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ISMLA Bulletin — February 2022

ISMLA Creative Writing Competition 2022

Chinese, French, German, Italian & Spanish

You can download the competition details here as a pdf.

Welcome to our creative writing competition 2022! We are very much looking forward to reading students’ creative work. This competition is open to all of your pupils in Year 10 upwards and they are welcome to enter either in the GCSE or A Level categories. We encourage you to run this as an in-house competition in the first instance and we will then accept one entry per language and category per school.

Partnership opportunity: ISMLA member schools are welcome to open up the competition to their partner state schools who can submit entries under their own schools’ name – again, one language entry per school per category.

Prizes (£50 iTunes vouchers) will be awarded as follows:

  • One prize per language for the best entry at GCSE (Year 10 and 11)
  • One prize per language for the best Sixth-Form entry
  • There will also be runner-up prizes and commendations.

All entries must be submitted with the accompanying form to Adèle Venter at admin@ismla.co.uk The deadline for submissions is Tuesday 3rd May, to be received no later than 4.00pm. Winners will be announced on 25th June at our annual conference at the King’s School Macclesfield. The results will appear on our website on the same day.

Within each language, there is the choice of three titles. Students must write in the target language but can answer the brief in whichever format they wish as long as the word count is respected (250-350 words).

A successful piece of writing will demonstrate the following criteria:

  • Creativity and imagination.
  • Engagement with the target language culture.
  • Linguistic ability appropriate to the entrant’s year group (we are not looking for perfection, but submissions should be proof-read carefully by the entrant and it needs to be comprehensible and engaging, rather than overly complex or perfectly accurate).
  • Successful editing in order to successfully answer the brief within the word limit imposed.

Please note the following guidelines:

  • Where students engage in research, a list of references at the end is desirable but not necessary.
  • Entries can be handwritten and scanned and saved as a PDF or typed and saved as a Microsoft Word document but must be accompanied by the submission form.
  • When sending the entries, please title the document as follows: SURNAME/NAME/SCHOOL/LANGUAGE/CATEGORY – For example: SmithAnneStMarysFrenchGCSE.
  • A teacher is allowed to make some general comments (verbal or written) as feedback to a first draft, up to a maximum of five bullet points, but no further input is permitted.
  • We ask schools not to submit work written by native speakers to the inter-school competition, although we hope that your native speakers are inspired to get writing and submit an entry to you for internal review nonetheless.



You can answer these titles in whichever format you like as long as the word count is respected (250-350 words). Three options are provided for each language. You can choose whichever title you wish.


Italian Option I : La lettura

Immagina di essere la giovane donna del ritratto.  Perché hai scelto di farti ritrarre con in mano un libro? Quale libro? Che cosa volevi far capire di te?[1]

Imagine you are the young lady in the portrait., Why did you choose to have yourself portrayed with a book in hand? Which book? What did you wish people to know about you?


Italian Option 2: Il ciclismo, la velocità e lo sport

In visita al “Estorick Collection” a Londra vedi questo disegno di Umberto Boccioni. Partendo dal disegno, racconta quello che ti ispira il ciclismo o altri sport che fai.

While visiting the Estorick Collection in London, you come across this drawing by Umberto Boccioni. Taking this drawing as your starting point, relate what cycling or other sports you do inspire in you.

Italian Option 3. La guerra

Cento anni fa sono nati due grandi scrittori italiani, Beppe Fenoglio e Luigi Meneghello. Tutti e due hanno raccontato la Seconda guerra mondiale e in particolare la lotta dei partigiani contro il fascismo e l’invasore tedesco. Immagina che il tuo paese (come il loro) sia stato occupato da forze straniere. Racconta la tua esperienza.

Two great Italian writers Beppe Fenoglio and Luigi Meneghello were born 100 years ago this year. Both wrote about the Second World War and especially about the partisan fight against fascism and the German occupier. Imagine that (like theirs) your country has been invaded by foreign forces. Write about your experience.

[1] Ritratto di giovane donna.  Andrea del Sarto (1486-1530). Galleria degli Uffizi, Firenze. La pagina indicata dalla giovane donna contiene due sonetti del Petrarca, 153 e 154 del Canzoniere.


Spanish Option 1

Acabas de ver una película de Almodóvar y esto le choca a tu amigo español, que dice: “Almodóvar es mucho más admirado fuera que dentro de España”. Escribe la conversación con tu amigo, dando razones de por qué estás o no estás de acuerdo. La conversación debería incorporar expresiones en Español hablado.

You have recently watched an Almodóvar film and your Spanish friend is shocked and says: “Almodóvar es mucho más admirado fuera que dentro de España”. Write the conversation with your friend, giving reasons why you agree or disagree. The conversation should incorporate expressions in spoken Spanish. 

Spanish Option 2

Entras a un bar famoso de tapas en Bilbao. Han organizado una competición de tapas creativas y quieres participar. Sin embargo, no estás muy seguro de lo que preparar, así que le pides a uno de los lugareños que te dé ideas. Escribe la recomendación que te da y crea una tapa verdaderamente única, con razones para tu elección. Quizá quieras hacer referencia a la comida en el País Vasco.

You enter a famous tapas bar in Bilbao. They are holding a creative tapas competition and you want to take part. However, you are not sure about what to do so you ask a local for ideas. Write the recommendation he/she/they give you and create a very unique tapa, with reasons for your choice. You may want to make reference to food in País Vasco.

Spanish Option 3

Visitas la Isla de Pascua en Chile y las vistas te inspiran a escribir una historia corta sobre alguien que quizá ha podido vivir allí hace mucho tiempo. Puedes escribir sobre lo que quieras pero debes incluir referencias a los Moai.

You visit Easter Island in Chile and the views inspire you to write a short story about someone who may have lived there a long time ago. You can write about anything but there should be references to the Moai.


Chinese Option 1

In May 2021, Chinese government starts to implement ‘3 children policy’. Are Chinese young couples for or against this policy? The given photo provides some views but your essay should not be limited by them.

Glossary (from the photo)

  • the eldest child
  • exhausted both physically and mentally

Chinese Option 2

Read Hitchhikers, a story written by Sanmao (1943-1991) which tells her encounters with a host of characters during her journeys through the Sahara and answer the question below:

In your opinion, which hitchhiker left the deepest impression for Sanmao, and why?

– Hitchhiker

The English translation of Hitchhikers by Mike Fu can be found at: https://writingchinese.leeds.ac.uk/book-club/march-2021-sanmao-%e4%b8%89%e6%af%9b/hitchhikers.
The Chinese text can be found at: http://www.ccview.net/htm/xiandai/wen/chenmaoping043.htm

Chinese Option 3

Compare picture 1 and picture 2 , and respond to ALL three questions in your essay.

What are the people doing in picture 2?

What are the similarities between the costume in picture 2 and picture 1?

In your opinion, what kind of feelings will competition costumes like these bring to the audience of the Beijing Winter Olympic?

Picture 1

《千里江山图》,王希孟 , 宋代

A Thousand Li of Rivers and Mountains,A11.9-meter-long scoll by WANG Ximeng in Song Dynasty (Early 12th Century )

Picture 2


WANG Shiyue (Left) and LIU Xinyu, China’s ice dancing couple advance at Beijing Winter Olympic 2022


German Option 1

Betrachten Sie das Foto, das Hans und Sophie Scholl und Christoph Probst im Jahr 1942, Monate vor ihrer Hinrichtung, zeigt. Recherchieren Sie für diese Aufgabe den Kontext der Weißen Rose und schreiben Sie eine historische Kurzgeschichte (ca. 350-600 Wörter auf Deutsch). Worüber könnten sie sprechen, was sind ihre Ängste, Hoffnungen und Träume?

Consider the picture, which shows Hans and Sophie Scholl, and Christoph Probst in 1942, months before their execution. For this task, research the context of the Weiße Rose and write a short piece of historical fiction (c.350-600 words in German). What might they be talking about, what are their fears, hopes and dreams?


German Option 2

Dass Deutsche bei Fußballspielen die deutsche Fahne schwenken, ist eine relativ neue Sache. In den 60er, 70er und sogar 80er Jahren wäre dies in Anbetracht der deutschen Aktionen im Zweiten Weltkrieg bei einem großen Teil der Bevölkerung verpönt gewesen. Was meinen Sie dazu? Ist Nationalstolz etwas, mit dem sich junge Deutsche beschäftigen sollten, sind sie immer noch für die Vergangenheit ihrer (Ur-)Großeltern verantwortlich? (Schreiben Sie ca. 350-600 Wörter auf Deutsch).

Germans waving the German flag at football games is a relatively recent thing. In the 60s, 70s and even 80s this would have been frowned upon by a large part of the population given Germany’s actions in WWII. What do you think? Is national pride something young Germans should engage in, are they still accountable for their (great)grandparents’ past? (Write c.350-600 words in German).

German Option 3

Wenn Sie das demokratisch gewählte Staatsoberhaupt von Deutschland wären und die Macht hätten, Änderungen (jeglicher Art, d.h. rechtlich, politisch, umweltpolitisch usw.) einzuführen, wie würden Ihre Dekrete aussehen und warum? Versuchen Sie, Ihre Argumente speziell auf Deutschland zu beziehen. (Schreiben Sie ca. 350-600 Wörter auf Deutsch).

If you were the democratically elected ruler of Germany and had the power to introduce changes (of any kind, i.e. legal, political, environmental etc.) what would your decrees be and why? Try to make your points relate specifically to Germany. (Write c.350-600 words in German).


French Option 1: Un « plaisir minuscule »

L’année 2022 marquera le 25ème anniversaire de la sortie du recueil de récits de Philippe Delerm, La première gorgée de bière et autres plaisirs minuscules. Dans ce petit bouquin:

« Par petites touches, Delerm s’attache aux moments de plaisirs du quotidien. Plaisirs des sens, dont aucun n’est oublié : les goûts, les couleurs et les lumières, les sons, les parfums, les sensations tactiles. […] Comme une petite madeleine, les petits instants de joie pure s’égrainent et éveillent des souvenirs heureux. La première gorgée de bière. Savourer un croissant sur le trottoir. Cueillir des mûres. Rouler sur l’autoroute, la nuit. Manger un banana-split. Prendre un Porto. Lire sur la plage. Plonger dans un kaléidoscope. Jouer à la pétanque.[2] »

En adoptant le style de Delerm, décrivez votre propre « plaisir minuscule » préféré.

« C’est le contraire du vélo, la bicyclette. Une silhouette profilée mauve fluo dévale à soixante-dix à l’heure : c’est du vélo. Deux lycéennes côte à côte traversent un pont à Bruges : c’est de la bicyclette.[3] »

A “tiny pleasure”

2022 marks the 25th anniversary of the publishing of Philippe Delerm’s collection of stories, La première gorgée de bière et autres plaisirs minuscules. In this little book:

“In small touches, Delerm recounts those little day-to-day pleasures. Pleasures of the senses, none of which are left aside: taste, colour and light, sound, scent, tactile sensations. […] Like a small madeleine cake, the little moments of pure joy are scattered around and awaken happy memories. Taking a first sip of beer. Savouring a croissant on the pavement. Picking blackberries. Driving on the motorway at night. Eating a banana split. Drinking a port. Reading on the beach. Diving into a kaleidoscope. Playing petanque.”

Adopting Delerm’s style, describe your own favourite “tiny pleasure”.

“It’s the opposite of the road bike, the bicycle. A streamlined neon purple silhouette hurtles past at seventy miles an hour: that’s cycling. Two high school students pedal side-by-side across a bridge in Bruges: that’s riding a bicycle. »

French Option 2: Bonjour…

Écrivez un conte dont le dernier mot est « Bonjour ».


Write a story of which the last word is “Hello”.

French Option 3: La Restitution

« C’est une nouvelle page qui s’ouvre dans les relations entre la France et le Bénin. Le mardi 9 novembre, en présence des présidents Emmanuel Macron et Patrice Talon, la France restitue solennellement au Bénin vingt-six œuvres pillées au XIXe siècle par les troupes coloniales. Un “moment historique de fierté nationale” pour les autorités béninoises.[4] »

Vous êtes cette statue royale anthropo-zoomorphe qui évoque Ghézo, roi du Dahomey.

Racontez une ou plusieurs de vos souvenirs depuis le départ du Bénin en 1892. Voilà des idées possibles:

  • Les réflections pendant les premières journées à Paris;
  • Les premières expositions au Trocadéro en 1893 et 1895;
  • Les gens que vous avez « rencontrés »;
  • La lutte de pouvoir retourner en Afrique;
  • Les émotions lors de la restitution au Bénin.


“A new page has been turned in relations between France and Benin. On Tuesday, 9th November, in the presence of Presidents Emmanuel Macron and Patrice Talon, France solemnly returned to Benin twenty-six works looted in the 19th century by colonial troops. It is a “historic moment of national pride” for the Beninese authorities.”

You are this royal anthropo-zoomorphic statue that evokes Ghézo, king of Dahomey.

Recount one or more of your memories since leaving Benin in 1892. Here are some potential ideas:

  • Reflections from the first days in Paris;
  • The first exhibitions at the Trocadéro in 1893 and 1895;
  • The people you have “met”;
  • The struggle to be able to return to Africa;
  • Emotions during the restitution in Benin.

[2] Cultur’elle (link)

[3] La Premiere Gorgee de Biere et Autres Plaisirs Minuscules (L’arpenteur) (French Edition) GALLIMARD Edition by Delerm, Philippe [1997]

[4] TV5 Monde (link)