Megan’s Vesuvius tale wins writing prize


Megan King’s moving short story about the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD79 has taken third place in the age 11 to 13 category of international ancient Rome writing competition the Golden Sponge-stick.

The annual competition, named after a ghastly artefact that might have been found in ancient Roman latrines, is organised by Burgess Hill School and promoted by Roman Mysteries author Caroline Lawrence.

12-year-old Megan’s research of Vesuvius and her knowledge of Roman daily life helped her finish so highly among over 200 other entrants, and her harrowing first-person account of the immediate aftermath of the volcano can be read in full on Caroline’s blog:

Just as the rim of the golden sun touched the edge of the horizon, a large black cloud emerged and hovered in the sky. It came from the mouth of the volcano. As the minutes passed it grew larger and deeper in colour. It covered almost all of the once orange morning sky.

All of the town gathered in the streets and gazed up at the giant that hung above us. It looked like a layer of soot and ash had coated the sky. The whole population of Pompeii was dominated by fear and overcome with confusion.

I saw my sister, Marianda curled up on a large rock, I walked over to her and tried to reassure her but no matter what I said or what I did, I knew that she was old enough to understand that not every story has a fairy tale ending.

Megan received a hand-written note of congratulations from Caroline Lawrence and a book voucher for her third-place finish, while Caroline, who visited Stockport Grammar on World Book Day in 2011, also kindly provided a signed copy of The Sewer Demon from the Roman Mysteries Scrolls series for the school library.

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