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Shortlisted  applicants in the non-fiction / personal stories competition. The autobiographical anecdotes were written in the manner of Roal Dhal in Boy

Enjoy reading!

Récits personnels retenus par la classe de 1ère L parmi les anecdotes autobiographiques rédigées par les élèves pour participer au concours Paperplanes.

1ère L: 







Angèle: Clumsy girl

You may be wondering if I’ve always been this way. If I’ve always been so clumsy and awkward. It actually started at a very young age and in all my childhood memories, it seems like I always ended messing up everything. I can see that time at one of my birthdays, I wanted to make a wish before blowing out my candles, I came so close to the flame, as a stupid mosquito attracted by the light, that I burned my nose. Sometimes it comes because I want to help, like this other time when I hoped I could be useful by doing ironing. I still can hear my mother asking me to check if the steam iron was hot enough. Well guess what? I thought the cleverest thing to do was to put my finger on the burning tool. I can still feel the heating breath of the angry dragon spreading his burning flames on my finger. I guess at a young age, my bad coordination of movements and my head in the clouds could be seen as cute or funny.

Sadly, it turns out to be a huge problem at my age. Especially when you are a shy teenager. Which leads us to one of the biggest act of awkwardness of my short life, and I can guarantee you I make one after the other.

It all started because I wanted to go to the toilets. I was in middle school and it was this age when you couldn’t go to the toilets alone, all the girls were coming in a huge group in the bathroom, disturbing all the innocent people who wanted to do what they needed to. Knowing it was annoying, I decided to go alone, leaving my friends for a moment far away from me as I needed to accomplish my trial : to pass the pack of giggling hyenas. Focused on the path and avoiding any contact which could slow me, I rushed to the first open door and immediately closed it behind me. My back against the door, I took a deep breath and smiled triumphantly.

I don’t know if it was the overwhelming and awful smell or the fact that there were no toilet paper but something was wrong, like missing. I think it only took me ten seconds to understand what I had done. The first five seconds to realize that I couldn’t feel anything but the door behind me, and the next five seconds to understand that it was because there were no handles.

I had just locked myself up.

Have you ever felt the sudden and devastating feeling of loneliness? A feeling running and sliding through your veins? It was exactly how I felt. I couldn’t get out. After the loneliness came the shame. The shame of having to shout for help, my forehead against the door, especially with brainless birds on the other side:

“Excuse me ? Is there anyone here?” I tried to ask before repeating louder. After a few calls someone could finally answer me.

“Yes ? Who are you?”

“Um… My name is Angèle and I am actually stuck.”

I don’t know if it was because I was already tired of this, because of her nasal voice or because of what she responded, but I could have punched someone, and I am not a violent type of person.

“Is it a joke ?” She asked me,

“Yes of course, I locked myself on purpose and threw the handle.”

“Why are you talking to me then ?”

“Oh my god, can you just call someone who could get me out of here?”


She told all her friends I was stuck in there while laughing hysterically and it took her at least five minutes before calling someone. After she left, I don’t know how long I stayed here. Five minutes? Fifteen? I think I didn’t even feel bad. I was just waiting. A few minutes later someone finally came but it was the wrong handle. I heard someone coming, a few people, they were three maybe? And I heard her.

“ Angèle what have you done again ?”

“ I am stuck.”

And then she just laughed. My best friend was laughing at me. But it didn’t matter anymore, it actually reassured me. I started to feel the smile across my face and I ended up laughing with her. When I finally got out, all the school had gathered in front of the toilets trying to understand what was going on. They just saw two girls going out, crying of laughter. It took me a while to go in the toilets alone again and I am actually cringing just writing this experience. I think it is one of those moments you remember all your life.

At every faux pas I make I try to learn, to watch where I am going and to focus on my hands when I carry something important. I just learnt that I had to notice every handle I passed by when I go to the bathroom. I guess it is also a funny anecdote to share as an example of my clumsiness.

Written in the manner of Roald Dhal in Boy.


Anna: Tomboy

Today, I am going to share with you a scary story of my life.

It was seven or eight years ago, my family had a big property in Grasse, in the south of France. Half covered in woods, half countryside with a river. Every summer I used to meet up with all my cousins and stayed two or three weeks, just us and my grand-parents. With one of my cousins, we were the same age and best friends. We loved playing adventurers with a bow and wooden arrows that we had created ourselves and exploring the woods. We were like true warriors! One day we went in those woods, we walked and walked a lot. Suddenly, I remember falling down a slope and hurting myself. I was bleeding and limping. Furthermore the night was starting to fall.  We could hear weird noises, but the thing is, you know in south of France there are a lot of boars and they are not very friendly!! Anyway, we were so scared! Actually that is not the terrible part of the story.  At that moment we realised that we were lost, completely lost in the middle of nowhere. And I,  normally so courageous and a real tomboy,  started to cry and cry on my cousin’s shoulder. I can remember telling him:

" NO,  WE GONNA DIE LIKE IN MOVIES !!!!! ". Oh my god,  I really thought it was going to be the end. But unexpectedly my cousin shouted: " The caravans over there ! We are safe! " Because yes,  we had caravans in our property, so this is the final part of that nightmare ! You can't imagine how loud  I laughed telling you this story. Now I realise how pathetic and hilarious this story is. In fact that day my cousin saved my life but if you want to know everything , the next day  I saved his life. We were stuck in a chicken coop. Never mind,  that's another story.  But there it is, my childhood as an explorer . 

Written in the manner of Roald Dahl in Boy.


Manon: The Finger

I was a little girl, I was perhaps five years old. And my sister was probably three. We were living with our grandparents after the divorce of my parents. I felt their house was mine.

We went to get some mushrooms in the wood near their home. I love this smell. This smell of humidity that tells us of the arrival of winter. It was the time when we were satisfied with little. In short , we came back with a full basket. We found many « wood hedgehogs ». It was a good day, until then.

            My sister and I, had always had a good relationship. But little sister or brother means quarrels. And that was the case that day.

            She was probably excited and wanted to play although I didn't want to. As a child, I always preferred to play alone. My sister never understood that, even today.

She forced me to play with her. I complied because I wanted to be a good sister and make her happy.

Nevertheless, playing dolls wasn’t my thing, I preferred Legos. So I quickly moved away from her, I had no doubt claimed to have to go to the toilet. Notwithstanding, she saw clear in my strategy. Then she leaped like a grasshopper and caught my leg. I managed to free myself from her embrace with my right hand. Afterward, I ran away like an inmate fleeing his jail.

In my crazy run between the living room and the corridor leading to a door: my room. I absolutely had to reach my room to be saved from her claws. The door was wide open. That was the occasion whatever.

I rushed even faster to find a hideaway from my oppressor. However, she ran faster for a three years-old-girl only.

In the stampede, I grabbed the door handle, and finally, closed it. I was safe and sound.

            No more noise. Hush. What had I done do?

Out of the blue, screams, yells, tears.

I opened the door and I saw my sister crying. What had I done ? What had I done ?! I looked at her finger. What had I done ? Her finger was cut! A stub of her finger was cut!

            My grandfather came in mumbling, indeed my sister was crying all the time whatever the reason. But that time, there was a real reason to cry. He couldn’t know that her finger was cut. The last phalanx of her finger dangled down. My sister and I didn’t really understand what was going on despite her screams. I was totally stunned, confused, shocked. Everything happened like an bolt of lightning.

My grandfather took my sister under his arm before giving first care. Indeed, he put her on the kitchen’s table then he put cotton wool and surrounded it with a cloth and put a bandage in the ice.

            I was brutalised by my own action. I hadn’t done do it on purpose.

Everything went fast. When the ambulance arrived, I was relieved. She was taken care of by paramedics.

She came back 2 days after. She was fine. Nowadays, she has no scars.

Written in the manner of Roald Dahl in Boy.       


Sam: The green-eyed beast

The story I am about to tell you happened to me eleven years ago, when I was only five years old. At that time, I often went in a park, near my old house. I enjoyed so much playing in the different kinds of games which were available for children. It was a summer day, in that fabulous playground, while I was playing on a slide. When I reached the end of this filthy slide, a gargantuan wall stood in front of me. He was rising through the clouds, so high that I couldn’t see his top. From as far as I can remember, this climbing wall had always terrorised me. Only a few people, way older than me –by “old” I mean ten years old-, where trying to climb to the top of this gigantic, blue and awful monster.

The beast had a lot of green-tinted eyes, on which people put their hands and feet, to facilitate the ascent. Down on the ground and miles away from the top of that creature, parents were looking at their children, with anxious faces. I almost remember that some of them were hiding their faces with their hands, not to see children, tumbling, hurting themselves and crying.

One day, while I was playing with my friend on the climbing net, he pointed at the wall and told me:

“I’m sure that you aren’t able to climb this wall, touch the top, and go back down!”

Of course I wasn’t able of such an exploit! But my pride told me to prove him that he was wrong about his allegation. I looked at his satisfied face and decided not to let him win so easily. I took my bravery and my teddy bear into my own hands and started to stare at the dreadful alien, to analyse the target. After five long minutes of watching the wall without doing anything, I decided to put my first hand on a hold. After, my foot did the same move. My other hand too. In less time that it takes to say, I was almost in the middle of my adventure. But suddenly, my hand slipped on a hold and my teddy bear fell in the void. I looked at him, falling slowly, trying to survive this drop. His green eyes were looking at me. I had to finish this climb for him; the life of this soldier would not be lost stupidly.

Mustering my courage, I kept climbing, grabbing the holds at an impressive speed. My legs were shaking and colliding, while the wind was blowing in my hair. I was led by my instinct, which pushed me to continue my ascent. Suddenly, I don’t even know why, I started looking at the ground. I saw a formless mass which had gathered around the gigantic wall. I could hear them, talking about my chances of survival. After I reached the mountain peak, I felt way lighter. But I had forgotten that I had to go down. I had already used all my strength, but I had to go down. I was doing my best but the inevitable happened: my feet slipped and I fell, borrowing the same shortcut as my teddy bear. I felt that my end was close. When I touched the ground, my feet turned and I collapsed in the wet grass. My mother arrived, brought back by my shrill cries, and took me to the doctor.

In fact, I had just sprained my ankle. Not a serious injury and nothing that deserved much attention. Now, eleven years later, when I walk in front of this square and I see this wall of almost three meters, on which kids are playing, I can’t stop laughing while thinking about this ridiculous anecdote.

Written in the manner of Roald Dahl in Boy.


Sarah: The Sweet shop

It was a Friday afternoon, after school. I was with my friend Julie. We were hungry because it was time to eat. My friend said to me:

"Sarah do you want to go to the sweet shop to buy candies and after we will go to my house to play games, okay?"


"Yes, of course, it's a very good idea!"


I was very excited! But there was a little thing which was bad we couldn't pay because we did not have money! But Julie and I wanted candies very much so we decided to steal some. At the beginning I was really afraid of being caught I thought that was going end up badly... but we managed very well, at first


When we entered the sweet shop nobody expected us to do this. We intended to find candies and take as many as we could.

We hid some candies in our pants, our bags, hats and even in our shoes. Yes, I know it was disgusting but...we did what we could!


"Hurry up Julie!!"

"Yes , don't worry, it's okay!"


We grabbed a lot of candies of all flavours, it looked like a rainbow! We ate discreetly too! You may wonder if we made a success of our plan? It's simple, this story became a big nightmare...


What we forgot and what was very important is that surveillance cameras were watching us. I felt like there was somebody behind me. The fear was growing ...The director of the candy shop arrived because he had seen everything.He was furious and he called our parents. Firstly, he called Julie's ones, they came very fast and shouted at her:



and mine came after...


"Hello, I am the manager of the sweet shop of Clagny! Are you Sarah’s parents?"

"Yes,  I am her mother... What's wrong?"

"Yes,  of course… your girl and her friend stole many candies from my sweet shop!"

"Oh no, I am very sorry. I’m coming now! Sorry!"


When they arrived, I was crying and they took me home directly. They said :



-"I am very sorry", I said " it's because I was very hungry after school."

-"You could have come back home!"


And guess what happened later...


My parents and Julie's ones had to buy every single candy we  had stolen and I tell  you there were a lot of... 

It was value of 100 pounds!!!


I remember that night, I was so sad to have disappointed my parents that I took the decision to bake them a cake. Their favourite, of course, a chocolate cake. The only problem during baking was that the pan melted. 

My mother was very disappointed! My advice is never bake a cake without your parents.

To finish my story, Julie and I had to clean the sweet shop as our punishment for 1 month!!!!


I assure you, after that you don't want to do it again...

But this story gave me two lessons. One : Never steal. It's wrong! 

Two : Never bake a cake without your parents!


I was twelve when I did that with my friend Julie but today I still remember it vividly.

Written in the manner of Roald Dhal in Boy.