John McGivering Kipling Writing Prize 2022 report
We decided to award joint First Prizes to ‘Hidden Dragon’ and ‘The Eagle and the Wolf’: stories which, though very different in tone and subject, are both engaging, well written, and thoroughly ‘shaped’ as narratives.
First prize (Joint): ‘Hidden Dragon’ by Satterday Shaw
Poignant and complex. Through a wholly believable creation of a child’s voice and perspective—and not just any child but one singled out and excluded by virtue of disability, ‘Hidden Dragon’ tells a tale of childhood bullying and being bullied, while exploring the role of the creative imagination in psychic survival. There was ingenious use of the Dragon/Dragon Rider motif to suggest the rages the child struggles with. Intense and serious, it reminded us of how RK drew on his creativity to survive the House of Desolation
First prize (Joint): ‘The Eagle and the Wolf’ by Steve Wade
This lively, well-told story of two creatures who become unlikely hunting partners engages with RK’s Laws of the Jungle and gives us a fresh take on mutual respect and alliance in the animal kingdom, against a background of human destruction and self-destruction. The powerful writing was backed by research, the well-established physical world giving impressive credibility to the eagle’s point of view. Hints of a backstory were enticing and handled well.
Runner-Up: ‘Little Brother’ by Mary Seymour
Ingenious twist or reversal of ‘Mowgli’s Brothers’, with a well imagined setting in a hunter-gatherer community.
‘Afghan Donkey’ by Rory Kirby, ‘Topaz, the Cat at No.21’ by A. McVeigh, ‘The Cat That Walked’ by Carla King
Winner of children’s entries:
‘Parugan’ by Evelyn C. Carpenter
lively, vivid story about the adventures, trials and tribulations of two king cobra brothers, neatly structured into four chapters and told with energy and brio. We think RK would have enjoyed this story – as, surely, would one of his own literary heroes, Robert Louis Stevenson!
‘Ms Gibbons’ by Abigail Randall, ‘Papaya’ by Benjamin Shpilman