Youth in Action
  Youth Debating
The Federation
  Federation Graphic
  Mission Statement
Local Society Pages
  English Club of Oulu
  Hämeenlinna Finn-Brits
  Helsinki Finn-Brits
  Kuopio Finn-Brits
  Tampere Finn-Brits
  The Finn-Brit Players
  Turku Finn-Brits
Other Finnish Links
  British Council
  British Embassy
Other British Links
  Finnish Inst. London
  Scottish Finnish Society

English Essay Writing Competition 2016

Results from the English Language Essay Writing Competition 2016 for lower sixth formers

The Federation of Finnish-British Societies annual English Essay Writing Competition was held for the 32nd time on the 20th and 21st of January 2016. The essay titles on these two dates were posted on the Helsinki FinnishBritish Society Website for download on the competition day.

Teachers then sent in the best essay from each class, and in all 145 shortlisted essays were received from a total of 36 schools.

The jury was composed of five judges, including representatives from the Helsinki Finnish-British Society, the Finnish National Board of Education, and the University of Helsinki Department of Modern Languages (English). The judges gave first prize to Heidi Mäkitalo (see her winning essay below) from Luostarivuoren lukio for her original, tense and highly atmospheric science fiction story beginning “At first everything seemed to be fine”. A special mention from the judges also goes to Shewan Wang (Puolalanmäen lukio), who produced a mature and very well written appreciation of the Japanese composer Joe Hisaishi. The standard of essays was as usual high, and the judges would like to congratulate the winner and the runners-up and thank all those who took part in the competition.

Mark Shackleton,
Chair, Essay Writing Competition

2016 Essay Competition Topics

1. The best thing about 2015.

2. Why learning English is easy / difficult.

3. Why is sport important to Finns?

4. Write a short fictional story beginning. “At first everything seemed to be fine. …”

5. Someone I admire.

First prize (500€ for a trip to the UK)


Heidi Mäkitalo Luostarinvuoren lukio

Topic No 4

Runner up prizes (books)


Lamia Khan Ressun lukio

Topic No 5

Loubna Kouibaa Kokkolan yhteislyseon lukio

Topic No 5

Susan Lindgren Kronoby gymnasium

Topic No 5

Sallamaria Moilanen Tampereen lyseon lukio

Topic No 3

Joonas Pirttijärvi Muurolan lukio

Topic No 4

Martti Runsten Tampereen klassillinen lukio

Topic No 4

Verneri Suomela Tampereen lyseon lukio

Topic No 2

Shewan Wang Puolalanmäen lukio

Topic No 5

Kirsikka Wirtanen Tampereen klassillinen lukio

Topic No 4


English Essay Writing Competition 2016

At first everything seemed to be fine. The plan for the escape had been carefully drafted over the course of six months. All outcomes had be examined: there was supposed to be no chance for failure.

However, as I was pulling on the air-conditioning vent, waiting for my signal, it started to dawn on me that no plan could ever be bulletproof – much less a plan made under our conditions. One small mistake, one false move, and there would be no hope of survival, much less of escape.

I started to feel the signs of an impending panic attack: my heart slamming faster and faster in my chest, breaths turning shorter and making me feel light-headed.

“Calm down” I whispered to my trembling hands. I looked at the timer. Only two minutes and thirty seconds left. Twenty-nine Twenty-eight…

Every single second I had spent in this place had been hell. I had always known that places like this exist - nobody ever talked about them, but refusing to acknowledge something doesn’t make it any less real. Everyone knew what happened to people like, well, me.

One minute.

I’ve never been one for subtlety, obviously. I always tried to be careful, to keep quiet, to keep my head down. Fact is, though, that that doesn’t come to me easily as it does to some people.

To most people.


So, yeah, I guess I always knew that ending up in this place was something that would eventually happen to me, but it is also something that I’ve never learned to accept. Hence, the escape.


Oh, how I want to go home.



Heidi Mäkitalo from Luostarivuoren lukio