Retired Redbridge teacher wins regional writing competition

PUBLISHED: 13:40 30 October 2018 | UPDATED: 13:40 30 October 2018

Redbridge winner Eithne Cullen. Picture: City of Stories

Redbridge winner Eithne Cullen. Picture: City of Stories

©Jimmy Lee

A retired Redbridge teacher is chuffing delighted after her story Whitechapel Train won a writing competition.

Eithne Cullen, 61, is one of 21 regional winners in the City of Stories writing contest, which is supported by London libraries and led by writing development agency, Spread the Word.

The talented wordsmith, who is a member of Forest Poets and Write Next Door will have her work published in an anthology alongside leading writers Leone Ross, Gary Budden, Olumide Popoola and Meena Kandasamy.

Eithne, who has lived in the borough for more than 20 years said she is delighted to be a winner and she has taken part in lots of workshops at Redbridge Central Library, Ilford.

“The workshops in Redbridge were hosted by my writing group, Write Next Door, so I feel a special connection to the prize,” she said.

“I entered as the competition as I thought last year’s library workshop and anthology were of a very high quality.”

More than 800 people participated in 42 City of Stories workshops in the summer, inspiring 313 competition entries.

The calibre was so high that in addition to the winners, 41 contributions were highly commended.

Ruth Harrison, director of Spread the Word, added: “It’s been fantastic to see how Londoners have responded to City of Stories showing a real appetite to engage with and develop their writing and short stories in local libraries, such as Redbridge Central Library.

“We’re looking forward to London’s readers discovering the breadth and range of the stories from 62 talented writers in the new anthology, and celebrating London’s writers, readers and libraries at events taking place in libraries across the capital in November.”

Now in its second year, City of Stories saw a 50per cent increase in attendance at library-based creative writing workshops.

Out of the 800 who attended, 44pc admitted they had not used their library before, but a staggering 97pc said they would go back.

Caroline Rae, chairwoman of London Libraries, said: “Once again we have been delighted to work in partnership with Spread the Word on City of Stories.

“London’s libraries are cultural hubs, both as incubators for artists and also as venues for residents to discover cultural experiences and City of Stories is the perfect embodiment of this.”

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