Talented students at West Coventry Academy who penned creepy Gothic tales have become published authors, after taking part in a writing programme run by the University of Warwick.

The budding literary stars were invited to the library of the school – which is part of the respected Arthur Terry Learning Partnership – for an event celebrating the University of Warwick ‘Transformations’ scheme, a 10-week course which ran in 2023 in schools across Coventry.

The scheme, which was led by Warwick University students, took place in the library after school and taught pupils the conventions of writing Gothic literature in university-style seminars. 

As part of the programme, students were asked to submit a piece of creative writing inspired by the new skills of reading and studying literature that they developed from the sessions. 

Students were then encouraged to start planning and developing their ideas in their free time, in readiness for the city-wide deadline.

Four finalists who wrote short stories were chosen out of the 21 WCA students in Years 9 to 11, who then went on to win further prizes for their writing submissions.

They also got a tour of the university, attended a poetry workshop and were presented with their prizes and certificates during a special awards ceremony.

Ava, Katarina and Ellie received overall joint third place prizes, while Sylvie came overall second place out of all the city-wide schools.

The students’ work has been complied in the Transformations Anthology, showcasing their creativity, together with all the participants of the programme across the city. 

The stories all featured the conceptual theme of Gothic literature, which allowed students to explore the ‘Uncanny’ and the notion of the ‘Undead’ in literature.

The special event in the library saw students come together to celebrate their achievements, with Headteacher Ana Neofitou, librarian Natalie Wilkins, Head of English Dr Mason, Second in English Sophie Martin and Liam O’Callaghan, Academic Mentor for English. 

Students were awarded their own copy of the eagerly awaited Anthology, which has been registered with the British Library.  The beautifully crafted Anthology has been delicately illustrated and features an excellent line drawing of the new West Coventry Academy building on the contents page.  Students were delighted with the edition and were excited to be published authors!

Charlotte Pearce, the University of Warwick’s Widening Participation Officer for the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies, said: “Participating pupils not only benefit from gaining insight and experience of undergraduate study, but also build on their existing skills in preparing for individual assignments and responding creatively to a range of contemporary and classic texts.

We have designed a scheme of work that reflects aspects of the current English GCSE/A-Level curriculum while also introducing student to writers and works not commonly encountered during school English lessons.

We very much value the longstanding partnership with staff and students from West Coventry Academy and congratulate all of the students on their creative pieces featured in the Transformations Anthology.”

 Headteacher Ana Neofitou congratulated the students on their remarkable achievement, and librarian Natalie Wilkins said:

“We are extremely proud of all our students that took part in the Transformations programme, and we were all impressed with the calibre and quality of storytelling that they have produced. 

A new cohort of over 30 students are currently undertaking the 2024 Transformations programme, where we are already seeing an essence of the wonderful creativity generated by the enthusiastic students.  Watch this space!”


Students at West Coventry Academy who penned creepy Gothic tales have become published authors.

Headteacher Ana Neofitou congratulated the students on their remarkable achievement.

The students’ work has been complied in the Transformations Anthology, showcasing their creativity.