Call for young writers in peace competition

Carter Loughlin and Madison Mckeown from Glenwood PS, help Myra Zepf, Northern Ireland's first children's writing fellow, launch the Commonwealth Class Short Story Competition
Carter Loughlin and Madison Mckeown from Glenwood PS, help Myra Zepf, Northern Ireland's first children's writing fellow, launch the Commonwealth Class Short Story Competition

Young people are being asked to put pen-to-paper for a global story-writing competition.

The Commonwealth Class Short Story Writing Competition, a partnership between the British Council and the Commonwealth Secretariat, offers children aged 7-14 years a unique opportunity to celebrate the values of the Commonwealth through creative writing.

Tying in with this year’s Commonwealth theme, the stories are to be based around the subject of ‘Peace’, with the global competition judged by Northern Ireland’s first children’s writing fellow, Myra Zepf, who is based at Queen’s University Belfast.

The winning Northern Ireland entry will then be invited to present their story at Peace and Beyond, an international conference taking place in Belfast in April 2018 to mark the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement

Speaking about the competition was Co Down Judge Myra Zepf.

She said: “This is a really exciting opportunity for local children to be part of a competition that literally spans the globe. We’re famous for our story-telling abilities in this part of the world, so this is our chance to put Northern Ireland on the map. A competition like this provides a great impetus for children to put pen to paper and to exercise their imaginations.

“As children’s writing fellow for Northern Ireland, I am on a sworn mission to get kids writing their own stories, so I am honoured and excited to be judging this competition. The theme of ‘Peace’ is a powerful and deeply-inspiring creative springboard which can be interpreted in so many ways. I really looking forward to reading the finished stories from all over the Commonwealth and to seeing the different narratives that this theme inspired in children.’

Also speaking about the competition was Jonathan Stewart, deputy director, British Council Northern Ireland.

He said: “This competition is an excellent way for students through education and creative writing, to think deeply and creatively about what peace means to them and the value of celebrating our diversities and differences.

“The competition falls in line with our interest in arts, education and international peace-building and we are delighted to link it up with Peace and Beyond, an international conference to mark the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement – which will reflect upon the experiences of peace processes and everyday peace building models form across the globe, as well as look forward and inspire innovative thinking in the field of peacebuilding.”

Participants must write a story set in their own country and can enter in one of two age categories. The deadline for entries is 9am on January 2, 2018.

For more information, as well as story starters and writing tips from Myra, visit http://nireland.britishcouncil.org.