Literature in Lockdown - the winners!

On 11 May, the College launched its Literature in Lockdown competition, inviting both current and upcoming students to submit their own pieces of work, inspired by our current situation.

Speaking of the shortlisted entries, English teacher and competition leader, Shirley Jenkins-Pandya, said:I enjoyed each one as they were thought provoking and quite inventive so it would be great if we could award all three. It would be nice to have them displayed in Reception or English corridor as a permanent reminder. It's really nice that they took the trouble to enter; they are poetic thoughts on an extraordinary time!”

We are therefore delighted to be announce the winners as Isabella Haroutounian’s ‘Recovery’, Connie Hubbard’s ‘The Local Pandemic’, and Libby Bryant’s ‘2020’. All three winners will receive an Amazon Echo Dot.

Isabella Haroutounian

Isabella Haroutounian

“I entered the competition as I’ve always had a love of literature since a young age and I thought it was a great opportunity to articulate how I felt about the current times, which I incorporated in my poem. I wrote my poem 'Recovery' after hearing and seeing so many people talking about missing their friends and shops being shut. I couldn't help thinking that maybe the 'world' slowing down would have a positive impact on the earth. I joined The Henley College this year and I fast-tracked Religious studies A Level and the EPQ after having completed two A Levels at a different sixth form. Hopefully in September I will be starting a Psychology degree at Cardiff University.”


You take from me,


You wound me and bleed me dry.

I’m getting too hot,

And my beauty is going,

You complain about coffee shops closing.

Money, money, money!

But what is this I’m showing?

My ice caps are melting,

And my forests are all gone!

Let me rest now.

Stay inside!

For you’ve been living all these years;

Whilst I’ve been slowly dying


Connie Hubbard

Connie Hubbard

“I entered the poetry competition because, in lockdown, it gave me something challenging to do and I wanted to support Shirley's idea as she is such a lovely teacher. I wrote the poem because I knew I had something personal and from the heart about which to write, something I could write with real emotion not just empty words.  The poem was written very shortly after the death of both my grandparents and so is written with frustration and grief, and is perhaps a little harsh, but true to the way I felt.”

The Local Pandemic - For Nan and Grandad

Hurrying slowly towards

the beginning of an end,

we find ourselves lost

in a bewildering sea

of uninformative information:


stay inside but go outside.

You’ll be safe from danger if

you wear PPE we can’t supply.

Normal life continues to stop.

Living’s forbidden so we don’t die.


Stay connected but don’t meet up,

stay positive when you grieve,

stay hopeful but no promises.

Do as we say; it’s up to you!

More deaths but less death.


We couldn’t save them.

Congratulate us!


Libby Bryant

Libby Bryant

“I entered the English Literature competition as it was something more productive to do while in quarantine and it gave me a chance to do something creative that I wouldn’t normally do. I came from Gillotts School to The Henley College, which I chose for my A Levels as it offered subjects that other sixth forms and colleges did not. I am currently studying A Levels in Psychology, Law and English Language. In September I am planning to go to either Cardiff University, or University of Cumbria to study Law.”


Us all encased 

Nocturnal owls and early birds broken

In trying times we support eachother

Teaching love from a distance

Entering a new life of understanding and gratitude 


Tall we stand

Only to be afraid of ourselves 

Getting close causes fear

Everyone fighting for a loaf 

Trying times for key workers

Home is the new school and office

Embracing each day

Remembering detailed lives


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