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Young Writers Award winners

Congratulations to the 2019 winners



  • Teacups by Zarin Nuzhat


  • An Argument in a Car by Samuel Hoare
  • The Grandstand by Holly Mazzola
Photo of a young man smiling; a river is in the background
Paper Lands by Tristan Hurree Excerpt The Shanghai air was thick and grey. My taxi was one of hundreds, inching its way through the bustling streets. Above, Zhezhi sparrows soared through the forest of steel and glass, delivering messages scrawled across their paper wings. Alien figures emerged from the haze: a sweaty old man shucking carp scales into a gutter, another bottling oil from the same source. They wore round, white masks over their mouths. Down a dim alley, two young children, a boy and a girl, tossed cigarette butts for a paper dog, which yapped happily as it brought them back. ‘Why do their parents let them go outside without masks?’ I asked my driver. He shrugged. ‘Sometimes, maybe, no parent.’ The dog dropped a butt by the boy’s foot, and he giggled as it nuzzled his toes with a crumpled snout. ‘What will happen to them?’ ‘Sometimes orphanage. The boy, maybe factory. Factory man find and promise good life, then dead by fifteen. The girl… Maybe factory not so bad.’ The girl swept up the paper dog and planted a kiss on his yellowed belly. The traffic resumed moving, and the smog devoured the children whole. The factories were The Old Man’s favourite threat. A threat that would emerge with every B+, every missed goal, every foul musical note. ‘Maybe I swap you with a little orphan slaving in the factories and see if he try a little harder.’ It was difficult to accept this threat from a part-time janitor who spent entire days stewing in the chair by the TV, smoking the cigarettes and drinking the whisky that would eventually kill him. But perhaps The Old Man had known children who’d actually worked in factories? Perhaps he’d worked in one himself while he was growing up in China? It never occurred to me to ask.
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