Results of The Canterbury Tales Writing Competition 2018/19: Magic and Trickery

Thank you to everyone who entered The Canterbury Tales Writing Competition 2018/19: Magic and Trickery. We loved reading your poems and stories and we hope that you will enter our new competition, on the theme of Hopes and Dreams. This is now open and you find out more information here.

Over eight hundred young writers entered The Canterbury Tales Writing Competition 2018/19. We were incredibly impressed by the quality of the writing and it was really tough to pick the shortlists.

Huge thanks to the judges Patience Agbabi, Gail Ashton and Adam Baron who chose the final winners – we are really impressed by the results!

So here are the winners…

Ages 5-10

1st Place

Option 2 – A tale involving someone playing a trick.

By Emily age 10


Rusty & The Cheese

Once there lived a mouse called Rusty. He was a musty grey colour with fine straight whiskers as pointy as needles.  Rusty was very greedy. Every day he went around stealing others food.  Rusty `s best friend was an owl called Oak.  Oak was very wise owl.  He had big brown eyes, and his wings were a shiny chocolate brown colour.  Oak noticed that Rusty was stealing all the other animal’s food.  Rusty had stolen from the hare, the tortoise, the fox and the rooster.  Oak even found his own food missing, and even though Rusty was his best friend he needed to teach him a lesson.

First, Oak made a big pile of fake cheese out of rocks and yellow paint he had found in the back of his barn, and then he sprayed it with scented cheese smells from the bakery.  Rusty craves cheese.  Next, Oak tied the top of the cheese with string to a branch in the big chestnut tree.  At the top of the branch was a cage, so when Rusty tried to eat the cheese the cage would fall on him.  The cage was made of thick metal bars all overlapping and, was square shaped.


Now all Oak needed to do was hide and wait for Rusty to appear.  He flew off to his perch and sat very still and quietly.  After a few minutes he could hear Rusty coming through the long green grass, then out of the bushes he appeared.  Slowly he shuffled towards the aroma of cheese and sniffed the air.  His whiskers twitched with excitement.  He quickly scuttled over to the cheese pile thinking this was going to be his best meal ever.


Suddenly, Rusty put one of his legs on the cheese and ‘Bang!’ the trap fell right on top of him with a loud crash.  Oak swooped down silently from his hiding place and told Rusty that he only set the trap to stop him being greedy and, stealing everyone’s food.  Oak was pleased the trap had worked successfully.


Rusty was really frightened, he felt so small and pathetic in the huge cage, he tried to squeeze his way of the bars but he was too big and the gaps were too small.  Oak said Rusty could only come out if he apologised to everyone and promised to stop stealing other animal’s food.  Rusty quivered with fear as he didn’t like being in the cage and he was feeling very guilty.  He agreed to do as Oak had said as he didn’t want to be in the cage any longer.  Oak pulled the string up and Rusty was free.

To make sure Rusty did as he was told, Oak picked him up in his mouth and flew him round all the other animal’s houses to say sorry.  They all accepted his apologies and knew their food would be safe from now on.


Oak had done his deed and, lived up to his reputation as being the wisest animal in the forest.  Rusty went back to scavenging for food wherever he could find it but not off other animals!


2nd Place

Option 1 – A poem or story about someone or something magical.

By Ashira age 8



Josh Scragg again was ordered to leave class

For shouting out loud, “Shakespeare is an ass!”

The boy abhorred learning about writers of old,

From Dante to Dahl, they all left him cold.

Dragging his feet, Josh walked to detention

When he saw an unknown man who caught his attention.

“Follow me, young master,” said the figure as he walked

Towards the school chapel which was usually padlocked.

“Who on earth are you?” Josh questioned the man.

“Call me Geoffrey,” he replied with an outstretched hand.

Trusting the stranger, Josh entered the door

Which few people in the school had stepped through before.

The door was enchanted and would only open

For those, for some reason, its magic had chosen.

On the other side of the door that day,

The old streets of London from years ago lay

Curving and turning, protected by stone city walls

And in the distance the sound of bells chiming from a cathedral.

“Come on, matey,” Geoffrey called, “let me take you to the pub.”

Well, that was an offer Josh could not snub!

The malodorous roads they strode in style

Until they reached the Tabard Inn, after a while.

Entering the pub, Josh was knocked off his feet

By the smell of beer, sickly and sweet.

Geoffrey led Josh to a table of guests,

A gaggle of characters who seemed comically dressed:

One in fine armour, one armed with a sword,

Then a lady who liked to “Praise the Lord!”

Many more were chatting around the table

Where they each took turns to tell a fable.

Now, Josh hated books but these tales he loved,

Stories of the bad, the ugly and the good.

Such great company was the merry throng,

Josh did not realise he’d been there so long.

Nearly sundown, Geoffrey announced it was best

For the group to set out on their adventurous quest.

To the city of Canterbury they would go

And visit the shrine which everyone knows.

Geoffrey shouted, “Josh, why don’t you come?!

Get on your horse.  There’s food for your tum!”

Josh replied, “My mum will worry about me.

Besides, she will have made my tea.”

With sadness the two chums would have to part

And to the group Josh bid farewell with a heavy heart.

Josh and Geoffrey galumphed to the enchanted door

Even though they wanted to be acquainted more.

Geoffrey said, “Now you know tales can be fun,

Have a go each day at reading one.”

Josh brought out his phone and took a selfie of them both

And made reading each day his promise, his oath.

He went back to the school via the door

But couldn’t tell anyone what he saw.

Josh kept the pledge, just as he had said,

Each day at least one tale he read.

Very soon, Josh’s most famous author

Was none other than Geoffrey Chaucer.

The Canterbury Tales came alive off the page

Like Josh had been there himself in a bygone age.


3rd Place

Option 2 – A tale involving someone playing a trick.

By Dylan age 7


The Modern Tale


The modern tale begins on a gloomy, dark night that had just done a “you know what” in a dirty pot. Our main character is a woman named Juliet Iron Buns who has a dad who is called Mr. Iron Buns, who is the boss of Toothpaste Inc. Now let’s get on with the story. Now where was I ……oh yes so on that dark, gloomy night Juliet was out with her love, a man called Ronald Rump and they were in a fast food restaurant called the most diabolical name a fast food restaurant could possibly be called…drum roll please …………the name was called “Cheesy Hut”. But the problem of them being in love was that Juliet was already married! That night they weren`t just there to get a double cheesy hut burger special coming with a plastic toy, no they definitely were not, they were there about their sinister plan. “So I’ve got a plan Rumpy my man” said Juliet so suspiciously, that even the waiter thought something fishy was going on. “Alright so this is it. At the tip of dusk, I ask him to give me a kiss and when he does that smoochy thing I fart in his face and it’ll be the stinkiest fart anyone’s ever done and whilst I do that you tell my stupid old dad that a gigantic flood is coming to get him distracted for twenty-eight minutes”. At dusk the plan was hatched. They did it. At that very moment Ronald thought he could do the same. That night he stuck his naked bum out the window, exactly the same as Juliet did but the husband was one step ahead of him. You see, the husband was lucky enough to go to cheesy hut the night before them and buy a £5 red hot chilli pepper just in case he ever needed it. At that very moment, when Ronald was about to fart, the husband stuck the red-hot chilli pepper up his bum. Instantly, he yelled for some water to soothe his almost burnt botty, and the dad thought the flood was coming, so he crashed down the stairs in the bathtub like a random, interfering idiot. Whilst he was in the bathtub the tap was still on and it caused a flood. The end.


Highly commended

Option 2 – A tale involving someone playing a trick.

By Denis age 10


Jacob’s Magical Stone


As we continued on with our journey to Canterbury it became the Taylor’s turn to tell his tale.


So he began…



Long ago my friend Jacob was grazing the landlord’s cattle in a field when he realised he was very hungry. Thus, he went to the nearby woods and picked up some fallen branches for the fire to cook few grains he had in his pocket. However, this forest belonged to a greedy landlord who put a ban on taking any wood from the forest. But the feeling of hunger overcame the fear of being caught. So, he went to light a fire. He took some water from the stream and started cooking the grains in his pot. After few minutes he put a stone on the fire so it could keep the porridge warm.


Suddenly, he realised the Landlord was passing through the forest in his lavish clothes and golden carriage. He quickly picked up the hot stone with the coat he was wearing and ran off to a different place in the woods away from the fireplace and carried on cooking his meal.


Unfortunately, the landlord had made a turn towards Jacob and curiously peered into what he was doing.


“Oi, peasant”, he said, “what is it that ye are doing there?”


“Nothing but cooking my porridge on my magical stone.” Jacob replied smugly. “All I need to do is to say: 1- 2- 3, warm my food for me! And the magic does its work with no coal or wood.”


At first, the landlord didn’t believe a soul of what Jacob said, and looked around to find any traces of a fireplace. Then he reached to feel the stone and realised it was actually hot.


“I’ll buy it for 100 gold Guineas!” he exclaimed.


But Jacob knew that he could get twice more out of this foolish landlord and negotiated 200 for his rock!


When the landlord came home he told his wife that they wouldn’t need to use coal or wood to cook their food anymore. He placed the rock on the table and tapped it with a stick and sang the tune: it didn’t work, he tried harder and harder until he took a mallet and smashed the rock in half.


Bursting with fury, the landlord stormed back to find Jacob who had already spent all his easily earned gold Guineas on sheep, goats, cows, a horse, shoes, and lots and lots of delicious food for his family. Therefore, when he commanded to get a refund Jacob told him:


“I would give you a refund but because you broke the magic stone it’s no use to both of us.”


So he walked off with his head down knowing that he had spent 200 gold Guineas on a simple rock.



“This is a very cunning tale, Mr Taylor! Thank you for sharing it with us!” I replied as he finished the story.


“Well, who wants to go next?!” I asked…



Ages 11-15

1st Place

Option 1 – A poem or story about someone or something magical.

By Sudiksha age 13


Tempting Time, and Mystical Magic

200 years in the world, and I have yet to come across the reason for human ignorance. Well, my darling sister says that it is because I hardly ever ‘get out’ and interact with the co-existing race, but I like to think it is because of the wild and limitlessness of human imagination, that sometimes surpasses the real capabilities of us wizard-kind. (Also possibly because of a book I recently read, one which is immensely popular among humans. It sounded something like… Henry, was it? No… Ah, it was Harry Potter.)

At least their present impression of us is much better than it was around a century ago. Around that time, it was impossible to ever admit you were a Warlock, because the term often referred to an evil-doing sinful person. I, myself, once came across such an incident. I sometimes wonder why such a simple incident had such a huge impact on me and stayed with me through the century. Maybe because of the compassion it taught me, or possibly because the great friend I made because of the encounter.

It was a clear night… Or was it a cloudy one? Forgive my memory, it is unfortunately not one of the things that differentiate us from humans, and with 200 years to remember, I find it to be quite a disadvantage. Being a wizard of time, I hardly ever remember it as it passes. I advise those who I meet to do the same, as the true beauty of time is how quickly it passes, and unless you learn how to forget what is gone, you will never cherish what remains.

Back to the clear night. I was walking in a forest, more like looking out for my next prey. The next person who would succumb to greed, and then realise his mistake too late. It was a fun job most of the time, quite entertaining if you could ignore how bad you felt when every single human succumbed to greed. Ah, good times…

As I was saying, in the clear night, I spotted a young man. He was dressed like a soldier, but one which had come back from a truly devastating war. I was vaguely aware of the war so many humans were losing their lives for, I knew this because of my dear friend- a Wizard of death. His job had become really tiring around then, he almost always made sure to remind me how much he envied my job, and we laughed. That reminds me, I haven’t really spoken for a long time. Oh well, I’ll send him a letter so we can meet up.

The soldier looked extremely disembodied, and could hardly walk. I smiled as I realised what I could offer him. I predicted how long it would take for this young lad to succumb to the pleasures I could provide as I walked towards the soldier, who stopped once he noticed me approaching.

“Young lad,” I said putting on my usual façade, which dripped of sympathy and pity, “You seem quite err…  broken. Must you keep living like this?”

The boy laughed, “I feel quite proud of these scars, sir. They remind me of the great service I have done to my land.”

I was not shaken, almost all of them tried to act noble at first.

“I understand, but it’s quite sad that a capable young boy like you lives in such a pitiful state.” The boy laughed again, this time making me raise my century-old eyebrows.

“Is it? I have never felt pitiful nor capable, actually.” I faked my laughter, starting to get slightly annoyed at this point.

“Of course, wouldn’t it be nice to turn the clock back to when your body was in better shape.” I said trying much harder than before. This time the boy though for some time before answering, I smiled inside as he thought, knowing that I had won.

“I’m not sure, but I suppose going back in time wouldn’t be all that bad…” This was my cue, I took it and revealed my true glowing form. (Sometimes the shine really hurt my own eyes, but it always put on a good show.)

“Behold, human! I am the great Wizard of Time. I can grant you your wish, and take you back to a time your body was much healthier, but be warned, Time takes just as much as it gives, be ready to sacrifice once you accept. Do you accept, Do you want your ultimate wish to be granted?”

The boy seemed lost and in a daze for a while, before he answered,

“I am honoured to witness this miracle, but unfortunately I have no desire to be blessed by you, sir.” I was taken aback, at his bluntness, his nobleness and the fact that he was still calm, “Though it would be wonderful to get my young and youthful body back, I do prefer to keep my experiences of war. Please forgive my disrespect.”

I was somehow proud of the boy. I promised myself that time would be good to the lad as he was one of the few who understood the true treasures of time.

Before I could congratulate the boy for declining my offer, the boy started laughing once again. His laughter echoing through formerly silent forest. A sudden blinding light made me cover my eyes, and once I could open them the boy had disappeared.

Just as I gained control of my senses, a loud, yet appealing voice sounded through the forest, “You, fellow Wizard, have been caught in my trap. I am the wondrous Wizard of illusion. Is a noble human your innermost desire? I show you only what you want to see, dear brother, but what you want isn’t always what you get.”

The voice faded as my inner organs settled in from the turmoil.

From this encounter I learned something, something I probably always knew, but as the Wizard of time refused to believe until then. The daring and noble boy, was a bit from my imagination that was supported by my brother’s magic. And maybe what he said was right. A noble human is just an illusion, and we, as Wizards, ought to keep reminding ourselves of that.


2nd Place

Option 1 – A poem or story about someone or something magical.

By Noah age 12


The happy couple stand hand in hand gazing across the lake with the gentle water stroking their ankles. The autumn sun glimpses over the lush valley, casting golden threads across the water. His hands, muddy from the effort of planting the acorn, rest protectively on her belly.

Spring comes and as the first shoots emerge from the ground of that planted acorn, the same woman cradles her new born son.

At the tender age of seven, the boy goes to the lake to swim with his family. Bored, he begins to swing on the young oak tree next to the lake. The youthful branch can’t hold his weight and it snaps. The child falls to the ground cradling a broken arm as he looks up at the newly fractured branch.

He’s now a young teenager in the depth of winter. The majestic tree stands frozen in the snow. The boy stays inside, cocooned in blankets but unable to shake the cold. The doctors have no answers, but he knows.

At 20, the young man travels around the world, seeking answers to his strange connection. He is oblivious to the storm back at home that floods the lake. He shoots out of bed, coughing up water and then cries himself back to sleep worrying about his tree.

He finds love at 35 and from that love comes a child, then another, and a third. Under his proud, strong oak grows new saplings from the fallen acorns. A brother and two sisters play in the abundance of grass surrounding the tree as the man watches over the precious saplings. One evening, his children return home to bed in the arms of their loving father but only two wake up the following morning. In his grief and despair the man runs to the tree to find one sapling missing, stolen by careless, but unknowing, saboteurs.

The tree grows older and as the years pass, the man mourns over the death of his youngest girl. He keeps an obsessive vigil over his tree to protect the two remaining saplings.

He’s fifty now. It is autumn and as the sky grows melancholy and cries gentle rain, he finds himself ill. He goes straight to his tree and sees it is diseased. Fearful that the disease will spread to the precious two young trees growing under its bows he campaigns for his faithful oak to be felled. He knows this will bring about his end, but will save his beloved children. It is with both joy and sadness that he learns of the date that his tree will be cut down.

Winter comes and as the date edges closer, so does his end. In his final days he gathers his family around him. He says his goodbyes and expresses his love to each of them. Knowing they are safe, he is content. With the touch of the bulldozer, he draws his final breath and falls asleep.


3rd Place

Option 1 – A poem or story about someone or something magical.

By Megan age 12




I’m a virtual genie, one of a kind,

I am at your service, (if you don’t mind),

Subscribe to my YouTube channel. Also,

Please Comment your desire down below,

Fatter or thinner, taller or smaller,

Maybe you fancy a nice roast dinner.

To your hearts content you’ll receive wishes,

Relax a bit; no more washing dishes!

I hope that you feel inclined to subscribe,

See you soon! Terms and conditions apply…


Terms and conditions


Of course, it comes at a minimal fee,

One hundred pounds per wish, practically free,

With an extra cost for each that comes true

One thousand pounds, the price is fixed like glue.

It will not go down and will not go up,

If you want it to change, well tough, hard luck!

But don’t you worry! You won’t even know!

There is no warning, your money just goes.

When you click ‘subscribe’, although hidden well,

You legally agree to let me sell.

Because of this writing in such tiny print

I can scam you all, I can make you think,

That this whole joke is free and free to all!

Yet, I’m not breaking any rules at all.

A pity I know, but anyway!

At least the Ts and Cs are shown this way,

So that, if you can be bothered to read,

You won’t be falling for my trickery.

So bravo! Well done! If you’ve got this far,

Most of them don’t even scrutinize half.

They are forced to sleep, caused by apathy,

And then they forget to finish the read.

So next time you think you have scored a goal,

Read the small print, to see what it unfolds.

It might be an unneeded waste of space,

But it’s always good to be sure you’re safe.



Highly commended

Option 2 – A tale involving someone playing a trick.

By Greg age 12


Once upon a time , in a far off land, there lived a dragon: Baak. He was not just any dragon, though, he was the biggest, the strongest, the most powerful dragon that was still alive at the time. His blood-red scales shimmered like dying embers; his eyes were like two giant rubies with thin black slits, darting around like a cats, looking for prey. His scalding breath was as hot as molten lava and his ivory teeth and talons were as sharp as swords. Baak lived in a cave at the base of a huge mountain; he would eat anything that came close. He guarded it with great care, for it contained his spoils of war: gold. He would attack towns and bring all of their gold and jewels back to his cave. Among all of these riches there was one odd thing. A wooden goblet. It could make the drinker immortal – or so the legends said.


One day, a traveller arrived at the entrance to the cave, in the hope of making a deal with Baak. His name was Seamus Dagger. He had a crooked, skinny nose and long, matted hair. He was tall and thin, wore scruffy clothes and always carried a smooth, patterned stick. There was a round, red scar on his slender, bony hands. It was a puffy, blistered brand mark. If you were to look closely, you would see that it read “THIEF” in the very center.


“Oh great dragon, Baak!” Dagger bellowed, “I am here to strike a bargain with you. I am but a mere peasant, but I wish to earn some of your gold!”

Baak raised his head, jutting his neck out, and roared in anger. He then sent a stream of flame towards Dagger, who quickly dodged to the side.

“You are not worthy of my treasure. The only way I would ever give you some my treasure is if you could… make the moon eat the sun. Ha! That’s so ridiculous that if you could do that I’d give you all of my treasure!”



Dagger waited weeks for the right conditions, the weeks added up to months and the months added up to years. Finally, two years later, after watching night after night of stars in the sky, he knew that the time was right. It was time to fulfill his deal with Baak.


“Baak, I have returned! I have acquired the power to make the moon eat the sun and I am here to show you!”

“Ha ha! Very amusing, little human!”

“Behold my power!” exclaimed Dagger as he raised his arms and the moon began to rise in broad daylight behind him. It slowly rose up to the sun and then began to bite into it. The moon carried on going until it had completely swallowed the sun.

“How? How did you-”

“I believe that is my end of the deal completed. Now, where is my treasure?” Dagger said with a sly smile…


Ages 16-19

1st Place

Option 1 – A poem or story about someone or something magical.

By Amélie age 16



mama who smells of white sage,

mama whose quicksilver fingers bridge

the gap between the lace and the lack.



mama who sways in her bedclothes,

mama who teaches the eclipse how to dance the pavane,

fingertips brushing beneath humid night.



mama whose first love was silence,

mama who coyly winks at the space between words,

parchment capillaries flooded with ink.



mama who swallows the soft,

mama whose veins heave with wonder,

peter pan bruises blemishing skin.



mama who soaks in her truth,

mama whose serpentine tongue spells out

verdant prayers to desperate ears.



mama who wreaks gentle havoc,

mama who grinds jasmine with mortar and pestle,

floral tissue lining granite wombs.



mama whose sun anoints feet,

mama whose moon bears the water

that moistens sacrilegious lips.



mama who devours venus-stone,

mama who spits out a heart: throbbing, pulsing;

bleeding secrets into virgin mouths.



mama who escaped the temple,

mama who spits on your eucharist, the blood of christ

staining her weathered hands.



mama who bathes in limbo,

mama who waits for the water to reach her lungs too,

for the salt to erode away the ache.



daughter who lies under bone-light,

daughter who fills up with cavities when mama’s asleep,

mama who stays up all night.


2nd Place

Option 1 – A poem or story about someone or something magical.

By Nell age 16


The European Theatre

Based on the true story of Captain Jack Tueller.


Orchestras are touring Europe. Band members, recruited for their ability to kill, perform in the most esteemed of trenches. The overture begins with bullets, each rhythmic beat snatching a life. Shells scream into soprano, serenading the fallen, and eruptions conclude, bellowing through death’s dissonance. Conductors cocooned miles away sit plump at mahogany tables, devising more destruction; composing the song of war.


Jack’s favoured instrument was not a gun. Swaddled like a newborn, strapped to the seams of his parachute, lay a humble trumpet. Companion to countless flights across a world at war, in times of need the trumpet opened its lungs and roared, soothing the minds of troubled soldiers and keeping bullets at bay from Jack’s plane. Remarkably pristine in such a dirty world, its music held a magic that only Jack could tame.


One particular night, lonely in an apple orchard hidden within the folds of rural Normandy, Jack and his trumpet yearned to play. Terror bled through the unit, yet one enemy sniper remained; a risk deemed unworthy even for the relief Jack’s trumpet could bring. “It’s your funeral”, he was told. Aching to cure the tormenting silence, and with no better alternative, Jack pursed his lips, the trumpet smiled and readied itself. And they plunged, Lili Marlene crooning to the night, lulling the leaves and hushing wizened trees. Crescendos spiralled from the orchard, fingers of song waltzing with winter’s air, caressing the cheek, wiping the tear of a mere boy just meters away. Trumpet breathless and all stresses shooed, the music stopped. Not a shot rang out.


Night departed through a curtain of rain. When morning came, the air fell dead and life stood still. The truth of war an incomprehensible dream. Growls of a Jeep announced the harsh arrival of reality. A military policeman slid from the passenger seat, standing stock. “Who played that trumpet last night?”Jack glanced at his instrument, a sliver of light making it wink. “I did”. The yank beckoned to his vehicle, apparent Jack was to follow.


The boy was just 19. Prisoner behind barbed wire on Omaha beach, the German sniper’s eyes were wide, flitting over each face he’d been taught to hate, finally settling on Jack, whose trumpet gleamed in hand. It appeared alien in such a place.


Through tears, knees sinking into sand, the enemy began to sing. Lili Marlene, beautiful and haunting. “Unsere beide Schatten, sah’n wie einer aus”. The kid’s own love song. “I couldn’t fire last night”, he said through cracked mother tongue. “You played me the song my fiancée in Germany loved. I thought of my family, and couldn’t face hurting yours”. For a moment, war was meaningless. Tentatively, a hand reached past barbed wire. An offering of peace, an unspoken understanding. Jack shook the hand of the enemy. He was no enemy. They were just two boys, doing what they were told. United, fleetingly, by the magic of music.


3rd Place

Option 3 – A description of a magical place.

By Penny age 16


A Delve into the Woods


“Don’t go into the forest!” Daphne’s parents would say, just as their parents and forebears had.  In their lore, little ones went into the woods and never returned.  Still the soothing whispers of the trees and reassuring presence of their strong trunks enticed Daphne.  Her curious heart yearned to uncover the woods’ mysteries.  While a guiding sense of safety would tug her away from the woods’ luring lushness, on occasion, Daphne would venture there, unnoticed.

As Daphne escaped to the woods, she recalled learning the art of becoming a shadow — walking silent and hidden.  Her grandmother had taught her.  A remarkable and formidable woman bond strongly to nature, she did not fear the icy grasp of winding branches.  She did not let myths and rumors taint her love for the woods.  She had said that trees had souls and noble ones, for they would surrender their lives so that others could enjoy their capacity for a house or fire.  Grandma had told Daphne that she never wanted to break her connection with the woods, even in death.  Perhaps she lives as a tree spirit of myth:  a dryad.

Walking below the eerie forest canopy, Daphne relished the silence.  She responded to the quiet whispers of the trees and watched the shadows dance through the night.  Stars blinked through holes in the canopy like tiny diamonds, and she reached to grab them unsuccessfully.

She walked for hours until she was deep in the woods and could no longer see the sky above.  When she turned for home she realized that she didn’t know the way.  She wandered for hours more. The cold tore at her skin and left her exhausted and famished, and she collapsed to the ground in a heap.

Daphne slowly cracked her eyes to the sound of her name.  She sat up slowly, and as her vision adjusted, she found a strange creature as green as envy and bearing sharp elfish features.  A mischievous grin danced across his lips, and his eyes glowered with devilish desire.  Daphne recognized him for a goblin.

She asked what he wanted from her or rather tried.  From her throat, dryer than a carpet of long lost leaves, no words issued.  As she croaked, the goblin replied, “Daphne, you are out of time, but I can give you more.  You either live on like your grandmother or accept your fate.”

Daphne’s thoughts tumbled in wild exhaustion and fear.   As she chose, her life faded.  She left her old body and embraced new light.  The goblin still wore the same malicious grin.

Later Daphne’s father walked the woods in search of his wayward daughter.  He found nothing except haunting trees.  As he later came to a clearing, he found standing at its center a lonesome laurel whose leaves spoke in the whispers of a little girl.





Judges Announced for 2018/19 “Magic and Trickery” Writing Competition

We are very proud to announce that THE CANTERBURY TALES WRITING COMPETITION 2018/19: MAGIC AND TRICKERY will be judged by Patience Agbabi, Gail Ashton and Adam Baron. We are honoured and excited to have their support.

Image credit – Lyndon Douglas courtesy of Renaissance One

Patience Agbabi is an award winning poet who has lectured in Creative Writing at the universities of Greenwich, Cardiff and Kent. She is currently a creative writing fellow at Oxford Brookes. Her 2014 retelling of The Canterbury Tales, Telling Tales, was nominated for the Ted Hughes Award. In 2017 Patience was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Patience will be looking for a love of spells, spiels and magical mischief.





Gail Image.jpgGail Ashton is a poet, writer, editor, and teacher who has lectured at the universities of Manchester and Birmingham. She has published numerous explorations of medieval literature including a recent analysis of Chaucer’s most famous work entitled Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, for Bloomsbury Publishing. Gail’s recent collections of poetry include The Other Side of the Glass and What Rain Taught Us .

Gail will be looking for surprises, work with a story to tell and a distinctive contemporary voice to tell it.


Adam Portugal (1) (1).JPGAdam Baron is the author of six critically acclaimed novels that have been widely translated across Europe. His latest, Boy Underwater, was published in June 2018 by HarperCollins and is aimed at younger readers. Boy Underwater was Waterstones, Sunday Times, and Mail on Sunday Book of the Month, as well as being the first ever Toppsta Book Club choice. Adam is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Kingston University.

Adam Baron will be looking for energy, both in the writing and the characters. He says: “I’d like to read stories that really leap up off the page. I can’t wait to get stuck in.”


THE WINNERS…of The Canterbury Tales Writing Competition 2017/18

Thank you to everyone who entered. We loved reading your poems and stories and hope that you will enter our latest writing competition, on the theme of Magic and Trickery, which is now open for entrants.

Over five hundred young writers entered The Canterbury Tales Writing Competition 2017/18. We were incredibly impressed by the quality of the writing and it was very tough to pick the shortlists.

Fortunately, we had the help of three wonderful judges Patience Agbabi, Gail Ashton and Stephen Fry. Thanks to their hard work and diligence we have  a fantastic selection of winners whose writing really spoke to us and captured some of the magic of the Canterbury Tales.

So here are the winning poems…

Under 11

1st Place


The Well-being Coach


Her hair was glossy, Butterscotch (No.3).

Her eyes sparkled, unnaturally green

Her complexion was smooth, beautifully clear

Aided in part by washing with beer.

Her only wish was to relieve others’ stress

Whether through yoga, or tidying mess,

Or relaxing one’s feet in Egyptian sand

Her job was being the helping hand.

She wished that everyone else would know

That the way she got her healthy glow

Was simply yoga, once an hour

And, of course, only cold showers.

And when she found that her advice

Could make her money, wasn’t that nice!

She began to eat the chia seed

Which she claimed fulfilled her every need

Today, she cycles to work (she owns no car)

And there she eats a breakfast bar

Before welcoming a favourite client

Who comes every month, to fix her diet

And really, she is such a charmer

Because she’s mindful of her karma.

Another client comes to align

Her weekly events with her star sign

Our coach checks on the Celestial App;

It isn’t working, she gives it a tap.

An hour later she is taking a break

Ponderously staring into the lake.

The problem is: if she does her job well

For her clients, life will seem swell

Whereas, she will be redundant!

Now, she thinks, where’s the fun in that?

Breathe, she thinks, deep breath, calm down

There will be more stress in this here town.

Back to her office she purposefully strides

She throws the windows open wide

But they just let in the pollution:

Incense and filth is a terrible fusion.

She begins to print out Feng Shui sheets

And the latest recipes

Quinoa, turmeric, seaweed

Almonds, goji berry, sardines!

She will simply have to beat the rest

And fight her way to be the best.

Our coach begins to read, and learn

All the things that will help her turn

Into the best Well-being Coach

In London. What a good approach!

She learns how to have peace in your home:

It’s easy; first, remove your phone

If that’s too hard, you can instead,

Avoid sharp edges and move your bed.

She now knows that craft

Can help hard times to pass

Crochet is great, so is knitting

They’ll help you learn to refrain from hitting,

Whether from having your hands engaged,

Or from self-control, she cannot gauge.

Her elegant hands are in a flurry,

As she types, in a dreadful hurry,

About meditation, relaxation and spinach

And yoga classes taking place in Greenwich.

There is so much lifestyle advice to steal

And use in her business, to help and heal.

She smiles, her gleaming teeth flash

(As a child she always remembered to brush)

She has been struck by inspiration

What better way to reach the nation

Than a healthy lifestyle blog?

Or, even better, a well-being vlog.

With new-found knowledge she’ll entice the world

To come and have their fortunes told

By her, the lovely Gaia McNess

Who helped the world relieve its stress.


by Iris, aged 11

2nd Place


The Dentist


Joining the journey was a DENTIST, skilled,

Countless rotten cavities had he filled.

So gentle was his manner as he drilled,

That no one queried the amount he billed.


His dexterous hands, his patients did please,

As he tuned their teeth like piano keys.

The same nimble digits could unwrap with ease,

A whole box of assorted confectioneries.


Nervous patients, legs trembling like jelly,

Were kindly distracted with the overhead telly.

He removed all their plaque, however smelly,

Flecks sometimes landing on his ample belly.


Good flossing and brushing, he would always beseech,

“Never eat sweets” to the children he’d teach.

The aspiring celebs, he’d whiten with bleach,

Whilst his own breath reeked like a maggoty peach.



Diligent and thorough, yet his manner was mild,

He’d coax open the jaws of the most stubborn child.

It was sometimes observed that he never once smiled

For his own decayed teeth were so shamefully filed!


by Edward, aged 11

3rd Place


My feet ache. My mouth is dry. My entire body radiates pain in vast waves. I take a moment to stare at the majestic African scenery. You get a marvellous view from the mountain that our lonely village is on. The endless grasslands of the plain are littered with wildlife. Mammoth elephants wander the land aimlessly in herds. A giraffe peers over a large tree, chewing a mouthful of leaves. In the distance, I think I see a pride of lions lazing around under the cover of shade, their faces peering out of the abundant grass.

1 mile gone, 9 to go. I continue along the road.


I am hungry. My stomach pleads for food. I think of the famine that ruthlessly rules Kenya. Death is common around here. Despite the death, cheerfulness is eternal. I cannot bring myself to see why people are miserable. The people of my village are endlessly smiling. The singing, the dancing, the joy it gives me and my tribe. Without it we are lost. Bringing us together in one voice. I smile.

3 miles gone, 7 to go. I continue along the road.


It is early morning. I see the sun peek over the horizon. I need to hurry if I don’t want to be caught in the sun’s scorching rays. I see the heat waves rising from the ground. I used to think these were monsters coming from the depths below. Serpents winding through the air. I used to throw stones at them to scare them away. I was afraid they would bite my ankles but when I approached them, I couldn’t see them and I had clearly won the battle. I was a hero in my eyes.

5 miles gone, 5 to go. I continue along the road.


I am tired. I’m really tired. The heavy load weighs me down. But it’s so precious. It is life itself. It keeps our entire tribe alive. My tribe believe it is a gift from Enkai, our God. The cargo is straining on my back. My body screams for rest but as my father always says, to rest is a sign of weakness, so I carry on walking. 7 miles gone, 3 to go. I continue on the road. I think of my family and the love they give to me. It propels me forward.

9 miles gone, 1 to go. I continue on the road.


I see their faces and abandon my shroud of despondency. I hand the treasure to my father. He takes the precious cargo. We all kneel in honor of our gift.

It is my job to bring the water to my family from the clean water well five miles from the village. My mother blesses it, then takes a bowl, fills it with the water and puts it over the fire to make soup. After my soup, I pick up my books and the little stationery that I have and head to school.


Goodbye road. See you tomorrow.

by Noah, aged 11

Highly Commended


We’re going on a journey, what shall I see?  I see a squirrel climbing up a tree.

What else shall I see?

We’re going in a tunnel, what shall I see? I see my own reflection smiling at me.

We’re going to France, under the sea, what shall I see? A fish chasing me! What else shall I

see? I can see a sting ray smiling at me.

I can see a great big blue whale swimming with me under the sea.

I can see a sword fish as well. I can see a broken ship and it is called a ship wreck.

I can see a treasure chest. I wonder what’s inside?

Time to get off the train and there’s a special sight!

I see a fairy welcoming me, welcoming me, welcoming me!


 by Lucy, aged 5


Ages 12-15


1st Place


The Wife of Cheshire’s Prologue

With apologies to Geoffrey Chaucer

(* means original Chaucer line)


A Cheshire wife and proud that’s me,

A Northern girl and fancy-free.

Blunt and loud that’s what we’re like,

You Southerners can take a hike.

Husbands at the church door I’ve had five*

And it’s their cash that makes me thrive.

Prada, Chanel and Jimmy Choo,

I’m cooler than the London crew.

Why marry two when you could have eight?*

Those divorce settlements are always great.

With Slater and Gordon I never lose,

My exes always pay their dues.

I’d welcome the sixth wherever he may appear,*

Is this Gucci top a bit too sheer?

Forty-something I may be,

But Botox really works for me.

I have the power during all my life*

To look so fit, with the surgeon’s knife.

I will persevere; I am not fussy,*

Though some round here say I’m a hussy.

Envious cows with boring men,

I’ve got loads more money than all of them.

Cartier, Rolex, Patek Philippe,

I never choose a man that’s cheap.

The simple trick with men you see,

Is make life one long shopping spree.

They like to think it makes them strong,

But I’m the one who wears the thong.

I like to dress up and party hard,

So much, at some clubs I’ve been barred.

Champagne and Jager Bombs, what a roar;

At the end of the night I’m on the floor.

I swear and lie like a woman can,*

With my best friend; her name is Jan.

They say we’re bossy and all fake tan,

Trust me, that’s how to get your man.

These heels are Louboutin, a grand a pair,

The soles are red and people stare.

I measure my life by racks of clothes,

My wardrobe doors are never closed.

Husbands get older, diamonds get bigger,

I’m livin’ the life of a proper gold digger.

I mustn’t eat. I must stay slim,

Those other fat birds are really dim.

Go to the gym to stay a size eight,

That’s the way you accumulate.

Social media means a lot to me,

Posting gossip is my cuppa tea.

On Insta, Facebook and Twitter,

But Jesus, people are so bitter.

They say it’s hard to love up north,

But not for me, I’ve got my Porsche.

And thanks to husband number five,

I’ve also got a 4×4 to drive.

Alderley Edge I’ve made my home,

Six double beds, I live alone.

I kicked my husband out last week,

He really was a total freak.

But minted up with lots of cash,

So now I can be really flash.

No kids for me but I don’t care,

‘Cos my Chihuahua’s always there.

A perfect size for my designer bags,

The loyal partner that never nags.

I like a holiday far away

In the sun I lounge all day.

Marbella, Majorca or Dubai

That’s where I’ll find another guy.

As long as he’s loaded I don’t care

But please, let him have a bit of hair.

So to all you wives I give this advice*

Do as you please for the rest of your life.*


 by Mini, aged 12

2nd Place

Tabby and Collie


A derelict barn sat hunched amongst a feeble amount of corn, the temporary illumination of sunrise manipulating their features to glow with a superficial splendour. The beam passed over several animals as they cleared their eyes of dust and uttered drowsy good mornings to their fellow creatures. The warmth lingered on a Tabby Cat who was reclining on a worn dog bed, faded with the hands of time. Languidly stretching The Cat was greeted with the snarling countenance of a Collie Dog.

“What are you doing in a dog’s bed?” The Collie muttered, a fang buried in her words. Unaccustomed to a cat behaving so differently from the image The Collie had constructed of cats, this insolent Tabby confused her. An alien world where a cat was entitled to a dog’s bed was one The Dog was unused to.

The Cat, blissfully ignorant as most cats are, looked up and gave a gentle smile, very unlike the sort of cat The Collie was used to.

“It is where I rest after work, you may call it your bed but I’ve had it for many years. It is not a dog bed or a cat bed but simply a bed. You may share it if you wish.”

The Collie was bewildered, what a bizarre cat! Frustration clawed at The Collie’s throat, irritating it enough to emit a bark that rang sharp through the flat air. Animals raised their heads wary and alert, all knew what that sound meant.


The assorted array of beasts, looming and diminutive crowded around the increasingly frantic collie. Hackles rising and falling in waves The Collie fled, tail trailing behind her like a flag of surrender. All eyes turned to The Cat who sat sedately, toying with a string that protruded from the all-important bed.

“Why so tense friends? She is simply confused and confusion too often turns to frustration and then rage” proclaimed The Tabby. The animals slowly dispersed, resuming their duties allowing the entire argument to slip from the grasp of their minds. But The Collie was adamant, cats should not own dog’s beds, that’s just how it was. Yet this insolent Tabby defied all that The Collie had known. She craved revenge with such a ravenous appetite that nothing could satiate it.

Many months swirled by as the animals prepared for the winter, the collie was now wasted away, turned to a hollow shell by her own desire. With desperation The Collie had attacked The Tabby, stolen the dog bed, eaten The Tabby’s food and lapped up the felines water. Yet satisfaction would not free the tormented hound.

Paws padded up to the cowering, creature who turned around rapidly, ears pinned back and mouth sculpted into a half hearted snarl. The Tabby sat next to The Collie. The bed lay between them, a reminder.

“What is your name?” The Tabby inquired. “Schrodinger” said The Collie briskly and simply “And you?”

“Mine’s Wolfgang” And just like that it was over.


by Mabel, aged 13

3rd Place


Mr. Fox


Mama gave the nasty fox a look as he walked past the gate. He stared coolly back. I was scared; mama’s feathers rustled as I buried my head in them. Her cluck-clucking vibrated against my soft yellow tufts, and I looked up at her. “He won’t eat me, will he, mama?” I asked.

“Course not. I’d never let anyone eat you!” She still looked worried though.


“Certain.” Satisfied, I curled back into mama’s mottled brown feathers to go back to sleep.

It is strange: it was not even the fox who took me. But I am starting a story from the middle, and aunty Henny, who is a teacher at the farm school, would be annoyed at me for that. So I will go back to the moon, and the lair.

The night was cold, and there was no moon, and mama had gone to get some more hay to line our beds with. She did not like to leave me alone with a fox around, but she was only going to be five minutes. She does fuss so. A distant howl echoed through the night, and I shivered.

Looking out of our henhouse window, I saw the pure, deep blackness of the night, and, like a curtain being drawn on a stage, the clouds parted to show me the moon. It was bright silver, and full. Tiny diamonds glinted in its craters.

That was the the last thing I remember.

I thought I must have just fallen asleep. But when I woke up, it was not in my bed, or mama’s. It was nowhere that I knew. The ground was hard and gravelly; bones of past victims were littered on the floor…The fox had taken me! He was going to eat me! I began to flap around the room in a panic. What should I do? Footsteps were slowly making their way up the stairs. A shadow stretched out across the carpet, looming ominously over me. What would mama do? I knew what mama would do: she would give the naughty fox a telling off and a box on the nose. The thought nearly made me laugh… But not quite.

A grey shape peered round the doorway. “You’re not a fox!” I said, amazed. It was a wolf! The wolf stared at me in disdain, the walked out of my prison. He had gone to get his knife and fork – I was doomed! Then another, friendlier face appeared in the entrance to the cavern. The fox! Was he in this too? Maybe they would eat me together!

“Excuse me,” I said. “But are you going to eat me?” My teeth were chattering so hard. He just laughed, and told me he was vegan. I just nodded. He wasn’t eating me: I wasn’t going to argue with him.


He carried me home in his big, soft mittens. I still can’t believe I was so wrong about him. He is really the nicest fox in the world.

by Isobel, aged 12

Age 16-19

1st Place


Santiago de Compostela


Fishing wire prophecy hooked itself under her gums-

Pulled up- and through and twisted itself off-

A cat’s cradle strung between her teeth,

Mother’s multicoloured embroidery thread

And her mouth caked in rapier rust- still-

She was gagged with Reverie in the morning- then,

Tea with the cousin’s- always-

In her knitted shawl-

And His puckered crochet- work of yellow light.

She steeped herself in the other girl’s perfume for three long afternoons, after

Friday, Saturday and Sunday afterschool

Her molars clinked like ceramic-

There were cavities in her wedding china,

Puddles of Fallacy where

Auntie’s gold voodoo ring

Still chimes- against the enamel-

And the little blue glaze flowers from a churchgoing childhood.


The cloves she crushed between her back teeth

Saliva and Dissolving gelatine capsules.

Moreish opioids-

They traded that numbness on the tip of their tongues

Peony finger pads-

Opal lobes

And the Winking Eye of Grecian archaeology

That had trowels tinkering between her mossy thighs.

There was a flowerbed on her rump,

Soft rosemary buds to pinch off

And faerie wings to pluck

And a pair of white, anointed feet to stamp the

Pagan out of her.


A Clementine was unfurled in the other girl’s lap

And pomegranate seeds in her bellybutton

And in the midst of the peel they found a stranger’s fingertips

And the ridge of an old keloid scar in the rind.

The other girl talked of God-

Capitalised, always-

And with the white peal she crafted a pantomime road for the angles

And she took the others hair,

Made a slipknot for her pinkie

And pulled it tight-

In finality-

The summer before her pilgrimage.


by Giulia, age 18

2nd Place


The Old Fool’s Tale


Whan older were thoos wintry days,

And foul coolness flemed wrecche in tweye;

By oon assent a physic and his wyf,

Traversed to this rebbeke’s hoom. With myght,

Nat worth an oyster, natheless right,

This physic did eek harness harlotrye

And diffamacioun, for avowtrye

And much fornicacioun that had the soote

Wyf, he suspected, swyved using the toute.


Thus fearing for his sovereyn prys, thugh

Twyce concerned for how diffame myght grow,

Quite rudeliche reneyed the spousaille of hem.

Then in privetee – er speech, swallowing phlegm

I will nat spare the tale- that mann’s assent

Sworn, he eek reneyed all rebbeks’ love:

For thir inherent synnes sevene, shoved.


But the atwynéd scoler, was suffiseth

Nat with tormentries. Thereto, he was leth

Of a thikke knarre and thugh testif, bereft

Of lookes and quite unwemmed, wearing lippe cleft,

Did countrefete, rehercen, the sapience of God,

But nat the lord’s misericord –goode sods,

By him were selden the wunne treated sect.

Thugh, if this wyf was biset disrespect,

Nat everideel small, nat everideel hoote

For swich governaunce to avayle ill-repute

Or turn this wimmin an daggle-tail:

His hende catel turned swich poraille.


This physic wolde complayne, till nones, this caas.

Ne, his assoillyng myght giveth Bacus

Pleyynge. His wits bisette, and stryvyng

Ycorven, bleynte with calculinge comynge

That wolde preyneth the wyf, putten bisyde

Misgovernance for goode. His plot was this:


Whilom, as wolde the wight tellen parfit,

His wyf was daughter to a yeoman cherl;

This type who, weylaway, heryen his gyrle

Less than heryen a swyne with camus nose,

Thugh it too became one leman of his rose,

(Beforen he had been cokewolded). Ywis,

He hente, if he than spedde yaf this swyne his

Foote, his muchel waymentinge koude sterven,

And travaillynge improve with haunteden.


Thugh, in mede, this swyne oft ful seemyly

And oft swithe, hadde his hevede privee

Learn some wit, befallen foote and blood’s reed.

It was, in ears, blessed all heaven’s myrie sautrie

Songs; and swich reed hertely wexed, ay ech

Tyme this swyne hadde mo it koude. Tercelet

-Beaked, it grew the sharpness of a clerk heeld

With oother, thugh unhethensse, haunts. And dwelled

In wit, swich this swyne bobanced speech; haunt swelled.


Whilom, our physic was bifel a preve

To this swyne’s unapertened wit, his heed

And lyf, verily would tobreketh. Alone,

He byve herkeneth the swyne’s words; and worlds expowned,

All holy thynges in an array, he spedde

Withouten clothes, into his mede, from bedde

And bathened, in his woodnesse, on wlatsom

Mudde at nyght, whennes wesshed Beggestere suns.


Withalle, whileer expowned fram me, let it be

Wist (nat everideel’s dotage!) a wight’s leeve

Wit and his ill-jalousye does nat holde

Virtue whilhom it hath stole-up his cloth

And he is scalded his eelde’s, brode, brood wroth.


Modern English Translation (For Reference)


When older were those winter days,

And foul coolness banished in two;

Unanimously, a physic and his wife

Traversed to the woman’s home. With might,

Not worth an oyster, nonetheless right,

The physic did also harness wickedness

And slander, for adultery

And much fornication that the sweet

Wife, he suspected, had done using the behind.


Thus fearing for his outstanding reputation, though

Twice concerned for how defame might grow,

Quite rudely renounced their marriage.

Then in private – before speech, swallowing phlegm

I will not spare the tale -that man’s demands

Sworn, he also renounced all woman’s love:

For their inherent seven sins, shoved.


But the divided scholar, was not sufficed

With just tormenting her. Thereto, he had half

Looked like a stout fellow and though head-strong, was without looks

And he was quite ugly, with a cleft-lip,

Though had, and rehearsed, the mind of God

But did not take the lord’s sympathy –good sods,

By him, were seldom the best treated sect.

Though if his wife was given disrespect,

Not all that small, not all that passionate,

Still, such behaviour would make a bad impression;

Or have his wife look like a beggar-woman:

His pleasant cattle made into a poor person.


This physic intended to lament, until the fifth canonical hour, this case.

No, his absolution might give Bacchus amusement. His brains used up

And conscientiousness slit, turned pale as astrological calculations came to him

That he knew would make the wife neat and put aside her bad behaviour for good.

His plot was this:


Once, as the man intended to tell perfectly,

His wife was the daughter of a yeoman peasant;

This type who, distressingly, commend his girl

Less than he commended a pig with a snub-nose,

Though it still became one of the sweethearts of his rose

(Before he had been cuckolded). So,

He thought, if he then sped to give this pig his foot, his much sorrow would know strength

And his work would improve because of that skill.


Though, in the meadow, the pig in an often very seemly manner,

And often very quickly, his head would privately

Become more intelligent, given the physic’s foot and the red of blood.

It was, in ears, blessed all of heaven’s merry sautrie music;

And as such red grew larger, at each time, this pig had more that it knew. Like a male-eagle’s

beak, it became as sharp as a scholar healed

With other, though unheathen, skills. And it dwelled

In intelligence, such that this pig could practice speech; and its skills swelled.


Once, our physic was given proof

To this pig’s massive wit, his head

And life, variably were to shatter. Alone,

He listened well to the pig’s words; and worlds told of,

All holy things confused, he sped

Without his clothes, into his meadow, from his bed

And bathed, in his madness, on the loathsome

Mud at night, when beggar-suns washed over the sky.


Withal, just now explained by me, let it be

Known (not everything’s feeble-minded senility!) a man’s

Dear wit and his ill-jealousy does not hold virtue when it has stole-up his cloth

And he is scolded with his old age’s plainly, broad, wrath.


by Edward, aged 17

3rd Place


The Boy On The Bus


My lips part,

but no sound escapes,


as we sit in silence

I trace my finger

along the map in my mind

-following us.


past the road

where my best friend lived,

past the house I grew up in

-where I learned to read, and write,

and paint and ride a bike-

past the station-

-where we used to go to

London from to stay in

the Marriott, by the London Eye-

past the stop

where I used to catch the bus-

as my legs trembled

in my knee-high socks-

past the shops

-where I applied for my first job,

eager and young,

but never heard back-

past the post office

-where I’d walk with my nan,

and we’d leave her dog outside

as she bought me a lottery ticket

and a chocolate-

past the road

of my first house in this town-

where our next-door neighbour

had a black cat

and I got it a present

on its birthday, as it sat

at the top of the stairs,

judging me-

past the post box

-where mother always

intends to post letters,

but always forgets-

and to the stop.


We press the button

at almost the same time,

causing a staggered,

awkward “di-ding”,

you get off and walk ahead,

as I wonder-

what do the streets mean to you?

So many questions.

No sound escapes.

Home now.


by Poppy, aged 16


The Canterbury Tales Writing Competition 2018/19

“The Canterbury Tales Writing Competition 2017/18” was a great success and encouraged some really wonderful writing. The winners have been contacted and will be announced soon.

We are pleased to announce that The Chaucer Heritage Trust will be holding another writing competition for school age students around the country. Students are invited to submit pieces of original writing inspired by Geoffrey Chaucer’s most famous work: The Canterbury Tales.

The special theme of the competition this year is Magic and Trickery.

Details of the competition can be found here.



The Canterbury Tales Writing Competition 2017/18

We had a wonderful response to The Canterbury Tales Writing Competition 2017/18 and have now, just about, compiled a shortlist for each category. We are now moving on to the next stage of the judging process. Keep an eye on our website and social media for updates.

For now, thank you for all of your entries, we’ve been really impressed by your fantastic writing.