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SNAP shortlist entry by Sophie Wilks - Kensington Gardens


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Kensington Gardens by Sophie Wilks. 

Walking along the pier, Kensington Gardens rose up beside me. It’s a part of Lowestoft that doesn’t look like it should be there. A canopy of trees sheltered a bridge and an algae-covered pond. I can’t remember when the water was last clear, running as fake a blue as the boating pond in the entranceway, shining like melted slushie in the sun.

From the gated entrance, you could look out at Lowestoft seafront, the clean lines of the grey concrete wall, the yellow sand atop it and the sea stacked further to each other like Neapolitan ice cream. Grey, yellow, blue.

The sky was completely clear, cleansed of clouds and chemtrails, so the water below ran in its natural colour. A spectrum of green and brown, crested by small waves that rose and crashed against itself in a rolling motion that collided in my ears.

There was summer in the air, carrying the laughs of children and the ring of the ice cream van. With it comes the feeling of having so much time to do anything, drink, relax, and sit on the floor and not wonder where you have to be. I sat with my legs crossed so that the gravel dug into the side of my knees. The sun even melted away the pain that radiated in the small of my back, nature’s Deep Heat.

I felt like a child here. I sat on the floor and felt the tiny stones bite into the back of my legs and dirt pressed into my dress, but I wasn’t worried about the stains. That was the spirit of summer. I could feel it falling through the stress, liquid sunlight filtered through an awning of emerald leaves, each one veined with it. I felt it lick my skin, the paleness of winter replaced by a tan only I could see.

This seemed just the place for fairies. They hid within the shrubbery in the maze of twigs and rubbish, invisible to the naked eye. My eyes flicked across the bushes, watching for a flit of wings. With the expertise of a child, I built a dress around my finger, wrapping a thick waxy leaf to fit a fairy-sized waist and cutting a hole with my nail through the back to make it hold together, threading the stalk into a knot. The skirt I assembled was much the same. Attaching everything with a loop and the stem made the leaf into a belt around the middle. I placed them into the hollow of the undergrowth, hoping they’d be taken away by a set of little hands.


About the Student New Angle Prize

The Student New Angle Prize is an annual competition partnered with the New Angle Prize for Literature, a national book award for published authors. SNAP offers all UoS students the chance to enter by submitting 500 words of original writing as prose or poetry. Like the New Angle Prize, entries must either be set in or clearly influenced by our East Anglian region.

The SNAP competition gives us a chance to discover new voices in the region and encourages our students to add to the literary representations which continue to make East Anglia such an important place for art, literature, and poetry.

Are you interested in creative writing? Start your journey by exploring our BA (Hons) English or MA Creative and Critical Writing.

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