Writing Competition Winner (Under 14)

We are delighted to announce that the winner of Wealden Literary Festival 2018 Writing Competition (under 14 category) is Emil Conway, aged 10, for his heartbreakingly beautiful story The Rainforest Teardrops. The theme for the competition was: The World At My Doorstep.

Many thanks for all the wonderful entries received this year!


The Rainforest Teardrops by Emil Conway (age 10)


‘I had a life once…tell me that story Daddy, the one about the apeman.

‘I looked up with my big, beady, dark eyes..that one Daddy..please…’ begged the youngster clinging to his Dad.

‘OK fine, I’ll try. It’s a hard one to tell,’ said his Dad smiling secretly pleased at retelling his tale. ‘ One day I was strolling about the rainforest with my fellow friends, then we heard an ear piercing sound.

‘I looked around,’ he said holding his arm out in front of us, displaying a big, long, pink scar that lay embedded deep in his muscle.

‘Look at this Libia. Can you see this? This is strength,’ her Dad said bravely.

Just at that moment we heard a shot ring out triggering what seemed like crying raindrops from the trees falling on my head. A tree thundered striking the ground.

I clutched my Dad’s arm. Our troupe had their heads up in alert and suspicion.

‘It’s the oil men, shrieked my Dad, looking sharply over my shoulder.

‘It’s the oil men, my Dad repeated terrified. ‘Stay down,’ he cried.

‘ A little one only four years old begged him not to leave them,’ my Dad said his eyes sad as he remembered.

The youngster, captivated by her Dad’s story, takes a sharp leaf and with a determined look in her eyes, cuts her arm hoping to show her Dad she believes in him.

A tear falls.

‘ I have strength,’ she said.

Her Dad rolled his eyes. ‘You’re brave Libia,’ he said pausing and then chuckled.

Nearby crashing and shrieking sounds of trees echoed around the forest. They raced towards the sound.

‘It’s dangerous,’ said Libia’s Dad. ‘A big risk,’ he said as another teardrop from the trees fell from above.

This one seemed a tear that represented every living being, even rocks and parrots all crying.

In one drop it not only fell on my head, but it fell through my heart.

I knew I must go. We raced with everyone of us side by side. And there we saw it, the palm oil plantations. My orange hair blew in the tops of the trees, my charcoal grey skin touching my little brother’s weak, wet little face.

‘The humans below were our brothers and our family,’ Dad said.

‘But they are destroying not only us, our hearts but also our family trees,’ he said sorrowfully.

A pant hoot call was echoing through each and every tree around the cemetery of the jungle.

We joined in crying and singing to the sun, ‘Lord, save us please.’

On that I awoke to what life really held in store for us Orangutans.