Congratulations to Upper Sixth student Anna Brovko who won second prize in her age group for a poem she submitted to an international competition run by charity Never Such Innocence. 

The competition encourages young people aged 9-18 to submit poems, speeches, songs and pieces of artwork reflecting on the theme, ‘What does war mean to you?’ 

Anna’s poem ‘Puppetry’ was recognised in the 16-18-year-old category and was included alongside all other winning pieces in a special Digital Winners Book. The booklet also included a letter from Downing Street, signed by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, addressed to the prize winners and participants, thanking them for their contributions. 

Commenting on her inspiration for the piece, Anna said, “I have come to think that war is always led by indoctrination. In this current time of the Ukrainian crisis and being both Ukrainian and Russian myself, I was compelled to explore what drives people to hatred and violence. My conclusion is herd mentality; it is only through change in our society that we can anticipate seeing a change for the better, for peace.” 

On her receiving the award, letter from Downing Street and copy of the booklet, Anna said, “I just think that is pretty cool.”  

Anna was also the guest speaker at this week’s popular Creative Writing Club, where she shared her poem and the inspiration behind it. The club is attended by students from across the school who were delighted to hear from Anna.  

Fifth Year student Dhyan Ruparel said, “Hearing Anna discuss her prize-winning poem was a great experience for the group, leaving us with lots of ideas and tips on how we may approach poetry writing in the future. Her poem itself, based on the theme of ‘conflict’, was a thought-provoking take on the Russia-Ukraine crisis, which used the striking image of puppetry to explore Anna’s own thoughts about the war. Plus, if reading her excellent poem, and hearing about her process and inspirations wasn’t enough, we got to see the real reason anyone writes: a signed letter of congratulations from literary great, Rishi Sunak.” 

Never Such Innocence is a charity which provides tools for young people to reflect on the realities of war and conflict. This year’s competition received over 2,700 entries from 60+ countries around the world and the judges were blown away by the amazing work received. They said that the pieces were incredibly thoughtful and brilliantly created. All winning pieces have been published as a special booklet which can be viewed here and Anna will also receive a personalised certificate of commendation and a prize. 

Well done for this thoughtful submission and the deserved recognition. 

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