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Classroom focus on writing creates winners

30 May 2005

Media release for immediate use

Classroom focus on writing creates winners

After steering a trio of students to literary stardom, Ros Ali knows what it takes to make a good young writer.

“Students’ stories are often full of angst,” says the coach of three Bank of New Zealand Katherine Mansfield Young Writer’s Award winners.

“They need to learn the craft of paring away in order to find out what is really important in their story.”

An English teacher for 18 years at Epsom Girls’ Grammar School where the winners come from, Ros Ali says she rarely has time to write herself. “My creative energy goes into making writing a focus in classrooms, it’s important to have that.”

The chance to apply such wisdom – and to break Epsom Girls’ winning streak - is now open to all secondary schools.

Bank of New Zealand is calling for submissions for this year’s Bank of New Zealand Katherine Mansfield Young Writer’s Awards. Renowned children’s author, Joy Cowley will be this year’s judge.

The Young Writer’s Award is open to all secondary school students aged from 13 to 18 years. The prize: $1,500 for the winner and $1,500 for the school, is the largest monetary award for any short story competition open to secondary students in New Zealand. The winner’s school also receives a creative writing workshop led by a New Zealand author.

Bank of New Zealand has been the sole sponsor of the Katherine Mansfield Awards since they began in 1959. The awards and the Bank’s relationship with the Beauchamp family have historical significance: Katherine Mansfield’s father, Sir Harold Beauchamp, was the first Chairman of the Bank of New Zealand, a role he held for 17 years. The awards have acted as career springboards for writers including Vincent O’Sullivan, Frank Sargeson and Keri Hulme.

“I’m looking forward to seeing a broad range of writing from secondary schools around the country,” says the Bank’s National Sponsorship Manager, Richard Allen. These writing awards are all about fostering new writing talent and secondary students are at the forefront of this.”

Ros Ali says that students’ confidence grows enormously as a result of writing their stories. “It’s a skill that leads to an appreciation and respect of their own and other peoples lives. You grow with the students. If we don’t act as advocates of reading and writing, who will? “

Entries close on June 30. The Young Writer’s Award winner will be announced along with the Premier and Novice award winners at a ceremony in October.

A number of teachers’ resources are available on the Bank of New Zealand website: HYPERLINK "http://www.bnz.co.nz/kmawards" www.bnz.co.nz/kmawards. Entries must be between 750 and 2000 words and be submitted under a pen-name, the only name that may appear on the manuscript. Entries can be submitted on-line through HYPERLINK "http://www.bnz.co.nz" www.bnz.co.nz or via entry forms available from any Bank of New Zealand branch.

Ends

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