To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the BBC National Short Story Award, Booktrust and the BBC are launching the brand new BBC Young Writers’ Award with Booktrust.to inspire and encourage the next generation of writers.
Young people aged 14 to 18, who live in the UK, are invited from today to submit short stories of up to 1,000 words on any topic. A panel of three judges will select a shortlist of the top five stories, which will be announced in September 2015. The judges will be looking for high-quality writing, stories that demonstrate originality, imagination and creativity, and writers who can capture the reader and hold their attention.
The new Award was announced at the BBC National Short Story Award ceremony back in September when Lionel Shriver was announced as the winner of the 2014 Award.
The five shortlisted writers will be invited to attend the exclusive BBC National Short Story Award…
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I found Prelude to a Hero to be concise, well-written and home to some wonderfully believable characters. An interesting and lovable world is depicted far above Earth in this humorous fantasy/adventure novel.
Initially I thought there were hints of a storyline that would be similar to I Am Number 4 by Pittacus Lore, but the more I read I found that there may be the odd similarity; but Prelude to a Hero is very much its own novel. The chapters are fairly short in comparison to other novels I’ve read lately, but the flow is good and although fast it is well-paced too. The short chapters combined with the fast pace, allow the reader to ensure they can follow the plot without getting lost or bored.
The chapter structure adopted by Buckley is particularly interesting in that he chooses to ‘break the fourth wall’. Each chapter includes a commentary style sentence or paragraph where Buckley has chosen to add his thoughts and insights on the content or events of each chapter. As you read further into the novel this authorial intrusion becomes more frequent, switching from being at the start of the novel only, too occasionally interrupting the flow of the paragraph- but thankfully these intrusions never seem to interrupt the flow of the plot.
Wendell is a likeable, believable character. His development within the novel is well-paced; you’re always learning something about his background or personality. Buckley has done well to craft a hero who is not only unlikely but also unwilling and yet the reader still wants him to come through, because you can’t help but like Wendell. After all nobody quite seems to be who they appear, from Wendell’s mistaken identity to the Elders who play their cards close to their chests, right through to Dax- who may not be as bad as first impressions would have you believe.
The slow release of information in Prelude to a Hero has been expertly handled, and it reads as short, sharp, and witty. The landscapes imagined come alive- jumping off the page and into my mind they were truly stunning. In particular there are some gripping and fantastical scenes which I enjoyed all the more for it being such a short book. The depiction of Kyliene’s death was dripping with emotion, and it’s here that Wendell suffers something so traumatic that you cannot help but be choked-up when you read it.
Prelude to a Hero is well worth the read. The unpopular geek is getting his chance to be someone special. If this is the prelude I can only imagine the fantastic adventures that await Wendell, and I wouldn’t miss them for all the galaxies!
© Gemma Feltham 31st August 2013