The Workshop Competition: We Have a Winner

Jostled, hassled, bustled. Homebound traveller, southbound chin.

Three weeks ago, we launched a competition to announce the release of Laurent Cantet’s The Workshop. It’s a story about a creative writing workshop that follows the teenage participants as they reflect on and write stories about their simple home town. Taking direct inspiration from the film, we set the UK’s aspiring writers a challenge: submit a 250 word piece of writing about your own home town. That piece of writing could be a fiction or non-fiction, a short story or poem, a script or think-piece, all that mattered was that it was original.

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The submissions ranged from wonderfully imaginative prose to wittily composed poetry, they were written from the heart and the gut, and they were of an extremely impressive standard which made selecting a winner more difficult than we anticipated. But pick a winner we have.

The judges at Curzon and CityLit felt that the winning story had and an energy, rhythm and immediacy that brilliantly evoked the streets on which it is set. It is remarkably immersive for a piece of writing so economical, and it gave an authentic voice to the town it depicts.

Our winner is Toby Norways. Toby has been writing for many years. He is, in fact, a screenwriter and a tutor (of screenwriting), and so it’s safe to say his greatest love is the written word. Toby is the lucky winner of a place on a CityLit writing course of his choice as well as a DVD and cinema ticket bundle.

You can read Toby’s story below, and you can hear Toby reciting his story over on the Curzon Podcast. Follow Toby on Twitter.


by T. S. Norways

‘This Train Terminates Here.’

Jostled, hassled, bustled. Homebound traveller, southbound chin. Escalator, Oyster, ‘Bleep’. Classical music, piped incongruous over the ‘Bleep, Bleep, Bleep,’ of the ticket hall. Scale the stairs. Exit left. Brixton Road. Bustling. Bus queue. Buses. Left at Iceland. Electric Avenue. The world’s population on my doorstep. The world’s produce on my street, sold from under awnings, behind the clash of metal shutters, amongst the clash of cultures.

Papaya, Pineapple, Plantain. Ackee, Ugli, Paw Paw. Eucalyptus, Sandalwood, and Jasmine, wafting on the steam from Curried Goat. Traders debating Lara and Tendulkar in language both local and foreign. Farsi, Cockney, Hindi. Red Pepper, Yellow Pepper, Green Pepper. Rastafari. Red, Gold, and Green. White Pepper, Black Pepper. White Yam, Yellow Yam. Sweet Sop, Sour Sop. Yellow Murder Board. R&B, Hip Hop. Black bin bags and Grime. Ragga beats, non-stop. Drum ‘n’ Bass, Beat, Beat, Beats. A street pulsating to throbbing woofers and barking dogs.

‘Without Jesus, you are without salvation!’ Metallic shutters scream shut in the fading sun, but the fire of the Lord still burns. The word of God sallies forth from Megaphones and Baptist lungs, as disinterested sinners shut up shop. Sidewalks strewn with trampled fruit. The stench of red snapper and red mullet, hosed away by fishmongers swigging Red Stripe. Pavements of wolf whistles and melting ice cubes, where displays of fish, no longer fresh, run in rivulets to the gutter. A Babylonian tide carries me home. To my door. My key. My solitude.

The Workshop

From Laurent Cantet, writer-director of Palme d’Or-winner The Class, and writer Robin Campillo (120 Beats Per Minute) comes The Workshop, a riveting contemporary drama that blends social commentary with a complex study of the modern world.

The Workshop is available to watch now on Curzon Home Cinema