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Writing Competition To Aid Low Decile Schools

Media release 29th May 2008

Children’s Writing Competition To Aid Low Decile Schools

A unique Auckland bookstore is set to launch a short story competition designed to foster talent and support those young people who need it most.

Year 6 Primary students at Decile 1 and 2 schools are welcome to enter the BACI Lounge Short Story Competition, which will see the winning educational facility rewarded with $2000 worth of library books for their students.

Almost 100 schools have already registered to take part in the programme.

The initiative was created by Dr Sharad Paul, a Skin Cancer Surgeon, University Lecturer, published author and Director of bookstore BACI Lounge*.

Dr Paul hopes his competition will assist under-privileged children by promoting literacy and an appreciation for the written word in low decile schools in the greater Auckland region. The winning student will also receive $150 worth of books to take home for themselves.

As a practicing G.P, Dr Paul says he has witnessed the plight of low socioeconomic families, but as a University lecturer has also seen the power that education can have on even the most disadvantaged student.

“If the competition inspires even one child to pursue their writing or academic education further then it will have been a great success in my mind. I’m consumed by a passion to revitalise the art of reading and encourage these children in aspiring to achieve their dreams.”

The project has already had an enthusiastic response with many schools confirming their students will be taking part.

Chapel Downs Primary School Year 6 teacher Charity Maclean, says her students are particularly thrilled about the initiative.

“The children in my class were very excited and asked lots of questions as soon as I told them about the competition. I’m always encouraging them to read books and for them to have the opportunity to win some for themselves and their school is just great,” she says.

Chapel Downs Primary School Principal June McMillan says she’s delighted her school will be involved.

“I am very pleased our children have such a dedicated teacher who is prepared to put in the extra work required for such a wonderful opportunity.”

A published author himself, Dr Paul was convinced a short story competition was an excellent way to get these young minds excited about reading and writing.

In 2001 he was runner-up in a literary competition in the U.K with a short story called The Kite Flyers and later expanded it into a novel Cool Cut which has been published by Picador.

“I would like to offer these children the same opportunity that was open to me. It would be fantastic for our winner to have similar success with their story, but I think the greater reward for these kids will come from just getting involved”, he says.

Along with the BACI Lounge Short Story Competition Dr Paul is running a mentoring programme at low decile schools where students have the opportunity to listen to him speak.

“Hopefully by talking directly to these children I can help to inspire and encourage them in the pursuit of their goals,” he says. “It’s so important that they realize their full potential and what they are capable of.”

Entries to the competition close 1st July, 2008, with the winner announced on 21st August, 2008. The successful student will take away a $150 BACI Lounge book voucher in addition to the $2000 book contribution to their school’s library, with their short story also published on the BACI Lounge website at

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