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Young Auckland writers thrive with expert tuition

Young Auckland writers thrive with expert tuition

Twelve-year-old Arianna Bacic, from Northcross School, has won the hotly-contested Auckland Speed Date an Author writing competition.

Speed Date an Author, part of the New Zealand Book Council’s Writers in Schools programme, gathers six top New Zealand authors and illustrators to speak to groups of school students about the craft of writing. Following the latest Speed Date event, 58 intermediate-aged children from 23 schools entered the Speed Date an Author writing challenge.

Due to demand for this event in Auckland, we ran two events at the National Library national centre. The writers and illustrators at these events in Auckland were Melinda Szymanik, Dylan Horrocks, Darryl Torckler, Maria Gill, Janice Marriott, and Mark Sommerset. All entries had to relate to one of six evocative images provided by our authors. Arianna Bacic (Northcross Intermediate School), and the runners-up Anna Elisara (St Kentigern’s School for Girls) and Sophie Parke (Ponsonby Intermediate) used the imagery to inspire their atmospheric entries.

‘We saw an amazing array of boat-related entries, thanks to Darryl Torckler’s beautiful photograph of a rusted out ship. Sometimes they arose from nowhere to transport our heroes on great journeys, and other times they were explored for treasure. Arianna’s story was a heart-rending tale of evacuation by boat, doomed to failure. We wanted to read more, and her way with language was stunning,’ says Sarah Forster.

Arianna was delighted with her win, saying:

‘I’m shocked and extremely happy. I’m so proud that my story has been chosen. I can’t believe it. The authors really inspired me and I’d like to thank the Book Council for the experience’

Arianna has won $100 worth of Booksellers’ vouchers, a certificate, and a huge pile of books donated by the writers’ publishers. The two runners-up also received a pile of books each, along with a certificate recognizing their achievements. We also awarded a fourth prize this time, to Tamsyn Farr from Tomarata Primary, who will receive a set of books as well. All four stories will be published online at the Book Council website.

Speed Date an Author was sponsored by Booksellers NZ, Random House NZ, Scholastic NZ, New Holland Publishers, and HarperCollins NZ. The event was run in partnership with the National Library of New Zealand.


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