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We started the KidEngage Writing Competition in 2017 summer to offer a creative outlet for the children during the summer vacations. To encourage the children, we promised individual feedback for each entry received. We have always been ardent advocates of the fascinating world of reading and writing, and we expected that this platform will attract more children to that world.
What we did not expect was to be blown away – not just by the quantity of entries, but by the quality too! We have continued to organise the competition every summer with more submissions each passing year. The quality of submissions has been steadily rising too. While we started off with publishing some of the selected entries on our blog in the previous years, the stories and poems in 2019 compelled us to explore publishing an anthology for the winning entries.
These are stories and poems that deserve to be told to a much wider audience, and the creators of these entries deserve to be acknowledged as authors with a great promise. KidEngage is delighted and proud to present ‘The Long Road Home – Stories and Poems’, the first anthology of the winning entries from KidEngage Writing Competition 2019.
This anthology of short stories and poems shows a window into the creative world of India’s best young writers and poets. The stories and poems cover a wide range of themes – from the stark tales of struggle against climate change to a fantasy world in a dystopian future, from the ‘coming-of-age’ lessons being learned, to comical absurdity.
The promise shown by these writers in their early teens is enormous and bodes well for Indian writing in future. Most of them already write with such an assurance that unless told, one wouldn’t be able to guess the age of the writers in some cases.
For instance, The 1st prize winning story ‘The Long Road Home’ by Varsha Raghuram (Carmel School, Bangalore) is almost Hemingwayesque, with its spare prose and unflinching look at human against nature. Such a distinctive style at an early age ! The Poetry Winner, “If you get stuck in a photograph” by Shreya Sethi (Mindtree School, Ambala) will amaze you with the poetic imagination on display.
In short, reading these stories and poems will be quite a journey into different styles of writing and a varied tapestry of themes.
The winners hail from all over India, and yet, one can discern they are all of the same global village. In some of the stories and poems, especially the ones that deal with a fantasy theme, one can see the child-like freshness and also the impact of the stories and movies they may have seen, with their universal themes.
It is heartening to see so many young girls end up among the winners from among 4000+ entries. That climate change is one of the popular themes also shows where the priorities of this generation of children lie. There are 19 short stories and 11 poems in this anthology, and each entry is followed by a brief about the writer and her/his inspiration for writing, the books they love and their other interests.
This is a must-have book in every school’s library. It is also a great gift for a child who loves to read and write. By buying this book, you will be encouraging hundreds of young writers and poets in India. KidEngage is committed to bring out these anthologies every year from now on.
Our special thanks to all the schools and parents who encouraged the budding authors to participate, and gave them the right environment and exposure to foster their creativity. We are grateful to Mrs Anjali Razdan, an award-winning and much-experienced education leader who agreed to pen the foreword for the anthology. Gratitude to Ms Nandini Nayar, an award-winning author who has the reputation for being India’s most prolific children’s author for giving a huge dose of inspiration to all aspiring authors in a note full of practical tips, advice and encouragement to be a successful author.
For anyone who prides in calling themselves a reader, this is a must have for your library. If you are looking to give a gift that will be cherished by a child, your inspiration is right here!