The winning entries
THE BRONTË SOCIETY CREATIVE COMPETITION
The most recent Bronte Society Creative Competition was held in 2014. There were nearly 200 entries, many of very high quality. The short stories and poems were short-listed by the Publications Committee; the final stories and poems were forwarded to Dame Margaret Drabble and Simon Armitage, respectively, for their final decision. The illustration entries were judged by the artist, Victoria Brookland, with the help of Louisa Briggs (Arts Officer, Maternity Cover).
Click down to see the winners.
The Short Story Section
First prize: Dr Tracy Rosenberg for her story May the bell be rung for Harriet
Second prize: Dr Miles Burrows for his story The Voyage Back
Third prize: Justine Ashford for her story The Voyage Home
High commended: Pamela Lake for her story Eliza’s Journal
High commended: Anne Powell for her story Blanche Ingram
If you wish to read the entries please download them from the Downloads button to the left of the screen.
The Poetry Section
First prize: Diane Pacitti for her poem A Dirty Black-haired Child
Second prize: Louise Holmes for her poem Oh, Mr Rochester
Third prize: Emily Powell for her poem Wuthering Heights
High commended: Rosemary Appleton for her poem In which the poet plans her own funeral
Highly commended: Dr Sally Minongue for her poem The Burial
If you wish to read the entries please download them from the Downloads panel at the right of the screen
The Illustration Section
The text which influenced the artists have been included.
First Prize: Nicki McNaney — for her illustration of Jane Eyre’s arrival at Thornfield Hall, Jane Eyre, Chapter Eleven
'The chamber looked such a bright little place to me as the sun shone in between the gay blue chintz window curtains, showing papered walls and a carpeted floor, so unlike the bare planks and stained plaster of Lowood, that my spirits rose at the view. Externals have a great effect on the young: I thought that a fairer era of life was beginning for me, one that was to have its flowers and pleasures, as well as its thorns and toils. My faculties, roused by the change of scene, the new field offered to hope, seemed all astir. I cannot precisely define what they expected, but it was something pleasant: not perhaps that day or that month, but at an indefinite future period.
I rose; I dressed myself with care: obliged to be plain--for I had no article of attire that was not made with extreme simplicity--I was still by nature solicitous to be neat. It was not my habit to be disregardful of appearance or careless of the impression I made: on the contrary, I ever wished to look as well as I could, and to please as much as my want of beauty would permit. I sometimes regretted that I was not handsomer; I sometimes wished to have rosy cheeks, a straight nose, and small cherry mouth; I desired to be tall, stately, and finely developed in figure; I felt it a misfortune that I was so little, so pale, and had features so irregular and so marked. And why had I these aspirations and these regrets? It would be difficult to say: I could not then distinctly say it to myself; yet I had a reason, and a logical, natural reason too. However, when I had brushed my hair very smooth, and put on my black frock--which, Quakerlike as it was, at least had the merit of fitting to a nicety--and adjusted my clean white tucker, I thought I should do respectably enough to appear before Mrs. Fairfax, and that my new pupil would not at least recoil from me with antipathy. Having opened my chamber window, and seen that I left all things straight and neat on the toilet table, I ventured forth.
Traversing the long and matted gallery, I descended the slippery steps of oak; then I gained the hall: I halted there a minute; I looked at some pictures on the walls (one, I remember, represented a grim man in a cuirass, and one a lady with powdered hair and a pearl necklace), at a bronze lamp pendent from the ceiling, at a great clock whose case was of oak curiously carved, and ebon black with time and rubbing. Everything appeared very stately and imposing to me; but then I was so little accustomed to grandeur. The hall-door, which was half of glass, stood open; I stepped over the threshold. It was a fine autumn morning; the early sun shone serenely on embrowned groves and still green fields; advancing on to the lawn, I looked up and surveyed the front of the mansion. It was three storeys high, of proportions not vast, though considerable: a gentleman's manor-house, not a nobleman's seat: battlements round the top gave it a picturesque look. Its grey front stood out well from the background of a rookery, whose cawing tenants were now on the wing: they flew over the lawn and grounds to alight in a great meadow, from which these were separated by a sunk fence, and where an array of mighty old thorn trees, strong, knotty, and broad as oaks, at once explained the etymology of the mansion's designation. Farther off were hills: not so lofty as those round Lowood, nor so craggy, nor so like barriers of separation from the living world; but yet quiet and lonely hills enough, and seeming to embrace Thornfield with a seclusion I had not expected to find existent so near the stirring locality of Millcote. A little hamlet, whose roofs were blent with trees, straggled up the side of one of these hills; the church of the district stood nearer Thornfield: its old tower-top looked over a knoll between the house and gates'.
Second prize: Barbara Webb — for her illustration of a scene from The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Chapter 7
'...for the last fall of snow was only just wasted away, leaving yet a thin ridge, here and there, lingering on the fresh green grass beneath the hedges..'
Third Prize: Andrew Hambleton — for his illustration of a scene from Wuthering Heights, Chapter 20
'‘Is Wuthering Heights as pleasant a place as Thrushcross Grange?’ he inquired, turning to take a last glance into the valley, whence a light mist mounted and formed a fleecy cloud on the skirts of the blue.
‘It is not so buried in trees,’ I replied, ‘and it is not quite so large, but you can see the country beautifully all round; and the air is healthier for you—fresher and drier. You will, perhaps, think the building old and dark at first; though it is a respectable house: the next best in the neighbourhood. And you will have such nice rambles on the moors. Hareton Earnshaw—that is, Miss Cathy’s other cousin, and so yours in a manner—will show you all the sweetest spots; and you can bring a book in fine weather, and make a green hollow your study; and, now and then, your uncle may join you in a walk: he does, frequently, walk out on the hills.’