Matthew Drzymala Matthew Drzymala



awards evening, comedy books, bumpkinton, author workshop

I’ve never taken part in an Awards Evening before. 

Surely not, how can this be!?” I hear you protest. Technically, I have, I won an Adult Learner Award in 2014, but that was in the afternoon, and not an evening, so that’s more of a white lie and I stand by that.


Loreto College Awards Evening

Some time ago Robert Simpson at Loreto College contacted me to ask if I would like to be a judge at their inaugural Short Story & Poetry Competition.

Well, it was never going to be a no, was it?

I love writing stories, and the chance to read what the writers of the future have to offer was something I couldn’t pass up, and my word, I am so glad I agreed.

The standard of writing in both the Prose and Poetry categories was exceptional. I was chosen to judge the Short Story section, while a tutor at the College, Mark, was picked to judge the Poetry.

The stories were of a high standard, but the Poetry was so good that you could have mulled over it for months and come up with a different Top 3 every single day.

As well as Judging, I was also asked to:

  • Do an introduction about myself, and
  • Read an extract from my book

I’ve read a lot from The Bumpkinton Tales: Volume One, at my author workshops, so I decided to read an exclusive excerpt from The Fantastical Gregory Shortbread. It raised laughs in all the right places, which I was thankful for before we got down to the nitty-gritty.

Judging The  Awards Evening – Short Stories

The evening was attended by all the finalists, including their parents as well students from the local High School, St Damion’s. It was a pleasure to read out the winners and to witness their reactions when they came down to collect their certificates. Although the names may not mean much to the casual reader, I wanted to champion the students here.

Ahmad Mubarak came third with a fantastic three-part story which seemed like three separate stories but ended with an expertly crafted ending that tied them all together. Truly magnificent.

In second was Aiesha Allison-Bramwell with a story called Trams. A unique tale that twisted and turned, and left me with questions come the end, questions I still don’t have the answers for, which makes it all the better.

And the winner?

Deon Nash, with a story that was out of this world, literally, with it being set in outer-space. His story ‘Imprisoned in the Heavens‘ concealed information, causing suspense throughout and still left you with unanswered questions. It was written exceptionally and was exactly the kind of story I talk about when I visit Schools and Colleges with my author workshop.

All three were amazing, but Deon’s was something else. Well done, Deon!

Judging The Awards Evening – Poetry

I’m glad I wasn’t in charge of finalising the winners of the poetry competition because it was unbelievably hard. However, after much deliberation between myself and co-Judge, Mark, we whittled it down, and he picked his top three, which were:

Aleksandra Kozlowska, whose poem Stairs Stare was spellbinding, and Aleksandra also read out her piece at the end, without referring to the paper. Amazing to behold and showing a maturity far beyond her years.

Second place went to Heba Khalid with a poignant poem about prejudice called ‘Bombs Sound Like Fireworks. It was magnificent and really struck a chord. This was my own personal favourite.

But the winner, and very much deserved, was Bria Purdy, with her poem, ‘Dear Mr. President,’ another political poem, but with expressive and emotive language that really pulled you in.

A Thank You To Loreto

I feel honoured to have been part of the Awards Evening and want to thank every member of staff for making me feel so welcome.

The college treated me like a V.I.P, making me feel like a star, instead of being just little ol’ me.

I hope all the students keep on writing, whether they won on the night or not because the talent in that room shows that creative writing has a bright future.

Want to find out more about the evening?

Read a review of the Awards Evening on the Loreto College Website