The brightest young writers from across Richmond heard their works read in the round at the prize-giving of the Arts Richmond Young Writers’ Festival.

The event, at the Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, celebrated the work of the shortlisted pieces from four age groups, and included poetry and prose from the funny to the moving.

Supported by the Malcolm Richards Fund, set up in memory of former editor of this newspaper, the awards also chose the borough’s young and junior laureates.

More than 26 schools took part, and some children entered independently, with those adjudged best winning publication in an Arts Richmond book and a prize.

First place in the youngest section, for years 1 to 4, was Natasha Syed, from Lady Eleanor Holles Junior School, with her poem Meaning.

Top spot in the year 5 and 6 group two went to Charlotte Eglington, from Barnes Primary School, whose harrowing yet hopeful story Tears recounted a girl coping with the death of her best friend.

In the next age group, years 7 to 10, Jasper Spires’ tale of a boy who died while lost wandering the foggy moors got the nod from judges, and in year 11, Aithne Moran got top spot for her poem, entitled Legs.

Sam Milllward’s poem The Dive was good enough for him to be named young laureate, Alexandra Cussons’ Ode to a Sofa had people out of their seats, helping her to the title of Richmond Laureate.

Richmond and Twickenham Times editor David Rankin, who presented the laureate awards with mayor of Richmond David Marlow, said: “The standard of entries was incredibly high, and the really difficult thing was picking one from the group.

“All those who appear in the book should consider themselves proud. They were all deserving of their places, and it is nice to see the English language in such safe hands.”

The awards were compered by Jenny Lockyer, from Funsense Theatre Company, and television actress Liz Crowther was there to hear the performances by the borough’s young actors.