Posted on 2 June 2020
Rachel's essay 'Finding Robin Hood: a Public Story made Personal' won her £500 and spoke of her love of Robin Hood from a young age and how her collection began at the age of 14. The values of Robin - an altruistic sense of justice, humility and companionship - still speak to Rachel today. She's particularly struck by Robin Hood's status as a collective story, being retold by generation after generation and evolving throughout the times, from the nobility of Robin in the 1800s to a modern inclusion of positive Muslim characters. To her it's a personal experience, but also one of great collectivism as well.
Rachel's primary goal for her collection is to hear from as many different voices as possible telling the outlaw of Sherwood's story, leading her to visit used and rare bookstores to source new tales. She's also fascinated by finding new illustrators who've taken their brush to bring Robin to life.
On her collection, Rachel said: "It's really encouraging to me that anyone else finds my collection interesting. It has been a rewarding constant in my life for awhile now.
"This prize is special to me as it will extend the time I can stay in the UK. I've wanted to live here for years, and a lot of that started with Robin when I was young. Every month here betters my chances of finding a job and getting a work visa so I can stay after my degree finishes. It's precious to me that one of my first connections to the culture here is now helping me on this journey.
"Thank you again for the prize, and for still holding the contest after everything that's changed in the past few months!"