AN EIGHT-YEAR-OLD from Salisbury has been commended for writing a tale with “verve, fun and colour”, which secured him the winning spot in a story competition.

Julia’s House Summer Shorties competition challenged writing enthusiasts from two groups - ages five to nine and ten to 16 - to create a story with the title ‘A Different Summer’.

Partly judged by author Minette Walters, Josiah Massey won the five to nine category with his story inspired by this year’s Covid-19 pandemic.

Ms Walters, a former Godolphin School pupil, said: “The judges were impressed by all the stories, but particularly those where the writers allowed their imaginations to fly.

“To view lockdown through the eyes of a fox, a worm, a fairy or even the virus itself brought colour, life and humour to ‘a different summer’, and those were the stories we chose as our winners. Nevertheless, the decisions weren’t easy and we commend every child who entered.”

Josiah, who enjoys learning about the body and wants to be a doctor when he is older, said: “I brainstormed lots of ideas about what makes this summer different and the idea of writing about a virus stuck in my head.

“I was really excited when I found out I had won, I didn’t expect to win at all so it was a big exciting shock.

"It makes me feel proud that I am a good writer and helps me believe I can write in the future.”

Speaking about Josiah’s piece, Ms Walters added: “The judges loved Josiah’s story about coronavirus attacking humans, which is written with verve, fun and colour.”

To find out the other finalists and view the winning stories visit