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The Song of the Skylark

The Song of the Skylark

Author(s): Liz Shakespeare

Location(s): Devon

Genre(s): Fiction, Historical

Era(s): Nineteenth century

Mary Mitchell, nine years old. Draw your straws, gentlemen, and we’ll see who’s to win this prize.”
It is 1842, and this method of assigning parish apprentices has died out, except in North Devon. This story is based on the actual experiences of one such apprentice sent to work on a remote farm.
Mary is fearful of her master’s volatile temper. Despite the comforting presence of her older brother Thomas, she finds the harsh regime hard to bear.
The inspirational preacher, Mrs Mary Thorne, encourages Mary and Thomas to attend a nearby chapel where they are welcomed and taught to read. But as the years pass, and a series of failed harvests make life on the farm even more difficult, the brother and sister take daring action in an effort to change the course of their lives. Their attempt ultimately wins them their freedom, but not before they are brought face-to-face with the heartless judicial system of early Victorian England.
This novel draws on original documents to shine a light on the farming and chapel communities of nineteenth century Devon.

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Enter the 2021TripFiction 'Sense of Place' Creative Writing Competition!

A story in which the location plays as important a role as the rest of your words.

2,500 word maximum, 750 word minimum

Judges include Victoria Hislop and Rosanna Ley

First Prize of £1,000 / US$1,350

Prizes total £1,750 / US$2,362 

Winning entry published on TripFiction site and publicised on Social Media

Entries close 6th November 2021