Alice Hoerara-Hunt has won the highly commended award for youth at this year’s National Flash Fiction Day competition for her short story Taking Shape.
As the only entrant making it onto the short-list from Lower Hutt and the youngest in the competition Alice’s writing was up against challengers from colleges and universities around New Zealand. She read her story to a room full of adults and older teens at the prize giving in Wellington where Alice said the judges told her, “How cool it was that I was in the shortlist at the age of 11!”
On Friday afternoons during the school term Alice has been coming to War Memorial Library’s Creative Writing Group for youth, which has taken her writing in new directions. She has created and shared work, including Taking Shape, that has blown her peers away with its original ideas and lyrical prose. Alice was encouraged by this feedback, but the final push to submit came from her step-dad, Campbell, who was already sending his work to the flash fiction competition.
Alice’s winning story is about rebirth, a soldier on the battlefield, and geese forming a triangle in the sky. She got the idea for the story from her school studies on the history of the ANZACs and used a creative prompt from the Library’s writing group to help form the structure of her story.
Teen Services Librarian Alisha Tyson, who instigated the Creative Writing Group, said “the purpose of the writing exercises are to inspire youth to write, while learning new skills. I modelled the sessions on what I learnt through my Masters in Arts (in creative writing) at the International Institute of Modern Letters. The most important thing is that they’re able to spend some time writing and enjoy themselves. Ultimately the group is there to support each other and have fun.”
Alice Hoerara-Hunt plans to write many more poems, short stories, and novels in the future – her favourite genre being fantasy along the lines of Derek Landy’s hit series Skullduggery Pleasant. Her story, Taking Shape, will be published in the July edition of Flash Frontier – we recommend you find a copy to support this Lower Hutt writer!
If you are a young writer the [common room] Creative Writing group at the War Memorial Library is always open for new people to come along: it happens on Fridays during the school term throughout the year from 4:30pm–6pm is completely free to join. If you are looking for places to submit your work Alice recommends Toitoi: a journal for young writers and artists, and Alisha would encourage you to submit to Starling: new writing from young New Zealanders.