Short stories about human rights by young writers

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For the last seven years the editors of Lacuna have invited young people, aged 14 to 18, to tell their own stories about human rights and social justice.

The Writing Wrongs Schools Programme, run from the Centre for Human Rights in Practice, is a free course, offering a series of workshops led by professional writers and journalists supporting young people in high schools to write about human rights issues that matter to them.

Winners in the past have tactfully examined experiences such as immigration, forced marriages, and human trafficking.

In her piece of climate fiction, our latest winner, 18-year-old Semilore Kaji-Hausa, creates a dystopian world haunted by grief, with protagonist Micah navigating an oppressive sponsorship system amidst escalating violence and protests. She examines themes of immigration, oppression, and the dystopian forces impacting this fictional world – a poignant exploration that challenges us to reflect on the parallels with our own.

Below you can find Semilore’s piece along with stories from our previous winners and runners-up.

The Passing: A climate fiction short story

Inspired by real-life examples, including the droughts in Madagascar and shifts in Nigeria's rainy season, 18-year-old Semilore Kaji-Hausa explores immigration, oppression and global dystopia in a world marked by grief.

The Maid of Honour Violence

One woman struggles to prepare herself for a forced marriage in this daring and unusual poem. The invisible briefly becomes visible as her conflicting emotions are revealed.

Her Story

In this powerful poem spanning a year in the life of a sexual abuse survivor, our 16-year-old writer describes the impact of abuse and raises questions about the way the legal system handles these crimes.

Smuggled and Exploited: Human Trafficking and Refugees

Nadia and Adrian were a young couple from Eastern Europe, in their early twenties. Their lives were difficult, they barely made enough money to pay their bills. One day, a man offered to bring them to England where they could begin their young lives afresh.