A RIPON Grammar School student reached for the stars for her latest work of fiction and has been praised by top authors.

Ellen McKeag’s short story Betelgeuse, about one of the brightest stars in the night sky, was highly commended in a Puffin and National Book Tokens competition.

Thousands of young writers up to the age of 18, from all over the country, entered the competition, aimed at helping students get creative in lockdown.

The theme was to write a short story on the subject Big Dreams and it was judged by top children’s and young adult fiction writers, including Robin Stevens and Yassmin Abdel-Magied.

Ellen, aged16-years-old, from outside Grewelthorpe, near Ripon, says her love of creative writing was inspired by her English teacher, Mr Fell.

She said: “Mr Fell has to be the main reason I enjoy writing, he’s really inspired me and I think his some of his incredible enthusiasm must have passed on to me during his English lessons.”

Ellen, who is thinking of joining the Armed Forces after studying for a degree, explained where the idea for her story came from.

She said: “I enjoy astronomy a lot and wanted to write about something I’m passionate about.

"With Betelgeuse’s recent strange activity that made people wonder if it was about to go supernova - and then promptly went back to normal - I thought it would be a fitting subject.

"Especially as stars are often described as having a life with a birth and death.”

Now in her GCSE year, Ellen was thrilled to win a £50 book voucher.

She said: “I’m very happy and proud that my writing is deemed good enough to be highly commended.

"Winning a book token is a bonus.

"I read an awful lot of books,” she added.

“Some of my favourite authors are, Mark Lawrence, Neil Gaiman, Andrzej Sapkowski, Terry Pratchett, Christopher Paolini, Sarah J. Maas.

"However, on the opposite side of the spectrum, I also really like Richard Dawkins.”