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My children inspired an award-winning tale

PUBLISHED: 12:44 04 April 2008 | UPDATED: 14:55 07 September 2010

A SINGLE mother who has won a short story competition says she found inspiration from her daughters and the magical setting of their Highgate home. Annabel Levin beat 2,000 budding writers in a competition organised by the BBC s RaW (read

Charlotte Newton

A SINGLE mother who has won a short story competition says she found inspiration from her daughters and the magical setting of their Highgate home.

Annabel Levin beat 2,000 budding writers in a competition organised by the BBC's RaW (reading and writing) programme with her children's story Dr Sharpneedle Visits.

It centres on Baked Bean, a dragon who has lost his ability to blow fire. He only rediscovers his fire-breathing powers when he is about to have a booster injection and flames engulf the needle-wielding doctor.

Ms Levin, who has two daughters, Nikki, six, and Alex, three, believes having children unleashed her creativity.

She said: "Alex was just about to have a booster injection and I felt a bit guilty because I knew she wouldn't like it, so I wrote this story to make myself feel better."

Ms Levin, who lives near the tube station in Highgate, has also produced a children's sudoku game - Kid Do Ku - which is on sale in toy shops in north London.

She said: "I worked as a successful financial software executive in the City for a decade. But the inspiration of having two young children brought my creative side out.

"Our home is dilapidated, but the location in Highgate is magical. There are woods and nature and yet we're living in a city."

The BBC praised the entries it received for the short story competition. A spokeswoman said: "We had an overwhelming response to the competition, receiving approximately 2,000 entries in total. The standard has been really high, and we've been impressed by the imagination and creativity of the entries."

One of the judges was Nick Fuller, who is head of the Westminster Library Service. He said: "In many ways it is harder to write for children than for adults, so the competition would have been a confidence-boost for everyone involved.

"For many people it was the first story they had written - this is a major step."

As a prize, Ms Levin has won 24 cinema tickets for adults and children. Her story will also be published in a BBC RaW book in May. For more information about her children's game visit www.kiddoku.com.

charlotte.newton@hamhigh.co.uk

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