On Monday 11 December, Brasshouse Centre at the Library of Birmingham hosted a group of learners who had come together to celebrate their contributions to our annual foreign languages writing competition.

The aim of the My Happy Place project was for learners to describe in a foreign language a special place where they feel most safe and content. To further focus the minds of the learners each submission had to be under fifty words in length. On the night there was an exhibition of all the submissions and a special souvenir booklet for all the attendees.

Pauline Desch, Faculty Head for ESOL and Languages said

“The languages team were delighted that over fifty learners rose to the challenge of communicating concepts, ideas and creating stories in just fifty words! We received contributions from learners studying different languages and at all levels, including beginners.

We are transported through their words to Greek islands, mountain tops, cobbled streets in far off lands, beautiful gardens, and comforting kitchens. The contributions evoke emotions and capture a sense of memory and pleasure in describing a place that brings joy.”

At the event learners were invited to read out their pieces to an appreciative audience. Some attendees who bravely shared their texts had only been learning the language for a matter of months. The judges awarded prizes to acknowledge the special achievements of several learners. First prize went to a Greek composition written by Andrew McNaughton, 2nd prize to Maureen Cross, 3rd prize to John Stevenson and a special beginners prize to Elijah Reid.

You can read all the stories in this book online here - each story has an English translation so that even if you can’t read the original text you will still enjoy the richness of the language, the nuance of meaning and the touch of individuality in the compositions.

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