The winners of the 2019 Writing Out Of The HD Shadow competition have been presented with their awards at a special ceremony in Edinburgh.
This year’s competition invited young people to submit an original poem in the U-16 category, while over-16s were asked to pen 150 words of ‘flash fiction’.
The winner of the over-16s flash fiction competition is Andrew Phillips from Wales, who writes about his late friend Johnny’s struggle with HD. First runner-up is Sheila Scougall, from Edinburgh, who describes the anxiety, anger and lack of understanding faced by HD families when they do something as simple as going out for a meal together.
The top places in the under-16s category go to three second-year pupils at James Gillespie’s High School in Edinburgh – Georgie Garrett, 13, won first place for her powerful piece entitled No Mercy, in which she details the relentless toll the disease takes on the mind and body, and its effect on family and carers.
Runner-up Kenneth MacIver, 13, explores the impact of Huntington’s disease across the generations in his moving poem, Daddy, while 13-year pupil Christopher Rae, second runner-up, focuses on what it feels like to have HD in his poem, simply called Huntington’s Disease.
Judge Maggie Ritchie, author of Paris Kiss and Looking For Evelyn, said she was moved to tears of sadness and anger when reading the entries. She said:
“I’m proud to support the Writing Out the HD Shadow poetry competition, a creative and innovative way to raise awareness about this devastating disease. It was a pleasure to read the amazing entries – I was blown away by the sophistication and high standard of writing and the powerful and original pieces made for heartrending reading.”
It was a pleasure to read the amazing entries – I was blown away by the sophistication and high standard of writing and the powerful and original pieces made for heartrending reading.”
Sheila, Georgie, Kenneth and Christopher were presented with prizes and certificates by SHA Chief Executive John Eden in front of teachers, classmates, family, friends and other winners at a ceremony held at James Gillespie’s High School earlier this week.
“The competition is now in its third year and with the support of teachers such as those at James Gillespie’s High School it provides young people with a meaningful opportunity to explore the realities of life for people and families affected by Huntington’s disease,” said John.
“By reaching out to through Writing Out Of The HD Shadow, we hope to increase understanding so that families no longer feel isolated in their communities. The response has been fantastic and I’d like to thank everyone who took part, as well as the teachers for their encouragement and support, and Maggie for the professionalism and enthusiasm that she brought to the judging.”
Read the winning entries here