Grace S3 in Martha Mills competition

Last term, Grace (S3) entered the Martha Mills writing competition and was selected as a runner-up amongst the thousands of entries.

You can read her story below which is also appear in the prize pamphlet with the winnings stories.


Never judge a book by its cover they say. A few weeks ago, I was walking through the library – with 20 minutes until my bus – minding my own business with a cloud of stress from schoolwork over my head. Suddenly my attention switched to a stranger, lost in an ocean of thought, with sadness written on their face. Something about them, their aura, drew me close to them.

I found myself, hesitant for a moment, wondering, “should I really go to them?” “Is it really worth it?” my head said no. My heart said yes. I felt so much sympathy for them, it was like I understood what they were going through. Either way, I ended up standing next to them, blowing the dust from their ancient cover, and opening their first warped page. Before I realised, we were having a conversation, she told me her story, Hanna, told me her story.

A refugee, who fled from war, she had lost her all her family. All that she had from home was her childhood diary and pen.

As the conversation went on, we had more in common than we thought; our favourite colour is blue, we love summer, sunsets – and – we both love to read. We hadn’t spoke for long, but it felt like we’d known each other for ages. At this point I had just five precious minutes until my bus. Hurriedly, we said our goodbyes, I wished her well in the future, closed her, popped her back on the shelf and ran to get the bus home.

As I went on with my day, I kept on wondering; how is her life going now? how did she find settling in? It would only take a visit to the library to find out.


Grace, runner up in the 2023 Martha Mills Young Writers’ Competition.