Archway girl’s ‘moving’ poem touches hearts of competition judges

A schoolgirl has captured the hearts of a panel of top judges with a poem inspired by a tragic accident which left her have-a-go-hero father with life-changing injuries.

Tallulah Hutson beat thousands of aspiring writers from around the world to make it into the top 15 of the Foyle Young Poets of the Year Award 2012 with her poem The Accident.

Tallulah, of Hazellville Road, off Hornsey Lane, Archway, and fellow pupil at Channing School in Highgate, Natalie Steinhouse, who was one of 85 commended poets, attended a prize-giving ceremony at the Royal Festival Hall on National Poetry Day earlier this month to collect their awards.

In February, Tallulah will attend a residential writing week at the Hurst Arvon Centre in Shropshire as part of her prize.

But it could have all been very different had Tallulah not attended a poetry workshop earlier this year, where participants were encouraged to write a piece inspired by memories.

The 16-year-old chose to write about a time which changed the course of her family’s lives a decade earlier.

She said: “It was a sort of collection of memories from an accident my father had suffered when I was a little girl.

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“It was sort of a robbery which he tried to prevent and he was hit by the getaway car. While he is now physically very well, he does have brain damage.”

The poem, which goes from describing games she, her elder brother and father used to play before the accident, to celebrating her seventh birthday in a hospital, touched the judges, as well as friends and family.

He mother Cathy said: “I thought it was very moving, actually.

“What’s amazing is that other people think it is lovely too.

“From an adult perspective, I remember the things she is talking about.

“When you take a small child to the Millennium fireworks, you are not sure they will remember.

“You just don’t know how terribly important those memories are going to become.”

A-level student Tallulah added: “A lot of my friends remember [that time] too so they were a little sad [when they read it].”

But it wasn’t Tallulah’s intention to bring back any sad memories.

“The reason I wrote it is really just because we were writing about memories,” she said. “I hope it helps other people feel less lonely, maybe.”