Smart Alex Creative writing winners announced

14 September 2018: Smart Alex Creative writing winners announced

Creative minds are flourishing across New Zealand. Secondary school students from across the country were invited to engage with taonga in the Turnbull collections to connect with their heritage and spark their creative minds. The winners of the inaugural national Smart Alex creative writing competition have been announced to coincide with the 150th anniversary of Alexander Turnbull's birth 14 September, 1868.

A poem by Kristen Roxburgh from Selwyn College, Auckland was the winning entry of Year 9-10 group and a short story by Charlotte Boyle from Cashmere High School, Christchurch won the Year 11–13 category.

Over 200 students competed for the $2000 dollar prizes, sponsored by the Friends of the Turnbull Library (FoTL), and promoted through the National Library’s Services to Schools channel.

“We are very heartened by the large number on entries in the two age levels” said Rachel Underwood from FoTL, who was on the judging panel.

“The winning entries showed highly individual and original responses to the image chosen.”

Right Side Up by Kristen Roxburgh was a beautifully formed poem based on the Chinese shawl, told simply and poignantly. Charlotte Boyle’s entry Crotchety Crochet was a clever evocation of the effort of generations of women knitting and sewing for their families.

The goal was to connect young minds with the heritage of New Zealand/Aotearoa through the Alexander Turnbull Library (ATL) collections.

Students had to select an item from the ATL collections and respond imaginatively to it. And they certainly did! Hundreds of entries flooded in, covering everything from popular culture (Fortnite) to historical events — the eruption of Mt Tarawera proved a popular and explosive topic.

There were poems, drawings, and stories, some even included photographic work.

The winners, their entries and the image they selected can be found on the Friends of the Turnbull Library website.

It was FoTL's generosity that initiated and funded this year's competition. Another is planned for 2019. An announcement will be made in February 2019.

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Smart Alex Winners 850 2018