A blog for anyone with an interest in Polperro, publishing and people... with occasional musings on history and humanity.
Posted on June 29, 2015
Awards are always welcome in literary circles. For publishers, they are an opportunity to showcase their authors and promote book sales; for authors, they are a gratifying acknowledgement of their work, all too often unrecognised.
All the more delightful therefore when the author is a teenager with a passion for writing, as in the case of Charlie Johns, aged 15, who was presented with the Worcestershire Literary Festival’s Young Writer Award this month. Entries had to be no more than 300 words long and based on the theme of ‘The Gift’. Charlie’s story was based on a character he has been developing for his next book: Barry From Basingstoke – a grotesque obese leather-clad motorcyclist.
This is his award-winning story:
Barry’s ears pricked at the shatter of glass. Excitement squirmed in his sizeable belly. His tight leather trousers squeaked in protest as he scooted towards the sound, Doc Marten boots clumping along the tarmac, ploughing through puddles of motorbike diesel.
A figure slowly appeared at the end of the road wearing a grey tracksuit, holding a brick in his left hand. “What?” he snarled at the approaching figure of Barry.
Barry panted, his lungs rasping. The chrome studs on his leather jacket glinted in the glare of a shattered street lamp. “Not bad, mate,” he said, looking around at the youth’s vandalism.
The youth realised who he was talking to… Barry was something of a local celebrity, having made the front page of the Gazette for motorbike theft. The awe-struck lad bowed his head, his grip loosened and the brick dropped to the floor.
“Fanks,” he muttered, wracking his brains for an offering, some token of respect. The eager youth produced a package and held it near Barry’s nose, displaying a small pork pie.
The act of kindness melted Barry’s stony heart. He welled up as he slowly took it and, with trembling hands, brought it to his mouth and ate it whole. A rivulet of grey juice flowed down his chin, smattering onto his leather biker jacket.
Barry felt… happy. He couldn’t tell if it was the boy’s unwarranted kindness or the salty flavour of the pie. As he swallowed a bolus, a warm feeling spread through his tummy. He hadn’t felt this way since his Mum’s toad-in-the-hole in 1994.
“Cheers,” said Barry. The youth thumped his chest twice, and jogged away. Barry surveyed the cul-de-sac, the sun eclipsed by a massive satellite disk. He felt the pork pie settling in his stomach.
“Nice,” he said.