Cambridge News Article: 15 July 2015

In July 2015, I was fortunate to have won for the second time the Henrietta Branford Writing Competition with my story Almost, having previously won the prize in the summer of 2014 with my story Alpha and Omega. Here is an article from the Cambridge Evening News about this second literary prize.

Now Alexia aims to be a writer of note

Multi-talented teenager scoops another literary award… but wants to be a composer

A blind 15-year-old writer has scooped her second literary prize in two years for a story written in just 10 minutes.

Alexia Sloane was handed her second Henrietta Branford Literary Prize by former Children's Laureate Dame Jacqueline Wilson.

But rather than a literary career, the multi-talented teenager, who speaks five languages and already has several GCSEs and AS-levels to her name, instead hopes to become a composer by studying music at Cambridge University.

Alexia, of Lantree Crescent, said: "Often I write these short pieces in about 10 minutes.

"I don't write them for the winning - my mum usually sends them to competitions without even telling me - but because I enjoy the experience.

"I did know about this one though." The Comberton Village College student, who lost her sight following treatment for a brain tumour aged 2, writes all her prize-winning stories on a special computer which converts Alexia's braille into a readable word document.

For this prize, she used her love of philosophy as inspiration for a short story about a near-death experience.

She explained: "With the Henrietta Branford prize, they give you a passage written by a published author and you have to continue it with a 1,500-word short story.

"In this passage, everything the person knew disappeared, so I chose to write about a near-death experience as a way of seeing how they would find everything again."

Alexia now hopes to publish her first story - a musically-inspired novella about two children in a concentration camp written from the perspective of a piccolo.

But, she believes her story, which was originally written several years ago, would need some fine tuning before submission.

However in the meantime, Alexia, who plays the recorder, will be working on a composition for the Cambridge Music Festival.

She added: "I have so many interests it's not true. I love philosophy, studying world religions and I read a lot.

"It's with great difficulty that I fit them all in."

Prue Goodwin, lecturer in literacy and children's books and Henrietta Branford prize judge, said: "This year, the overall standards were exceptionally high but each of the winning pieces - though very different in their themes - were stories that were gripping from start to finish, written in the unique styles of the individual authors."

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Cambridge News article