‘The Door in the Cellar’ winners announced

Published by Alexis Thompson on

Today OFA and MCS Partnerships announce the five young writers who have triumphed in this year’s short story competition for 7 to 11-year olds.


Since its launch in 2009 the Festival has been running a creative writing element as part of their learning and engagement work with the MCS Partnerships team. This year it took the form of a 250-word short story competition. The theme ‘The Door in the Cellar’ was set by award-winning children’s author Ross MacKenzie who had been the guest for an online author event in May, attended by 500 children from across Oxfordshire. The title clearly captured the children’s imagination as over 100 entries were submitted.

The awards go to:
Benjamin C, aged 10 from St Barnabus CE Primary School, Joint Winner
Tomisona C, aged 9 from Magdalen College School, Joint Winner
Connie, aged 11 from Wheatley Primary School, Runner Up
Arthur S, aged 11 from Wolvercote Primary School, Runner Up
Antony V, aged 9 from St Piran’s, Maidenhead, Runner Up

Oxford Festival of the Arts Director Dr Michelle Castelletti said “Our imagination is one of our most beautiful gifts. It has been wonderful to see the creativity of children shine in so many colourful, inventive ways through their writing. The festival is totally committed to help foster the creative spirit in children; and to education and enrichment. Those are the marvels that are never taken away from us; and make us a thousand-fold richer every day.”


The winners receive a set of Ross MacKenzie’s back catalogue and a set for their school library. Runners up receive ‘Evernight’ and ‘Feast of the Evernight’. All stories will be published on the OFA website.


MCS Partnerships Co-ordinator Mrs Michelle McDonough added “The judges enjoyed reading the short stories which responded sensitively to this year’s theme. The quality of writing was impressive, with the winning entries displaying careful planning to control the development of the stories, which were then supported by strong description and interesting characterisation. Despite the limitation of writing a narrative in only 250 words, the judges commented on the ambitious range of vocabulary and vivid imagery regularly used by the children in their creative endeavours.”

Read the stories:

Congratulations to our winners and to all the budding young writers who took part.