Coccus Pocus 2022 Winning Stories
In autumn 2022, the University of Hull launched their annual scary story competition for Halloween: Coccus Pocus! The event was organised for a fourth time, following three successful runs in 2021, 2020 and 2019. We supported the competition as part of our #BiofilmAware campaign, which is all about helping people to understand what biofilms are.
In 2021, a fantastic network of Coccus Pocus Ambassadors grew from four members to fifteen, including new ambassadors from France, Greece, Malta and Denmark! This year, we received 19 stories in total (same number with last year), both from school children (12-17 group) and university students (18+ group).
The contestants were encouraged to write a short horror or sci-fi story between 500 and 2,000 words, including themes of antimicrobial resistance and/or microbial biofilms. The evaluation committee ranked stories according to the intrigue of their plot, use of language, character description and scientific soundness.
This years winners
- 1st place: Katrina Crompton from the University of Newcastle (UK) for her story It drifted (also awarded a £100 Amazon voucher).
- 2nd place: Solange Amigues from the University of Galway (Ireland) for her story The Fourth Stranger (also awarded a £30 Amazon voucher).
- 3rd place: Conchita Fraguas Bringas from the University of Copenhagen (Denmark) for her tale A Halloween Story (also awarded a £20 Amazon voucher).
- 1st place: Miffia Wong from St Peter’s Catholic School, Surrey for her tale Biofilm Story (also awarded a £100 Amazon voucher).
- 2nd place: Sam Gallagher from Lymm High School for his story They get in (also awarded a £30 Amazon voucher).
- 3rd place: April Stanton from Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, Bowdon, for her story Green Finger (also awarded a £20 Amazon voucher).
You can read their brilliant stories by visiting the links below.
The winners will be also presented in the May 2023 issue of Microbiology Today, the magazine of the Microbiology Society, which has at least 6,000 subscribers.
The competition organisers aspire that the competition will be held again and again around the country, and even abroad, aiming to increase public awareness about the important problem of Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and biofilms and boost the enthusiasm of young people about the fascinating field of microbiology.
Coccus Pocus will run again in October 2023. Can you think of any biofilm or AMR-reIated scary stories? Would you like to be one of our Coccus Pocus Ambassadors for your school or university? And… which university or school will claim the next trophy? Please contact Dr Georgios Efthimiou, Lead Organiser and Lecturer in Microbiology, University of Hull with any questions.
The competition was supported by NBlC’s Public Engagement and Outreach Fund. You can find out more about the projects we have supported in our 2022 Annual Report.
READ THE WINNING STORIES IN THE 18+ AGE GROUP
READ THE WINNING STORIES IN THE 12-17 AGE GROUP