Promoting writing during Library Week

HAZEL ALLIES-HUSSELMAN

Rylands library aptly chose Library Week to announce the winners of its short story writing competition, on Thursday March 17.

Aspiring writers in three categories – the 10 to 12 years, 13 to 17 years and adult groups, were invited to submit their stories – each category with its own theme. A total of 12 entries were received, which, according to library staff, is an accomplishment, especially with the impact technology has on people’s interests in reading and writing.

The winners of the three categories are: Zeta Sookdev, 10, from Rylands, Iman Jedaar, 15, from Bonteheuwel and Jasmine Khan, 56, from Rylands. The younger group had to write something based on a picture, depicting two girls standing at a tree, while the teenagers’ theme was “If only I hadn’t”, and the adult category’s theme was “The harder you fall, the higher you bounce”.

Zeta read about the competition in the Athlone News and was excited to enter.

“I like reading and writing a lot. We have a book club at our school, Starling Primary, which I belong to,” she said.

Angel Mandviwala, 12, and Unays Bhad, 12, who are both Rylands Primary School pupils, said they heard about the competition at their school. And although they were not selected as winners, the two were happy to be part of the competition.

Ms Khan, who also shared some advice with the other young writers during the prize-giving ceremony, is a self-published author who entered the competition with the hope of networking with other writers.

“I run a short story column for an online magazine, and I wanted to meet others with similar interests. I’ve published two books, called Inner transformation – Experience the flow, which is about God-consciousness, and Behind Closed Doors, which deals with the ills of society, like abuse. I’ve also written for Muslim Views,” Ms Khan said.

Lamese Saunders, 36, who grew up in Heideveld, but now lives in Bothasig, said she heard about the competition two days before the closing date. Ms Saunders was awarded the second prize in the adult category.

“I write about the lifestyle I used to lead. Everything comes out in my writing – it’s almost like a diary where I express myself, and it’s also a form of therapy for me. This was the first time I shared my writing, and I was a bit nervous reading it out loud today. Taking second place, is definitely an achievement for me, as I didn’t expect it. It just shows you that anything is possible, if you put your mind to it. I started writing only three years ago. I didn’t even like reading before, now I struggle to put a book down, once I’ve started,” Ms Saunders said.

Faldeelah Bowers, 29, from Surrey Estate, said she writes “for pleasure mostly”.

“I only write now and then, because I work in retail and it can be quite demanding. I prefer to read and write fiction above anything else. Sometimes one just wants to be in lala land, especially when life becomes tough,” Ms Bowers said.

* The Athlone News assisted with the judging of the competition, and will, over the next three weeks, publish the stories of the winning entries.