On Tuesday 19th June, Beverley led a creative writing workshop for the winners and their guests, at the Canary Wharf Idea Store. She spoke about her childhood in South Africa, and how the anger she felt at the Apartheid system had inspired her to write. She said that bringing characters to life is exciting, and that creating new stories is like going on a journey: "A pen can take you anywhere!"
The Animal Revolution
I jolted up from my sleep. The stars twinkled above me. Deep rumbling sounds had woken me up. I stuck out my head from the hole and looked up. My fur stood on end, a shiver ran down my spine and a lump came to my throat. It was them…
Early next morning, I raced out of the burrow and went to the vast Oak tree where my friend Owl lived. I had to call his name out several times, as he slept during the day and was active at night. There was a fluttering inside and out came Owl.
“What is the matter?” he asked.
I told him what I had seen that night and how it had woken me up. He quickly told me to inform, everyone in the forest about the enormous, mechanical machines that had come to cut the trees down. It would mean that we would lose our homes.
I ran off as fast as my legs could carry me and reached the pile of massive boulders where Possum lived.
“Hello Fox, what’s wrong?” he asked, as he could see me panting.
I told him about the machines that I had seen. He listened carefully. When I had finished, he told me to rest as he would tell everyone else. He paused, then added that there would be a meeting about this in the evening by the river. He scampered off.
The evening came slowly as I was worried and full of concern. If we lost our homes, all the animals (including me) would have nowhere to live. I made my way down to the riverbank. By this time of day, the beautiful sunset was reflected on the shimmering river. As I took my seat, the worried animals were whispering together – it seemed that they too knew about the news. The leader of the forest (Deer) started the conversation.
“As you have heard, woodcutters with their machines have come to cut down the forest. This will mean that we will have no place to live. But we can’t let them take our forest without putting up a fight.”
The animals cheered. Everything was settled. Tomorrow was the day they would win.
The next day was bright and sunny. As the machines came closer, the animals set to work. They tied a vine between two gargantuan trees. The squirrels all loaded themselves with acorns and nuts. The woodcutters had a terrific shock when suddenly, the machines stopped. Out of nowhere, animals from either side of the machines rocketed out. The birds flew down and rustled their feathers on the windscreen making it impossible for them to see. As they got out to shoo the birds away, the squirrels threw down the nuts and acorns on them. Skunks slid into the machines and let out their horrible, putrid stink. From that day on, no one ever came again to cut down trees in their forest. Once again, peace resumed.