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Years 5 and 6



Xander Cleak

An Old Galápagos Tortoise’s Thoughts

Tristan Warnock

Dolphin Encounter



Daisy Cuthbert

Shelly – A Turtle's Shell



Charlie Aldridge-Bate

The Fig Tree

Adam Amrani

Survival Beyond Belief

 Sophien Amrani

Life is Different in the Murky Depths of the Sea

Thomas Cumming 


Jack Forshew

The Cheetah

Tristan Hartwell

The Little African Elephant Calf

Teddy Jenkins

 It’s a Rat’s Life

Emma McCarthy


Vivek Nair 

The Lethal Royal Bengal Tiger

Judge’s comments: Children’s Writer,Kate Tenbeth

I read all of the shortlisted stories four times and can honestly say that I love each and every one of them – choosing just two was incredibly difficult.

I was very impressed by the standard of writing and the level of knowledge that each child showed about the animal they had chosen to write a story about. They should all be very proud of their work.

Kate's comments on her winning stories:


WINNER: Dolphin Encounter

Thisis an adventurous and exciting story of a child who falls over the side of a boat into the sea and is rescued by a dolphin. Tristan’s writing is very descriptive, e.g. “The sun shone like a pale golden coin suspended in the sky and the sea was a deep inky blue”, and, “I opened my eyes and the salt water stung them like lemon juice.” His love and knowledge of marine life is obvious and he shows understanding that wild creatures belong in the wild. The story is well constructed, i.e. it has a solid introduction which leads to an exciting adventure and then progresses to a well thought out ending.

JOINT WINNER An Old Galápagos Tortoise's Thoughts 

I fell in love with the character of Boris, the cranky old tortoise from the Galapagos Islands. Boris reflects on the way the relationship between tortoise and human has changed over the years. It’s story that is observant and humorous but it’s also very poignant because although Boris is pragmatic and tolerates humans he would like, “the world back to the stories my grandparents told me, when there were so many of us and nothing to hurt us.” Xander has obviously researched the history of the Galapagos Islands and tortoises and has an understanding of the impact that humans can have, both good and bad, on wildlife.

SECOND PLACE Shelly – A Turtle's Shell 

Shelly is a tenacious (and very hungry!) turtle who goes on a journey that is packed with adventure, she’s captured by fishermen, gets into a fight with a crab. Daisy knows a lot about turtles, how they hunt for food and why they go on difficult and dangerous journeys, and she has managed to convey a lot of information in a fun way – you have to keep reading to find out what happens to Shelly! 


Years 7 and 8


WINNER 1st Place


Maia Freeman

Howl to Save a Life


 Vienna Cooper

Saving Atiya




Alex Cumming

A Monkey’s Tale




Henry Gadsdon



Honey Hilton

The Creature and the Foal

Tayin Lakhani

 A Mud Bath

Manas Madan

The Elusive Panthera uncia

Ryan Ratnam



Thomas Rochussen

The Story of a Real Hunter

Lakshman Samarakoon

An Elephant’s Journey


Wynn Thomas

The Leopard


Judge’s comments: Writer,Sally Spedding

I found the standard of writing amazing for 11—13 year-olds and had to re-readseveral times to decide on the winners. A really hard job! But so enjoyable!

Sally's comments on her winning stories: 


WINNER Howl to Save a Life

Great opening and drama a-plenty. The young wolf made a change from those more familiar animals. Pathos too, and a strong narrative drive.



A terrific story of a young cow elephant, including that of Mike, the ranger. I was there every step of the way. Visual and moving.



I liked the first person point of view, and the drama swept me along to a great ending. Again, a more unusual animal was featured. 



Years 9—11


WINNER 1st Place


Marisa Orton

Wriggling away from Wombattiness


 2nd PLACE


 Emily Wootton

The Tigress




Bethany Dale

Snow Baby


Keira Layton

The Hunt


Dominik Reynolds

Goshawk – Life in the trees

Judge’s comments: TV Presenter and Writer,Michaela Strachan

I was absolutely bowled over by the standard of writing in this category. All five finalists wrote compelling, original and quite brilliant short stories. I was hugely impressed with the standard, which made my job of choosing a winner pretty tricky! It was a close call between 1st and 2nd place!

Michaela's comments on her winning stories:


Wriggling away from Wombattiness

I went for this in the end because it was so quirky and original. It's a great animal to choose, one that most people have never heard of, and I loved it immediately from its wacky title to its poignant end. It starts off with a wonderful description of the undergrowth which I could smell in my imagination as I read it! I love the term the 'twolegs' and the quirkiness of the 'Congress of purebred wolves'. The writer shows enormous promise of being quite a brilliant future novelist with a subject that certainly is not obvious, taking us on an unexpected journey. I love the 'celebration of privacy'. I, too, think that sometimes, in the quest to know everything about every wild animal, we ruin it for the few mysteries that are left. The story goes very quirky in the middle and I enjoyed the absurdity of it and loved the confusion of the wombat on the ledge. Well done for coming up with something so original and unique.


The Tigress

This is an incredible and quite beautiful, but sad story of the last tigress left. A huntress, survivor, a fighter. The descriptions of her are stunning and beautifully written. I loved the occasional rhyme in story 'ebony paws and ivory claws', 'the slash of claw the clamp or jaw',' of still days and harsh nights, of tiny cubs and large appetites'. I loved some of the phrases 'worriedly, warily, wearily'. This is an exquisitely written tragic tale. An incredibly moving, poetic and mature short story. I loved it.





 Morgan Joy Ashby

Mother and Baby Giraffe

Giraffe Mother and Baby

Copyright Morgan Joy Ashby aged 13 (just!)




Adam Amrani

Fennec Fox


Sophien Amrani



Morgan Joy Ashby

Dolphins, Tiger, Zebras

Liah Clayton


Mairi Clayton



Thomas Cumming



Tayin Lakhani

Black Panther 

Vivek Nair

Bengal Tiger


Nicole Radtke



Judges’ comments: Artists,Colin and Justin Wyatt


We were impressed with the drawings – the children had clearly taken a lot of time and paid attention to detail to really capture the animals. However, it was an easy decision when it came to the cover. We both whole-heatedly agreed that Morgan’s giraffes would make a wonderful cover! Well done.

Very well done to everyone on the list and who entered! And a HUGE thanks to all the judges!

Wild n Free Forever! Will be released in November. Royalties to Born Free.