A 16-YEAR-OLD writer from Malton has won first prize in a national writing competition for young people.

Alice Rose Jennings, who is home schooled, won the annual Henrietta Branford Writing Competition for her short story, A Bad Spell.

The Henrietta Branford Writing Competition is an annual competition for young people which aims to find the writers of the future. It runs alongside the prestigious Branford Boase Award; a literary prize presented annually to an outstanding children’s or young-adult novel by a first-time writer.

The writing competition is open to anyone under the age of 19. Entrants must complete a story, between 800 and 1,000 words, begun by the previous year’s Branford Boase winner.

Prue Goodwin, the judge, lecturer in literacy and children’s books, said: “Being given a paragraph starter to a story is not as straightforward as it seems, especially when the judge is looking for something original. Our six winners developed the same opening lines into totally different stories.

“Each writer showed an extra flair for making their ideas into an original piece of work which made me want to know what was going to happen next.

“Alice’s story, A Bad Spell, is clever, exciting and features some wonderful dialogue.”

Alice attended the Branford Boase Award celebration party in London last month and was awarded her prize by Prue Goodwin.

Alice received a copy of each of the seven books shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award and was able to have her books signed by the authors.