Shakespeare Week diary writing competition - the results!

Announcing the winners of the Shakespeare Week diary writing competition

We asked children to create a diary or journal as though they were a member of Shakespeare’s family and enter it into our Shakespeare Week 2024 competition.

02 Jul 2024

We would like to thank all the children and schools that entered the competition – we loved reading and looking at your work and we are delighted that you chose to support the Shakespeare Week competition.

In a special child-friendly online exhibition ‘Shakespeare’s family in nine objects’, children learned about members of Shakespeare’s family by exploring an object that was in some way linked to the family member. As well as discovering some rare objects from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust’s collection, the exhibition contained fact files, diary writing resources and interactive resources such as fictional videos of Mary Arden and Anne Hathaway that were filmed at the Shakespeare family homes. Children were then encouraged to use this research and these resources to put together fictional diaries of their chosen member of Shakespeare’s family.

Over a hundred children sent us their responses and it was a very difficult task to select the winners of the competition. Head judge and Shakespeare Week Patron, Marcia Williams who is a beloved children’s author and illustrator was very impressed with the children’s responses and said, “Although the subject matter and choice of character varied, I thought that all these dairies felt as though they had been written by the chosen character. I think the emotional content was exceptional and the use of Elizabethan words fun and often humorous!”

After much deliberation the winners were chosen and we would like to congratulate the following schools and children:

School winner: LEH Junior School, Hampton, London

Highly Commended schools:

Pennyhill Primary School, West Midlands

Riverston School, Lee, London

Normanhurst School, Essex

Individual winner:

Jemima, age 10

Runners up:

Stephanie, age 11

Zizi, age 10

Zelene, age 10

Highly commended children:

Angela, age 10

Camille, age 10

Emily, age 10

Grace, age 10

Kuzey, age 10

Nina, age 10

Daaniya, age 10

Lujayn, age 10

Manjot, age 10

Zoya, age 10

It’s clear that the children learned a lot by taking part in this competition and we have had some lovely insights into the way they interacted with our theme. Here are ten-year-old Jemima’s thoughts on the diary she wrote from Judith’s perspective:

“I noticed that Judith and Hamnet’s birthdays were the same, so they were twins. Then, I realized that Hamnet had died at the age of only eleven years. I started to imagine what it must have been like for his sister to have been so close to him and then suddenly never seeing him again.

When it comes to writing, ideas come to me in bursts. So, at the start of the task, I was struggling to find something interesting to write about. As I was getting into bed that evening, I suddenly had an idea, which I wrote down in a notebook next to my bed. Once I got to school, I was bursting with excitement to write. I was holding back tears at the end as it was so emotional. It reminded me of my older siblings leaving home and of how much I miss them.”

Please visit the online exhibition and see some the children’s entries. The winner and runners up have recorded themselves speaking their diaries in character. They will make you laugh and cry in equal measure!