Brexit boosts children's creative writing, say language experts

Theresa May

Mentions of Mrs May in stories went up from 118 to 287

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Brexit has had a positive influence on children's creative writing, according to language experts.

Oxford University Press found that a large number of entries to its annual short story competition included stories about cancelling Brexit, trying to make a deal and helping Theresa May.

And more than 100,000 entries contained several references to the "backstop", to "no deal" and an increase in political vocabulary.

Brexit was used 418 times, compared to just 89 the previous year, while mentions of Mrs May went up from 118 to 287.

As a result, linguists and lexicographers have crowned Brexit the "children's word of the year".

"What is an extremely complex and difficult issue for some of the finest political minds has inspired children's creativity and inventiveness in a really interesting and smart way," said Oxford University Press' director of publishing operations, Helen Freeman.

"In 2017 and 2018, Brexit was mostly referred to as a boring subject parents talked about, as something in the background.

"This year it is a very different picture - Brexit is front and centre of the action, with children swooping in to help Theresa May in a proactive, empowered and fun way."

The competition is open to children aged five to 13, and has received over 900,000 entries since its launch in 2011.

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