7th March 2024

To celebrate World Book Day, we are excited to announce the winners of the Batty Laureate Awards 2023-24.

The Batty Laureate Awards aim to encourage more people to celebrate bats in creative writing, whether they are bat enthusiasts who write or writers who are developing their enthusiasm for bats.

Writers can submit poems, prose or even extracts from a play or longer piece of writing, as long as it is inspired by bats.

There are 2 categories:

  • Young Batty Laureate (for those aged 6-12 years old) for a piece of creative writing involving bats up to 500 words
  • Adult Batty Laureate (for adults and young people older than 12) for a piece of writing inspired by bats up to 1500 words

We were thrilled by the fantastic submissions we had in both categories and the judges had a difficult job in choosing their favourites.

Young Batty Laureate 2023-24

Batty Laureate Winners 2023-24

Sophie Harrison, Young Batty Laureate 2023-24

Sophie Harrison wrote a beautiful of story called "A different point of view". The judges said "I love this immersive journey that Mary took, getting out into nature is so healing and helps us put things in perspective, and I really enjoyed the writing style and reading about Mary’s excitement when she sees the soft fluffy bats! Brilliant writing, well done!"

A different point of view

Mary hated going to school. She felt as if she didn’t fit in – she just couldn’t get interested in clothes and makeup! The words Jenny had used still flickered across her mind – was she really sickeningly lame? There were no adults to talk to. Her mum had enough to worry about, and to her dad she seemed invisible.

When she felt sad, she would often go into the woods behind her house. On one of her trips, she had found an abandoned cottage that would be perfect for hiding in, until she felt like facing the mean girls again. She made herself a couple of peanut butter and jam sandwiches and picked up a torch, then quickly and quietly slipped out of the back door and into the night.

Once she started walking, her legs seemed to remember the way, even in the dark. Using the light of the moon to see, she remembered how peaceful the woods were at night. It was autumn, and the leaves scattered across the forest floor crunched satisfyingly under her feet. It was a comforting sound, and little by little she started to feel better. She came to an opening in the trees and before her was the little cottage. Only then did she realise that her legs were aching.

The cottage door was broken, and she easily slipped inside. Walking into the only room she dropped her backpack to the floor and took in her surroundings. In the corner of the room there was a pair of eyes twinkling in the darkness. Mary was curious – what could that be? Getting closer, she saw a huddle of tiny furry creatures. Stifling a squeal of excitement, she realised that it was a group of her favourite animals – a colony of bats! She had never seen so many in one place before. She couldn’t believe her luck.

The bats need this house far more than I do; Mary realised. Her own problems felt suddenly silly and childish in comparison to these brave and clever creatures that exist just on the brink of extinction. She carefully and quietly backed out of the cottage, knowing that above all she should not disturb them.

As the sun started to rise, Mary happily walked back home. Letting herself in, she realised that a sense of perspective was all that she had needed. She now felt that all her problems were so small in comparison to those of the natural world. Bats don’t have many friends, and they needed her to be one of them. A new sense of purpose filled her days, and every night she knew that she could go out to the woods to see her friends whenever she needed to.

Adult Batty Laureate 2023-24

Batty Laureate Winners 2023-24

Brown long-eared bat

Sarah Mills wrote an evocative poem simply entitled "Bat". The judges commented on the deep, dark language and how thought provoking it is "I kept going back to it."


Scored from the darkened dough of night,

Floured with fear and leavened moonlight,

The bat rises from our subconscious cave...


Like a broken black parapluie

It cannot shield us from what we dread

But forces us with foaming mouths

To commune with an unholy bread,

To all that we desire and crave.


A vespertine trickster of the Cherokee,

It pulses through our venous walls,

Placing us with its echoed calls

But should we believe Tertullian tales


Of a winged devil with feathers free?

Are we not also creatures of the night

Holding secrets within our limbs,

Sucking juices from forbidden fruits

As the daylight sanguivorously dims?


Do we not hang from the accursed branch

Of human flaw and fallibility,

Membranes of madness between all men

Who seek to fly from obscurity?


Do we not host a scalloped soul

Where sin has bitten us into shape,

Creating vortices to help us soar

From a world we feel we cannot escape?


Do our eyes not also flutter in sleep

As the delicate skeletons of our dreams

Refuse to fossilise in space and time,

Surging in colonies of sable screams?


I wonder if they see us in kind

Or if the dawn is evil and gloom is good.

Perhaps we are the omens of which horror is made,

The order that should be misunderstood.


Scored from the darkened dough of night,

Floured with fear and leavened moonlight,

The bat rises from our subconscious cave...


Like a broken black parapluie

It cannot shield us from what we dread

But teaches us to choose our fate

Before life’s lamina, torn and shred,

Releases us from beyond the grave...

Thank you to our judges

Thank you to all our judges: Emma Reynolds, Shirley Thompson, Fiona Mordaunt and Andreia Correia da Costa.