place – Merchant of Venice Rewrite - Rohini Bhattacharya


7-10 Category – 3 x winners


Lockdown Story of a Bicycle and a Chessboard – Neelesh Gupta

Lockdown Poem – Aaruni Bhattacharjee

We Will Smile Again – Md Shavan Safir



The judges were impressed with a wide range of responses from all entrants, and how well the submissions captured so many  aspects of experience shared during the lockdown period of the Covid crisis.  Thank you to all who took part. An anthology featuring the winning submissions will be compiled and released later in the year.


All winners have now been contacted.



Judges Comments 19-25: Susmita Bhattacharya


1st Place:

This Is Something To Tell The Grandkids – Olivia Tuck

Poignant and hard-hitting. I loved how this poem uses the negative to create such strong images of the realities of the pandemic, and the idea of how it will be regarded by those from the generations to come. A different and important perspective. Well done!


2nd Place:

The Things I learned Whilst I Lived with My Grandad During Lockdown – Ellie Varley

A poem with so much insight and sensitivity. I loved how the lists of things learnt demonstrate so much about life and living, and the poem is beautifully layered and complex. Well done, Ellie!


3rd Place:

Parcellitis – Oliver S Jones

I liked the lightness of touch here, the humour in the situation. It also gave me the sense of being cooped up, a sense of boredom in staying indoors all the time. There’s a sense of claustrophobia which you’ve managed to create quite effectively.


Judges Comments 15-18: Joanna Barnard


1st Place

Kate Lucas – a cold night / a good night for dancing


Beautifully evocative take on the things we miss, with some striking use of language. I loved “when tired knuckles come knocking at tired eyes”


2nd Place

Honor Farley – Entry 4 (High St, Beach, Garden, Bedroom)


The device of places is used so well to highlight a life compressed by isolation. There is a world of contrast portrayed by the sister working among the shed, the empty benches, the community mistrust, the lost hours in the bedroom. Raw and insightful.


3rd Place

Ellie Yeoman – Life in Lockdown


Lovely tone, a likeable narrator introducing their family members who manage to be simultaneously quirky and oh-so-relatable. 


Judges Comments 11-14 – Antosh Wojcik


1st Place

Iona Mandal – One Virus

This is an exceptional piece of memoir/personal essay that addresses the broad and varied social upheavals that have risen from the effects of the pandemic as well as worldly events with care and consideration. At the same time, you maintain a specific focus on the personal - your own discoveries and answers that you have arrived at during this time. This introspective writing gives context to your thoughts and you have done so well to balance the global issues with the local. Your writing is unafraid to pose large questions and your conclusion is a heart-warming moment that draws the whole piece together. As a reader, I felt both reflective on my own experiences and changed by what you had found. Thank you, fantastic work.

2nd Place

Grace Burgess – They Just Hope

Your poem, 'They Just Hope', was an incisive piece on how Covid has affected the world over; you weave the extended 'beast' metaphor consistently throughout which made for moments of surprise, illumination and insight, and it's interesting how you have shown the disease's power over all which speaks to a very human uncertainty. The piece also shows a sophisticated sensitivity to how people have coped (or not!) with the pandemic, in which you find both criticism and understanding for how we have all responded to these times. 

3rd Place

Rohini Bhattacharya – Merchant of Venice Rewrite

This is an excellent rewrite and update of The Merchant of Venice in our Covid-19 times. I think you have been really inventive with the narrative and balanced the humour and meaningful moments with consideration, which made for both a joyous and reflective read. 


Judges Comments 7-10 – Tabitha Hayward


Neelesh Gupta – Lockdown Story of a Bicycle and a Chessboard

Thank you for the opportunity to read your story. It stood out to me immediately as really original, and I feel you built the voices of these characters (even though they are a bicycle and a chessboard!) as really distinct and engaging, with clever backstories, personifying them brilliantly – it’s a really funny piece which also manages to address the theme in such an inspired way! I like how competitive they are with each other, mocking and pointing out each other’s faults early on in the dialogue, but by the ending they realise they are both helping their owners get through Lockdown, just in different ways – it works beautifully!


Aaruni Bhattacharjee – Lockdown poem

Thank you for the opportunity to read your poem. I particularly like how it has a clear rhythm and rhyme scheme throughout, which you manage to keep consistent without it ever feeling like you’re forcing the rhymes – which is really impressive! I also really like the message of the ending; you don’t shy away from the hardships and the suffering caused by Covid-19 in the poem, but by the ending you’re also shining a light on the positive elements, bringing families closer together and appreciating what we do have. It’s a really well-crafted poem, with a strong and important message!


Md Shayan Safir – We Will Smile Again!

Thank you for the opportunity to read your poem. From the brilliant title onwards, it has such a beautiful and powerful message about making the most of things during Lockdown, in spite of the hardships, and appreciating those who are making sacrifices for us, like NHS workers. You use rhyme really well throughout, and there are some lines which really stay with me (e.g. ‘It’s a shame that we can’t go out during the summer, Squirting people with a water gun would be funnier’ and ‘Helping your family in every single way, We need to be joyful and that’s how we should stay.’) It has a really bright and positive message, perfect for these challenging times!









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