This month, students have been working towards the writing competition for the Booker Foundation Universities Initiative with the University of Sheffield. The winner will receive a copy of each of the six novels shortlisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize.
For inspiration, students have thought about the issues raised in this quote from Karen Joy Fowler: “We have underestimated our fellow animals at every turn, mainly by being unable to see beyond ourselves.”
Their responses were fantastic – read them below!
Kian – Rise of the Unexpected
It was one, normal day for everyone in the city of Mittleton. Birds were tweeting, cheerfully to their morning song. Everyone in the local neighbourhood loved their chirping and musical happiness to the morning. These birds were a rare type, not found anywhere except Mittleton. Nobody knew what they were. Someone wanted to do the worst to find out. The birds’ started to get to the main part of the majestic song. Suddenly, bang. One of the birds yelled out an ear-bleeding pitch. 5 seconds later, silence, followed by 4 other sounds of gunshot, like a firework screeching up and then making a bang. Mittleton wasn’t the same for the next few days. Nobody knew who committed the terrible crime, nobody knew if the city was ever going to be the same again. Nobody knew where the birds were.
A pet shop, stood unattractive in the middle of the row of small businesses. It had a sign, something you wouldn’t normally see on a pet shop window. That sign was, ‘No Pets Allowed’. The sound of dogs barking from the opposite house was gone, like it had been muted. The local park, full of humans, no animals. A news broadcast was playing in the coffee shop. “Millions of people are requested to remove their house-pets as an outbreak of violence from animals has begun today. People are also advised to stay away from animals. Experts are looking at what could have caused this and why,” the reporter explained. Mittleton was quiet, nobody in the streets. The sky was grey, due to the stress on the power generator just outside the town. The hospital was filled of cases involving several animals biting people. Most people were at home, sitting and watching television, scared. You could still have a threat of a little bug sneaking through a tiny hole in your house.
All stayed the same for the next few days until, one day the first sight of birds flying for ages. They landed next to the bakery, but they weren’t asking for bread. They wanted to help people. They couldn’t help people due to the fact that nobody was allowed to go near them. One more day later, the streets were full of animals trying to get into their owner’s houses, but everyone was refusing them in. Nobody dared step a foot outside.
Another news broadcast came in; it was reporting on the animal outbreak again. It said ‘Breaking News on the so-called ‘Animal Outbreak’. Scientists have been looking at the matter for 1 week now and have come up with an answer, no animals turned evil. It was the gunshot sound that sent the animals crazy. They were scared for their owners, so they started biting them. It lasted a couple of days because several other shots of that same gun happened, very far away. It was that moment then, that everyone realised that they should look after their pets, like they look after them. The joy everyone had when they had permission to reopen their doors to greet their pets. It was wonderful for everyone, and Mittleton was back to normal again, but more than normal.