Seriously Awkward

The Children's Society
The Children's Society
Have your say

Are you 16 or 17 or do you have memories of life at this often challenging age?

If so, you may be interested in entering a creative writing competition being run by The Children’s Society as part of our charity’s Seriously Awkward campaign.

The campaign aims to improve life for vulnerable 16- and 17-year-olds by securing more sustained help for them as they move into adulthood with issues like mental health, housing and access to employment.

For the competition, run in partnership with Viking, an imprint of Penguin Random House, we are looking for fictional stories by unpublished writers of up to 2,000 words about this awkward age, with categories for both young people aged 16-25 and adults aged 26 and over.

Whether you are an aspiring writer or have never before written, why not think about what life can be like for 16 -and 17-year-olds and craft your own story?

The prospect of adulthood and greater independence can be both exciting and terrifying.

For the most vulnerable young people this emotional rollercoaster can come with significant risks including child sexual exploitation, domestic abuse, substance misuse and mental health problems.

Writing experts, including international best-selling author Emma Healey, who has just published her second novel, Whistle in the Dark, will judge the competition, and the winners will be offered expert advice and feedback by top literary agencies Darley Anderson and David Higham Associates.

Your story can highlight the ups and downs of this age, be in any fiction genre and be written from any perspective.

If you’re feeling inspired, please visit to find out more and enter by August 31, 2018. Good luck!

Matthew Reed

Chief Executive, The Children’s Society

Too boring for telly

If I am in and the tellybox is on and Jezza Kyle comes on, it gets turned off though maybe I am in the wrong.

He’s obviously doing the business, because if the ratings were rubbish he wouldn’t be gracing the TV week after week.

I cannot understand why anyone would want to go on national TV and tell people you don’t know who the father to your baby is.

Why would you do that? Some things should be kept private.

Then again if I had a dysfunctional life, going on telly might seem like a good idea.

Nah, I will stick with my life as it is.

No-one needs to see me airing my dirty linen in public, it’s way to boring.

Jayne Grayson

Sheffield, S35

The Blades amaze me

Sheffield United amaze me. They sell their best player and then have the audacity to say they are doubling their efforts to sign a player to replace the one they have just sold.

Although not in the same league as Brooks, it seems money talks at Bramall Lane and supporters come second.

What next, the whole complex up for student flats?

EB Warris

Sheffield, S14

Agree to disagree

Stephen Crowther and myself should certainly be able to agree upon something.

We both detest tennis and with our current match score at “deuce” we can agree to disagree with our perceived views on freedom of speech and I thank him for having a measure of agreement with my views.

Via the Star Your Say pages I have enjoyed jousting with Stephen, using written words not lances for “weapons.”

To me this is what a readers letters page should be all about, hopefully constructive legitimate views and opinions being expressed through a local newspaper in a friendly manner.

The Star should be complimented for the wide variety of letters which they publish at their discretion.

In also withdrawing from the tennis court, I cannot resist the temptation to lob some final comments over the net to Stephen.

I am opposed to the right to freedom of speech being denied to people, by them feeling unable to express their views without being hauled before the courts for doing so.

Provided that those persons are not asking other people to share their views but merely expressing a personal opinion, as in the case of the correspondent with his views on the criteria for being Sheffield’s Lord Mayor, they should be allowed to do so.

I must confess you have puzzled me, Stephen, with your final constructive suggestion for expressing myself in a clearer manner when you use the words “not a given etc”.

Are you suggesting that I am not opposed to the contentious views expressed by the original correspondent?

I have made it clear throughout my correspondence that I totally disagree with his views, but support his right to express them as a personal opinion.

To compare his thoughts on the colour of a persons skin being considered as suitable for becoming our Lord Mayor is hardly the same as shouting “fire” in a crowded cinema and resulting in a dangerous stampede for the exit.

Cyril Olsen

Busk Meadow, Sheffield, S5

Thanks to Meadows staff

On behalf of fellow residents at the Meadows. Staff and residents are currently fundraising to purchase a defibrillator.

We are all getting on in years and attended an afternoon tea and cakes event today, with a vocalist entertainer Barry Dennis, raffle and bingo to follow.

This event was organised by the Meadows staff Tricia, Jacqui, Ann, Tracey and Carol. They collected/purchased the raffle prizes, engaged the entertainer, and we all enjoyed a lovely sit down tea catered for with the help of Peter in our bistro, and served by them with the help of Lynn, our local Tesco Community Champion.

Barry entertained us with a wide selection of songs to our liking and Tricia, Jacqui and Ann encouraged the younger more agile members of the audience to join them in dancing in the aisles to rock and roll music and song from our talented entertainer. All of this entertainment would not have been possible without the voluntary help and organisation from our friendly Meadows staff and we wish to thank them for their kindness.

Jessie Parker (96 years young)

Busk Meadow, Sheffield, S5