The task ahead of them was going to be tough, but armed with lots of passion, commitment, enthusiasm and a love of stories (and lots of tea and sambos!), our competition judges headed in to their final meeting to decide on the Winners and Runners Up in the Imaginosity 'What's the Story?' Story-Making Competition last week.

We received close to 500 entries from all corners of the country this year and Imaginosity staff had shortlisted the entries down to 5 or 6 entries in each of the 5 categories. The judges had been given two weeks in which to read all short-listed entries and make their decisions in time for last week's meeting. Some arrived firm in their stance on who should win in each category and were ready to battle it out with those who did not share their views! Others came undecided on some categories and certain on others. But each and every judge arrived filled with delight and wonder at the stories that they had spent the previous fortnight reading. Each commented on the quality, the standard, the imagination and the creativity involved in each story.

Judges Meeting 2014

Our judges remarked on how unique the stories were and praised the effort that the children, their parents and their teachers had gone to, to enter the competition. Author Paul Howard told of his delight to see that in an age of technology, children were still writing about things like 'finding treasure' and drawing owls just like he did as a child!

After a few hours the judges emerged from the room slightly bleary-eyed but filled with excitement on the decisions that they had reached in each category. All spoke excitedly about why they had chosen the entries that they did as Winners, Runners up and (in the Schools Categories) Highly Commended entries. And it was only then that we were all given the names of the authors. The competition is entirely anonymous from start to finish. Our Administration Manager Tara takes on the mammoth task each year of logging all the entries (At this point she deserves a gold-plated award). Once logged, Tara is the only person who knows the names and contact details of the authors. Everyone else, including the judges, only sees a number on each entry. Finding out the names of the authors, whether they are boys or girls and what part of the country they are from is always pretty exciting for all of us.

This year threw up many surprises in terms of geography and gender, but all will be revealed along with all Winners, Runners-Up and Highly Commended Entries next Thursday, the 24th of April at 12pm. We cannot wait to reveal all so stay tuned!

We would like to once again thank each and every boy and girl who took up the challenge to create wonderful stories and send them to Imaginosity. We loved reading them all and looking at all the brilliant pictures, illustrations, sculptures, models and photographs. They delighted us, entertained us, made us giggle, warmed our hearts and gave us comfort that the future of story-telling and story-making in ireland is indeed safe in the hands of the next generation of writers and poets.

Well done everyone!