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The Wisdom Writing Competition

Each year, in tandem with the North London Story Festival, Middlesex University runs the Wisdom Writing Competition. The competition is open to MDX students and alumni, and pupils of UK schools. 

It is also supported by our Creative Partners, and our generous sponsor, academic researcher and philanthropist Gabriel Wisdom

The winner of the competition receives a selection of book titles worth no less than £50, online publication on multiple, permission to use the phrase ‘Winner of Middlesex University’s Wisdom Writing Competition 2022’ on CVs, websites and emails, and a mentoring session with a publisher.

The themes for Story Fest 2021-22 (7-11 March 2022) were Inspiration and Community, and so competition entrants were asked to write 500 hundred words concerning ‘communities of the future’ in a creative or critical piece.

We are delighted to announce that the winner of the Wisdom Writing Competition 2021-22 is Zarrin Ahmed, a student on the BA Creative Writing and Journalism!

You can read her entry directly below. The judges were particularly impressed by

•    the dreamlike and poetic quality of the piece
•    the mazing, narrative progression
•    the use of organic metaphor
•    the use of a writing style sympathetic to the notions of multiculturalism and cultural fusion

By Zarrin Ahmed…

A Sense of Belonging

As I make sense of the world around me, I feel the bitter winter cold. Shivering, I hide and muffle my face in my thick jacket. At last the cold lets me think, and then I make my way underneath the crimson arch decorated with golden trails that warp its shape, either side adorned with dragons, mouths agape in a sign of welcome. The scent of freshly battered chicken greets me, and the colours of bright drinks and milky teas swirl around me.

Now, I’m wandering and havering with the crowd, each member adorned with outfits and aesthetics, blended like a painting on a canvas. Some wear bright pastels, others are as dark as the night sky, clustered in groups, threes, quartets, or as couples. If anything, their journey for the evening is to involve the same forms of pleasure, with food, drink, and mesmerising entertainment. It feels like a sense of community to which I might belong, enriched by the diversity of this crowd. I watch the red paper lanterns dance slowly against the wind, while intoxicated by the sweet smell of honey and sugar. I blink, once.

The light from the sun glimmers within the panels of glass: the buildings are jewels, but also natural. I pass an azure blue tower, circular in shape, with hints of green refracting in its surface. It overwhelms me, as I scan the metallic and glass reflected figures that take on their own shape and size. The early morning of rush hour is in competition with the beating presence of dawn, struggling to outmatch the blocks its way. I blink, again.

Now, I feel the sweltering heat create beads of sweat along my neck. The shade underneath the large tree keeps me company, the fresh greenery cooling me. The sun edges towards the horizon, shades of baby blue, orange, and pink swirling like a fresh mocktail. It inspires me, the paintbrushes in my hand blending the colours as I watch everything merge onto the canvas. I don’t know exactly how big this park is. But all I can see from my view is the golden dome situated farther from my view, with its minarets standing proudly against the evening sky. I blink, once more.

And I see the future written before me. Dancing around are the visual elements of the locations with which I have been preoccupied, from the competitive skyscrapers stretching upwards in central London, to the bustling hubbub of Chinatown.  Like a portrait, the creative influx of these landmarks takes their form before me.

My mind wanders amidst it all, and I realise my purpose… to be part of a community… to be intermingled with something I can grasp, a sense of belonging for myself, of inspiration and admiration.

A community I can call home.

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