Oundle Pupil Highly Commended in Creative-Critical Writing Competition
28th September 2017

Oundle pupil, Alice Broadbent (15) has recently been Highly Commended in the 14-16 Creative-Critical Writing category of the Forward/emagazine Young Critics Competition for her poem (see below) both entitled and written from the perspective of Ariadne in response to another poem Telemachus.

The competition was judged by the emagazine editors and the poet Sarah Howe (winner of the TS Eliot Prize for Poetry 2015 for Loop of Jade).

Alice attended the Forward Prizes awards ceremony on Thursday 21 September at the Royal Festival Hall, London, where she was presented with her certificate by Susanna Herbert, Executive Director of Forward Arts Foundation.  The foundation, which runs the Forward Poetry Prize, also founded National Poetry Day.

Head of English at Oundle School, Richard Smith commented, “I am delighted by Alice’s success in the Forward/emagazine Young Critics Competition. Her poem, which uses the classical legend of Theseus and Ariadne to tell a story of longing and belonging in the modern world, is uncompromising in its language and imagery. I hope Alice’s success in this competition will inspire her to continue her writing and that it will inspire other pupils to write as well.”


Alice commented, “My poem ‘Ariadne’ was inspired by Vuong’s ‘Telemachus’. When reading Vuong’s poem I particularly liked how it was based on the myth, but was more dark and melancholy. I chose the mythological character of Ariadne because there is a lot of speculation over what happened to her.”




I’m the parasite. I’m the disease.

The thing no one wants.

Once I was the feast, now I’m a leftover.

I served my purpose, played as a marionette.

But now I know it was all a ruse.


I used to be a key that opened a door,

But when it creaked open the novelty wore off,

Like every new present a child begs for,

Uses for a day, and discards.


I’m the athlete, promised a match

But left as the reserve on the sidelines.

There’s no need for charm,

I can’t go back home. Just another

Mouth to feed.


Beauty fades, so does usefulness.

No love, no laughter, no life left in me.

But the city celebrates. Theseus was triumphant.

And I lost my head and my heart.

I am a fish out of water,

But I have to keep breathing.




Background Information on Oundle School

Oundle School is situated in the quintessentially English market town of Oundle, about 90 miles north of London. The School’s buildings, dating from the 17th to the 21st centuries, are dispersed throughout the town, which is, to a large extent, its campus.


The School’s history dates back to 1556, when Sir William Laxton, Master of the Worshipful Company of Grocers and Lord Mayor of London, endowed and re-founded the original Oundle Grammar School, of which he was a former pupil. In 1876, the Grocer’s Company divided the School into two parts; Laxton Grammar School, primarily for the inhabitants of the town, and Oundle School, primarily for pupils from further afield. In 2000, the Grocers’ Company reunited the two schools under the common name of Oundle School and retained the name of Laxton for the day House.


At the beginning of the 20th century, Oundle was put firmly on the map of leading English public schools by its most famous headmaster, F W Sanderson, who established Oundle’s reputation as one of the great science and engineering schools, a reputation still renowned today. In 2016, the School completed its ambitious SciTec project, uniting Science, Mathematics, Design, Technology and Engineering both physically and philosophically, enabling pupils to move seamlessly from theory to practice and from pure science to the achievement of a workable technology. The development includes the ground-breaking Patrick Engineering Centre, a new Mathematics department and an extension to its sixteen state-of-the-art Science laboratories. Oundle has now embarked on a detailed Sports MasterPlan which will significantly upgrade sporting facilities across the School by 2020, incorporating the building of a new Sports Centre housing a fifty metre swimming pool and an eight court sports hall.


There are currently 1110 pupils on roll at Oundle School, with 860 boarders and 250 day pupils. Also within the Corporation of Oundle School is Laxton Junior School, a day school for children aged 4 to 11. 

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