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Stories Festival: Stars of present and future launch our three-day celebration of storytelling

·2-min read
Waterstones’ head fiction buyer Bea Carvalho with writing competition winner Pieter Dewulf at the Stories Festival launch party  (Dave Benett/WireImage)
Waterstones’ head fiction buyer Bea Carvalho with writing competition winner Pieter Dewulf at the Stories Festival launch party (Dave Benett/WireImage)

The Evening Standard kicked off its storytelling festival on Thursday night with a celebration of creativity, and helped launch two new writing talents in the process.

The three-day Stories Festival, launched with Netflix, is being held at Picturehouse Central, which was the venue for the launch party and attracted a diverse crowd — from activists and best-selling novelists to budding writers still dreaming of their first publishing deal.

The line-up for the festival includes Line of Duty writer Jed Mercurio and singer Will Young, who will be in conversation with Rob Rinder about his memoir, To Be a Gay Man. Other writers at the festival include Ed Balls, former model Jack Guinness and author Daisy Buchanan.

Among attendees on Thursday night were the two winners of our new writing competition who were picked out from hundreds of entries for the adult and young adult categories and have won a mentorship as part of their prize.

Belgian-born Londoner Pieter Dewulf, 32, combines his job in a deli with dreams of writing success and wowed judges with his short story about a brother and sister’s difficult relationship. The winner of the young adult section, 13-year-old Farrah Said, impressed with her family story, Cooked Sushi. The four runners-up were also at the event: Sara Hamdan, Louise Floyd, Stella Lenon and Katie Reading.

Evening Standard Editor Emily Sheffield said she was “delighted” to be hosting the event.

The crowd at Picturehouse Central, which also included Great British Bake Off winner Candice Brown and actress Annabel Mullion, were entertained by a performance from Alice Fearn — the star of West End musical Come From Away — while enjoying exclusive Bushmills cocktails inspired by verse from spoken-word star George the Poet.

Book tickets for the Stories Festival at stories.standard.co.uk

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