IT is easy to dismiss today's youngsters as a generation of couch potatoes, seduced by the easy pleasures of the digital and electronic age.

It is also plainly wrong, as is evidenced by the response to the Herald Taylor Wimpey children's storywriting competition, the results of which we announce today.

We were overwhelmed by thousands of entries, and impressed by the talents of the many young writers, who surprised, moved and entertained our judges in equal measure.

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The work of the three main winners - Theresa Peteranna, 16, Marni Robertson, 10, and Daisy Johnston, seven, can be read online at

They form a compelling testament to the power of the imagination, a faculty that cannot be prized too highly in a world where even at a relatively tender age the pressures to conform can seem overpowering.

It is gratifying to see that the ability and the desire to write are being fostered both at home and in our schools. The poet and essayist Jorge Luis Borges once said: "Writing is nothing more than a guided dream." And who would want to stop a child from dreaming?