Fifteen year old Quenjule Slaven of Moamoa won 1st place in the Year 13/Foundation Samoa Observer Short Story Competition 2019.
This is the seventh year the competition had been run and the purpose of the initiative is to improve literacy level in Samoa.
Held at the Samoa Stationery and Books this week the initiative is to encourage all children to write, read and speak in Samoan or English and to seek out and encourage the writers and to publicize their work.
Speaking to Newsline Ms. Slaven said she’s always had a passion for writing because of her parents.
Her younger siblings also entered the competition and they were able to win prizes as well.
“My parents would always encourage us kids to read and write every day and I guess it became a habit writing in my journal and reading as well,” she said.
“When you read it takes you into a whole different place and time and make believe which is why I make believe and put it in my writing and express my feelings and share it with others so they can also have that chance to escape to another world.”
Speaking about story “Dear Beautiful Younger Self” she said it is actually a letter that she wrote to her younger self 10 years from now.
“I put all the insights and the advice that I got from my elders, pastor, parents, family and everything that I could think of and compile it all into this story,” said Ms. Slaven.
“Because I wanted to share advise to the younger generation that they could be ready for the future and it will be interested to see what I have accomplished 10 years from now in relation to my story and it also contains words of wisdom that I cultivated while growing up.”
She acknowledges her parents for their input into her and her sibling’s lives.
“I’m really grateful to my parents for inputting that sense of wisdom into me and my siblings,” she said.
“When the story was due I also had my exams so I couldn’t make believe into anything so I had to use my own personal experience so that’s why I came up with words of wisdom.
“My parents would always encourage me and siblings that if we put our minds into something then we can do it, if we believe we are writers then we are writers.”
Ms. Slaven is the founder of the after-school reading and Maths programme at the public library for child vendors who do not attend school for financial reasons."
In 2017 she was the recipient of the prestigious fellowships by the Sir Peter Blake Trust in New Zealand to take part in the Sir Peter Blake Youth EnviroLeader Forum (YELF) in New Zealand.
She is an award-winning story writer; a ‘Newspapers in Education’ columnist for the Samoa Observer; has won regional poster competitions and was selected by her school to be an ambassador for Samoa Stationery and Books.