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Tabitha Rubens (2013-2020) wins BBC Young Writers’ Award 2021

Poster announcing CLSG's Tabitha Rubens as the winner of the BBC Young Writers Award

Speaking to the BBC, Tabitha said:

'I wrote ‘Super-Powder’ in April, after the winter lockdown. Mental health in the UK, particularly amongst young people, has been steadily worsening for some time. During the pandemic, when there were few ways for those struggling to seek help, the situation was only exacerbated, with devastating effects for self-esteem and well-being. Seeing how this affected my friends and family, I wanted to write a story that emphasised the baselessness of most insecurities. Many people make a lot of money from exploiting these insecurities and promoting unrealistic and constantly changing ideals. I also wanted to play around with the structure of the story to underpin the theme. The words move around on the page so that the reader has to shift their gaze to follow them. I wanted to try not only to make the story more engaging to read, but also to mirror the way your attention is manipulated on social media platforms, including by targeted adverts.'

This is not Tabitha's first literary success, having been shortlisted for the award in 2018 and winning the HG Wells International Short Story Competition in 2020.

Arlo Parks, Mercury Prize winner and YWA 2021 judge, commended Tabitha's story for its 'its spirit of adventure' as well as its 'absolutely original' writer's voice. Chair of Judges for the award, BBC Radio 1 presenter Katie Thistleton, commented that she looked forward to reading more 'from this exciting new talent'.

Visit the BBC website to read more and to listen to a recording of Tabitha's story, read by Rebekah Murrell.



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