Sixth Form

22 September 2023

Introducing our St Helen’s Laureate 2023-24

After a fantastic inaugural year of poetry and creative literary pieces from our first-ever St Helen’s Laureate, it’s time to introduce a new Sixth Form student into the role.

The post-holder will be commissioned to write pieces throughout the school year to mark key moments of importance, as well as for national and global events. The Laureate position is awarded to the winner of the Senior Creative Writing Cup; we are therefore delighted to announce that the St Helen’s Laureate 2023-24 is Hester.

Hester was introduced as our second Laureate during whole-school assembly in Michaelmas term. Reflecting on her new role within the School, she said: ‘I am extremely excited to be the new St Helens’ Laureate. It means a huge amount to me to have this opportunity, since I am very passionate about creative writing and literature and sharing these with others.

‘I take inspiration from many writers, but at the moment, specifically Molly Keane, Sylvia Plath and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. My first commission as Laureate was to write a piece about “new beginnings”, in which I aimed to capture the gentle changes in our daily landscapes which parallel the new school year, and the bright and fresh excitement that these can bring.

‘This week, I am launching a creative writing competition open to all year groups, in which entrants are asked to write a piece similarly on the theme of “new beginnings”. I’m very keen to encourage students to get involved in the writing opportunities, such as this one, that we’ll be running this year.’

Read Hester’s piece, New Beginnings, below:


New Beginnings

She wanders over to the wisteria on the outside of the house, where one tendril tests the morning air, growing outwards away from the wall, as if it has somewhere to be. She shivers with the plant in the breeze. Yawning, her inhale is quick and refreshing, as if it were a glass of water on a hot day. Cobwebs are suspended on the heather like clouds. The sunlight glints off them, and she is reminded of stepping off a plane into the bright, enveloping sunlight of a warm country. The sky is fiercely blue: the day will be good, it insists.

The early morning mist is dissipating slowly as the school bus lumbers along the country roads, expelling a great sigh of relief as the door opens at each stop. The conversation on the bus is easy, friendly. It’s an antidote to the heat that’s just rising over the freshly harvested fields and content haybales, which rest gently on the curve of the land.

Walking off the bus and along the path, she looks down. The sunlight off the flagstones isn’t glaring, it’s blazing. It’s bright and it’s fresh and it’s new.

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