The Winning Entry To 'His Dark Materials' Competition

Thank you to everyone for entering the competition; the librarians thoroughly enjoyed reading the accounts of what our students thought the character Lyra would do if faced with a pandemic as we are now.

The standard of writing was incredible and it was a tough decision choosing a winner. With the help of Ms. Fieldsend, our Head of English, Tvishi in year 8 came out on top with her excellent narrative, imaginative ideas as well as the pace and energy of her piece of writing. Congratulations Tvishi!

Here is Tvishi’s entry, which she starts at the beginning of Philip Pullman’s novel, The Subtle Knife:

I stepped out of the sky, my eyes adjusting to the lighting as I picked up what was left of my belongings. “Pan?” I called: silence. My heart skipped a beat. Where was my dæmon? “PAN!” I shouted. A minute passed. Then I heard something squeaking.

A wave of relief washed over me as Pan appeared from under a nearby bush. He jumped on to my neck and curled up; he was a mouse now. Only then, was I able to properly take in the view; it was a breathtaking one. From where I stood I could see a picturesque town hidden in the valley below.

As I approached closer to the town I realised it was almost empty. The people were either hiding in their houses or not there at all. The town was called Cittàgazze. I spotted a person. “Hello!” I called, stepping away. He replied “HEY, STAY AWAY, SOCIAL DISTANCE.” “Sorry, what?” I asked. “Social distancing,” he replied, ”is staying two metres away from each other to stop the spread of the virus.” As I glanced round I saw more people emerging from the shadows, all wearing face coverings. “What are the masks for?” I asked anyone who would listen. A nearby police woman replied, “For stopping the spread of coronavirus, gosh! Don’t you know anything! It is like you just came from a different world.”

Little did she know.

I passed many people during my wander around the town. There were many more people who had come out on their balconies, confined in their four walls of their houses. Most people came out weeping, probably mourning the deaths of family and friends who had been killed from this new virus. And then, I realised what a devastation this town had faced.

I turned round to find a parade of thirty huge army trucks making their way down the street. The band started to play a solemn tune like you would play at a funeral. Pan whispered to me “What are they carrying?” I was unsure, scared and grief struck by the silence. It was only when the last of them passed us that we could see mounds of what seemed to be coffins piled in the back. “Dead Bodies!!” I replied. Glancing around at distance, I could see people who were sad, miserable and mourning the loss of someone very dear to them.

Pan and I turned into a nearby alley, leaving the people mourning in peace. Pan muttered, “We have to help them somehow, even if they don't know us!” “Yes, I know but how?” Then, I noticed the poster.

It was an A5 sized poster and it looked a little worn but the message on it was loud enough. It read ‘Help-stop the COVID-19 pandemic’. “That is what it must be, the devastating virus, COVID-19,” said Pan. “Look at what it says here, Pan.” ‘We need YOUR help, register now to help find a cure, and help stop families losing their loved ones.’ The pain of separation of family came flooding back - if I couldn't stop my family being torn apart, at least helping others would give me some comfort. After all, could it be that hard?

Little did I know.