As the Writers Unblocked get ready for Canada’s 150th birthday, they’re inviting local youth to share what being Canadian means to them in the 2017 Literary Competition – and three prizes of $80 are up for grabs to the best young scribes.
It’s an opportunity that’s very well suited to the members of the Harry Potter Book Club at Constable Neil Bruce Middle School in West Kelowna.
Club organizer Michael Burdeniuk, who’s also a teacher at the school, said its 15-20 members are usually pretty keen about any opportunity to do with reading or writing.
“It’s really a young literary nerds club,” he said. “And they’re not intimidated by a local contest the way they would be a national one. With only kids from West Kelowna and Peachland entering, they’re a lot more like to think, ‘I might actually have a chance at winning this.’”
Burdeniuk said members of the book club are quite introverted, which he admits is a sweeping generalization, but he said their experiences will capture what it’s like to be Canadian from a different light, rather than identifying with cliches like lumberjacks and hockey players.
“Another thing they’re excited about with the contest is that they’re getting evaluated by real judges, so they’re looking for more than just getting the approval of their teacher with this.”
Dana Hart, who’s also a teacher and co-ordinator of the book club, said the students have free reign to write in any style, and much of it is poetry.
“Some people may think it’s too dark,” she said. “But its the adolescent brain – they’re trying to figure out their place in the world.”
Hart said the club participates in most writing contests that they stumble upon, but the group is especially excited by something right in the community.
“I love this contest because it’s local and gives our students something to strive towards,” she said. “Mike and I always go to the finals when they announce who has won. Our students get all dressed up. They’re very proud of their accomplishments.”
The contest is open until Feb 8. to writers of all ages and entries must be under 1,000 words. Prizes are designated for younger entrants, with categories from Grade 6s, Grades 7 to 9, Grade 10 to 12 and adults.
There is no fee to enter. For more information visit peachlandarts.ca under the ‘Literary’ tab.