Schoolgirl storyteller

2009-01-28 00:00

WHEN 15-year-old Angelika Peczak entered the Shuter & Shooter Publisher’s writing competition, she was not aiming to win. She was following orders from an English teacher who coaxed her, along with some of her classmates, into entering their assignments.

But to her surprise, her story was chosen as the best, nationally.

Peczak, a Grade 11 pupil at The Wykeham Collegiate, said that her winning story is based on the life of a little box that lives in a house but it is surrounded by bigger and prettier boxes that can store more important ornaments.

The little box feels inferior since it can’t hold as much as the other boxes, which always make fun of it.

“I would love to say that it is something I had experienced in my childhood or that the story has some deep meaning but the truth is we were given a week to write a children’s story. Four or five days into it, I got this idea and it took about three hours to put it together.”

For her efforts, Peczak won a laptop and Canon laser printer, together with R1 000 worth of book vouchers for her school.

Although she does not consider herself to be a creative person, she has a natural affinity for writing. Last year she won the Douglas Livingstone poetry competition in KwaZulu-Natal.

“I come from a privileged family and I go to one of the best private girls’ schools. My New Year’s resolution is to give back to those in need and to give as much of myself as possible. That’s my passion,” she says.

KwaZulu-Natal’s Shuter & Shooter production manager, Julie Titchmarsh, said that this was their inaugural instalment of the competition and they were pleased to receive over 1 000 entries, most of which were from KZN.

She said that the idea behind the project was motivated by the lack of reading that is taking place in schools.

“What better way to encourage youngsters to read and write than by encouraging them to read material written by other youngsters,” she said.

A selection of the top 20 stories from last year’s competition will be compiled into a book, which will be available in April.

Titchmarsh said that they are considering developing this year’s competition into a soccer theme since the book will be available in 2010, in time for the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

The competition is open to all Grade 1 to Grade 12 pupils.

Entries close on July 31. Stories can be long or short and written in any of the official languages. Entries can e-mailed to stories@shuters.com or posted to P. O. Box 13016, Cascades, Pietermaritzburg, 3202.

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