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Teach creative writing – teach life skills

Tuesday October 5 2004

Teach creative writing – teach life skills says expert

Award-winning author and Young Writers’ category judge of this year’s Bank of New Zealand Katherine Mansfield Awards, Barbara Else says one of the best ways to increase a student’s confidence is for teachers to help them with creative writing.

‘Writing helps students self confidence, and helps them to express themselves. Being able to articulate what you feel and to express how you see the world around you is a very important part of the maturing process,’ says Else.

She also says students writing to judging standard develop their critical faculties which are also important life skills.

‘Students are broadening their ability to think and make judgements about what they’re writing and how they choose to portray characters, which is a very sophisticated thing to do.’

Else, who has been writing radio plays, short stories and novels for children and young adults since the early ‘80’s is full of praise for this year’s entries.

‘It was very hard to pick a winner. Each of the stories was of very, very good quality. I was particularly impressed by the range of subject matter,’ she says.

Hundreds of students from secondary schools all over the country compete for the Young Writers’ Prize. Creative Writing is an option within the English curriculum. Students taking this option can submit their stories as part of their NZCEA assessment.

‘We want as many schools as possible to take part, the more students involved the better. One of the aims of the award is to foster writing in New Zealand,’ says Bank of New Zealand general manager for business development and strategy, Andrew Whitechurch.

The award carries a prize of $1,500 to the winner and $1,500 to the winner’s school. The winner’s school will also be provided with a New Zealand writer who will host a creative writing workshop.

The winner of the Bank of New Zealand Katherine Mansfield Young Writers prize will be announced along with the winner of the Novice Award and the supreme Katherine Mansfield Award at a ceremony convened by veteran broadcaster Maggie Barry at 5.30pm on Thursday 14 October at Premier House, Wellington.


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