Thursday, 9 June 2011


I enjoy listening to Radio 2 when I am in the car. And I have some exciting to share with you today.

Last Friday on my way to work, I was listening to The Chris Evans Breakfast Show. That morning, Chris was broadcasting live from the Hay Festival (of Literature & Arts).

At the beginning of the year, Radio 2 ran a competition asking children under the age of 13 to submit a 500 words essay.

And on Friday, I had the pleasure of listening to the following story, Charlotte Johnson, written by Kerry Maxwell (age 12), and read by the singer Alexandra Burke.

All credits to Kerry Maxwell:

Charlotte Johnson
By Kerry Maxwell, age 12

Charlotte Johnson. That name crosses any persons lips. She is a household name known by everyone.

Charlotte was thirteen when her dream came true.

Dramatic and creative was Charlotte in her early life. She had always known her name was to be known across the world, her voice recognised anywhere. Singing and acting and dancing meant everything to her and now her chance had finally come!

Thanks to the local talent show, she could almost taste sweet victory upon her lips.

Nervously waiting in the wings, Charlotte gripped her monologue and song sheet. She felt so tense and nervous. Sweat was pouring from her forehead, the palms of her hands like a tropical jungle damp and warm. But how long was she meant to feel like this? She was the last act to perform!

With six acts ahead of her, she decided to walk outside for some fresh air. As she slipped out of the dark wooden door, her legs trembled.

Immediately, Charlotte felt the cool breeze of the evening hit her. The moonlit velvet blanket above her seemed to be hiding something, like a secret. Tiny little diamonds dotted the sky in odd places. They looked like little pairs of eyes, slyly staring at her. The darkness of the night felt private to Charlotte, and strangely, she liked it. Comparing it to the heated, busy community centre, the stillness of the night was so much more peaceful, so much more relaxing, so much more quiet. She walked down the gravel pathway. And walked. And walked. Her soft, satin ballet shoes tentatively touched the ground. She felt as if she was flying, a delicate little fairy fluttering far away. Amidst her final dance practice beams of yellow light caused her to squint. Her pale skin shone in the light, her dark hair seemed to glow. Then, it went out.

The gentle shine of the bare moon reflected the colour of the car. A silver convertible. Slick, smooth and special was this car. Then, a voice rose up from the car into the sky a deep American accent Hello there, I'm Blake Wethersfield from Starry Eyed. It's a talent agency. I'm on my way to Ribby Talent Show or I am supposed to be. I'm lost. And I'm hoping you can tell me the way seeing as you're taking part!

Erm how did you know? came the strong, clear voice of Charlotte.

Name tag he pointed. So where do I go? Hop in! Blake smiled.

Charlotte grinned. She opened the door and drove off.

That night, at nine thirty, the whole of England knew Charlotte Johnson. By that time the next morning, so did the whole world.

Although Charlotte was not a dancer, or a singer, or a movie star, she had her own television programme.

It was called:

Charlotte Johnson: The Girl who never came Home.
I was moved by how well the story was written by a 12 year old. Unfortunately Kerry did not win in her category (10 to 12 year olds) but was runner up in the competition.

Still, I was very impressed by Kerry’s writing. I somewhat previously had the "privilege" of reading some English speaking country college students' essays / assignments and was appalled at how poor those works were, and way below the standard this young girl and others in the competition wrote.

I don't claim to write very well and would definitely take inspiration from these young children to improve on my writing.

Other winning essays are available from the Radio 2 500 words website.


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