Haverhill writer wins short story competition at Books East Festival

Lucy Cant, fourth from right, has just received her certificate and first prize from famours author Francesca Simon at the Books East Festival 2016 after winning the young people's short story competition. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown. ANL-160525-104500001
Lucy Cant, fourth from right, has just received her certificate and first prize from famours author Francesca Simon at the Books East Festival 2016 after winning the young people's short story competition. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown. ANL-160525-104500001

Haverhill schoolgirl Lucy Cant had never before entered a writing competition, but having finally done so she went on to not only win it but also to collect her prize from top children’s author, Francesca Simon.

The 15-year-old Samuel Ward Academy student, of Abbotts Road, won the children’s short story competition at the inaugural Books East Festival in Ipswich for her composition, Isolated With the Waves.

Lucy Cant with Francesca Simon ANL-160525-104447001

Lucy Cant with Francesca Simon ANL-160525-104447001

Having found out about the competition through her school, Lucy penned the 500 word story and submitted it to the organisers of the festival before being invited to the Ipswich Corn Exchange knowing she was one of the entrants shortlisted for the first prize in the 14-16 age category.

Lucy, whose story was inspired by her late granddad, who died when she was 13, said: “My dad told me to go in for a few competitions but I don’t have a lot of faith in myself. I don’t really want to enter them.

“When I stood up there I could feel my heart pounding because I was really nervous and when they read the second placed name out and it wasn’t me I couldn’t believe it.”

Lucy received her first prize of a £20 book voucher and a certificate on stage in front of a packed audience from the writer, who is perhaps best known for her series of Horrid Henry books.

Lucy added: “She said ‘congratulations, I’m glad you got first place.

“It was surprisingly hard. You think it’s only 500 words and you get to 501 and you think ‘I’ve got to lose something.’”

Lucy now plans to continue writing and hopefully get her idea for a book accepted by a publisher.

BooksEast was born out of Ip-Lit which from 2006 until 2014, brought writers to Ipswich as part of the town’s annual Ip-Art Festival.

It took place in Ipswich between May 9 to 15.