From stories of AI to war and conflict, to social media and its impact on wellbeing, it seems young authors across Australia have their fingers on the pulse of what is impacting today’s society.
Buddies writers from Kindergarten to Year 9 took part in this year’s Kids News Short Story Competition, impressing judges with their knowledge of current affairs.
Renowned children’s author and competition judge Jackie French said it was an “absolute joy” to read the winning entries.
“Even if they don’t become classic authors their creativity and ease of expression and sheer joy in communicating their ideas is going to lead to extraordinary places. I hope this competition reminds them of just how great they are.”
This year’s winners were chosen from almost 800 entries in the national competition, run by Kids News and publisher HarperCollins.
Lucas Wong, 9, took out the Year 5-6 category with this story The Emotion Miner. The Chatswood Public School student is an avid writer, compiling ideas in a journal.
“When I have a good idea I write it into my journal and once I have enough ideas I put them together like Lego pieces into a story.”
Taking inspiration from a magazine article about the universe and the song ‘Emotional Damage’ which went viral on social media, Lucas came up with the mind-bending concept: “If emotions could be damaged, could they actually be physical objects?”
He chose crystals to represent emotions in his short story and with a whole journal of ideas, Lucas said he would be keen to turn his short story into a book.
Year 8 student Hiruki Fernando, 13 from Victoria’s Vermont Secondary College took out the Year 7-9 division with The Girl From Nowhere about a woman seeing the world with fresh eyes.
“I just started with the first sentence, and from there it just flowed,” she said. “I showed the story to my mum and she encouraged me to put my entry in after about three takes. I was quite emotional when I found out I had won – it was quite exciting.”
A fan of coming-of-age books, Hiruki counts Markus Zusak and Desmond Hall as some of her favourite authors.
Ms French said the stories from this years’ competition were some of the most original she had come across.
“I think this year we’ve probably got the most original range of entries, but we’ve also had more based on ‘something I saw on TV six months ago’. I would really emphasise that good writing is important, but an original and fascinating story will keep the reader reading.
“Preferably, you will have a brilliant story and brilliant writing. But I think you’ve got to make it an original story.”
Michelle Weisz, publishing director, HarperCollins Children’s Books said encouraging the next generation of Australian authors is something she is passionate about.
“HarperCollins Children’s books is thrilled to support the Kids News Short Story Competition, celebrating the wonderful creative writing of kids across Australia. Congratulations to the winners and to all of the entrants – we loved the range of your writing, and your truly original ideas.”
The prizes for the four overall winners are a 10 copies of their winning short story published into a printed book with a cover designed by the HarperCollins design team, an iPad and a HarperCollins book pack valued at $100.
For the first time, the winners will also receive a HarperCollins Children’s Books mentorship.
Runner Up and Highly Commended entries also receive book packs.
SEE KIDSNEWS.COM.AU TO READ THE WINNING STORIES.
THE WINNERS ARE:
Winner: My friend the drone can do by Everest Song, Serpell Primary School, Vic
Runner up: The Christmas Surprise by Grace Zhang, Linden Park Primary School, SA
Highly commended: The Evil God by Edwards Auker, Haileybury, Vic
Highly commended: The Adventures of Dusty and Hei Hei by Agatha Shanahan, St Kilda Park Primary School, Vic
Highly commended: The Adventurous Journey by Eva Ng, St John XXIII College Stanhope Gardens, NSW
Winner: Sausage Dragon by Aleesa Sleiman, homeschooled, NSW
Runner up: My Branch Escape by Georgie Bozhoff, The Springfield Anglican College, Qld
Highly commended: Who Would Win? by Terrence Li, Sunnybank Hills State School, Qld
Highly commended: Rosie and the Horse Thieves by Charlotte Vitagliano, homeschooled, Tas
Highly commended: The Little Seedling by Natasa Siladi, Mildura South Primary School, Vic
Winner: The Emotion Miner by Lucas Wong, Chatswood Public School, NSW
Runner up: The Adventures of Cleo catra, by Ariana Fais, Shelford Girls Grammar School, Vic
Highly commended: Panic by Hannah Davis, St Luke the Evangelist, Vic
Highly commended: A Desolate World by Selina Jiang, Pymble Ladies College, NSW
Highly commended: The Ghostly Shadow by Paige Campbell, St Pauls Catholic Primary School Camden, NSW
Winner: The Girl From Nowhere, by Hiruki Fernando, Vermont Secondary College, Vic
Runner up: Alpine Acres by Willow Philpott, Snowy Mountains Grammar School, NSW
Highly commended: Shadows by Georgette Philpott, Snowy Mountains Grammar School, NSW
Highly commended: Helicopter by Erin Camille, Siena Catholic College, Qld
Highly commended: A Star is Missing by Lucie Woodcock, Vermont Secondary College, Vic