From education to employment

Access student scoops UEA Snoo Wilson prize

Simone Chalkley

Former Cambridge Regional College (@CRC_College) Access to Humanities student, Simone Chalkley, has been announced as the winner of the 2021 UEA undergraduate Snoo Wilson prize for playwriting.

Simone said, “When I discovered that Timberlake Wenterbaker was on the judging panel, I was starstruck. I am a big fan and the thought that she would be reading my work had my stomach in knots. I wanted so much to be the winner, not just for me but also for the woman I had written about – the unsung hero of all women writers, Aphra Behn.”

“Being announced as the winner and receiving such wonderful feedback from the judges made me feel like I had been understood. My work had been valued for exactly the reason I had wanted it to be.”

Simone’s early experiences of education were disappointing, but she returned to learning as an adult determined to challenge the belief that she didn’t know how to apply herself. The goal was to secure a degree in English Literature. Simone completed an Access to Humanities with CRC and the positive experienced she had in the classroom resulted in her developing a love of learning. 

Simone said, “I took the Access to Humanities course, which involved studying three subjects: English Literature, Sociology, and History. In addition, I learned about research projects, referencing, and study skills, which help you take all this new information and order it in a coherent fashion. CRC gave me a lot of support to learn these essential skills, that aided my learning on the course and prepared me for university. I’m so glad I didn’t overlook any aspect of the course. I absolutely loved it.”

Simone progressed to the University of East Anglia and gained a 2.1 in English Literature with Creative Writing. As part of the course, she studied Scriptwriting and was recently announced as the winner of the UEA Snoo Wilson Prize for her 60-page historical fiction scriptwriting undergraduate dissertation.

Simone concludes, “Who knew! I am not sure what will happen from here on in, but I am keeping an open mind, just like I did when I started at CRC. I might go back to university and do a Masters in Scriptwriting.  I might go all the way and gain a doctorate. Who knows? Once you start on that educational journey, it is really hard to stop. I want to keep on learning, especially now I have finally grasped how to do it.”

Related Articles