A year seven student of Lagos Preparatory and Secondary School (LPSS), Amali Mucheke has won the Historical Association’s Historical Fiction Prize for her year group.
Her story titled ‘Freedom for All’, based around colonial Nigeria, won her the prize in her category.
The Historical Fiction Prize is an annual competition open to all students from year five to Year nine (ages nine-14) but is limited to three entries per school.
According to the association, “one of the key attributes of historical fiction is that it has a convincing setting in a past time and place. Students can set their stories in any period or place in the past, so the story can fit in with and extend any historical topic they may be studying.”
Mucheke’s entry was sent to London alongside two other LPSS entries, Bethany Okeowo’s, ‘The Maid’s Moment’ and Kitan Fagbamigbe’s story ‘The Queen, the Candle and the Golden Mirror’. Mucheke emerged the winner from all the entries submitted by students from all over the world in the year seven category,
According to the judges, “stories in each category are shortlisted by panels of student readers. The shortlist is then judged by our primary and secondary expert panels.
“Judges are looking for: historical accuracy- even down to the choice of names characters is given and any props additional to the historical setting; a riveting read with a good plot; a convincing story – is it plausible that these events and/or this character could have existed at the time?”
Other requirements are: use of historical knowledge to feed the plot, context and character; effective use of historical vocabulary and literary conventions, including where dialogue is included in the story; creative and interesting perspectives of story-telling.
The judges added: “In the past, we have received an entry telling the story of a siege from the perspective of the castle!”
Reacting to the news, Mrs. Mucheke said: “We are very pleased, grateful to God and thankful for the school and community’s support. Special thanks to the History and English Departments at LPSS for their accurate teaching and gentle guidance as they helped the students with their final review.”
On her part, the Head of the History Department, Mrs. Lesley Barrett, who spearheaded the school’s involvement in the international competition, said: “This success is evidence of what we can achieve when we work as a team.”
The success comes on the heels of Arshiya’s success two years ago. Arshiya’s historical fiction entry was published by Quaramo Publishing in 2017.
Mucheke will receive a cash prize and Historical Association Paper weight from the association and the school will receive a free year’s membership of the Historical Association. Discussions are in progress to publish Mucheke’s story.