Youth encouraged to write

Fifteen youths are set to have their short stories published in a book titled This is My Story after another six had their stories selected in a short story competition.

Their stories will be combined with the nine selected in 2015 to complete the book.

The programme was conducted by Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality chief librarian, Helen Sparg and librarian Thembela Mashiya.

They were assisted by writer and publisher Kholeka Sigenu and former department of education subject advisor Dorothy Mathatha.

Sparg said this was the second My Story competition which she was certain would lead to greater things.

She said library shelves were occupied by authors from other parts of the world as opposed to those who originated from local areas.

“We want authors from our own roots.

“Our libraries do not have books written in indigenous languages.

“We should start encouraging people to produce books written in their own language as part of Heritage Month,” she said.

She said that the most recent competition had focused on 14 to 16-year-old writers.

“In this competition we wanted the  youth  to feel free and write what was in their hearts.

“We encouraged them to write and we accepted the work even if it had grammatical errors.

“The stories we received were outstanding.” Sparg said that Rhodes University, which had assisted to edit the content in the first competition, found the stories entertaining.

She encouraged writers to read in order to develop their skill.

“Reading will develop your vocabulary and broaden your mind.”

She said she was excited about the stories which showed the potential work that the community could contribute to libraries – not just history, but stories in people’s lives.

The stories were judged on style, originality, content and creativity and the work was assessed by independent judges.

“Writers were told not to place their names on their stories for the process to be as neutral as possible.

Sigenu, who assisted in editing the stories, said: “A reading nation is a winning nation.

“The stories were amazing and the greatest gift of the competition is that the stories will be published.”

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