Congratulations to St. Andrews students Olivia, Anna and Patricha whose work was selected for inclusion in Nord Anglia's 2016 Creative Writing and Visual Arts Anthology.
These enterprising students submitted written pieces to the 2016 Global Campus creative writing competition, which challenged students to produce a piece of any style or genre around Nord Anglia's educational philosophy of being ambitious. A parallel competition encouraged budding artists from the Nord Anglia family of schools to create a work of art in any medium which represented one of the written entires selected for publication.
Over 4,500 students submitted work, and so to be selected for inclusion in the Anthology is a considerable achievement. Our student authors should be very proud.
You can enjoy Olivia, Anna and Patricha's bold, thought-provoking work below.
Anskia's Dream - Olivia (age 11)
My name is Anskia and my dream is to become a famous artist. My mother was Venezuelan, my father's family came from Peru and Brazil. He abandoned us when I was two, leaving my mother to raise my brother and I. They were both tragically killed five years later in a bomb attack. My grandmother took me in and we moved to Chile, where we settled into a small seaside town.
At first I was intimidated by her, but I grew to absolutely adore her. The weeks passed and then one day she called to me from the living room. I stopped painting and rushed down the stairs. Dark clouds formed and the patter of drizzle splashed the window panes. She sat comfortably in a mammoth leather armchair near a warm fire that looked out over the cliffs. Her face was a bag of wrinkles with sleek white hair tied in a bun.
"Now sit down." she commanded.
I sat in obedience and silence. Was there a problem I wondered? Is she ill? At this age that would be a big problem!?
"I'm going to tell you a story" she smiled.
"Now, there once was a girl who was the same age as you called Tarsilla Do Amaral. She was born in Capivari; a countryside town in Brazil. She was from a poor farming community that had become quite wealthy by growing cofee. During that time girls your age were discouraged from having a proper education, but Tarsilla's family was the exception."
The salty breeze gushed through the open window, chilling the room. I shot up and ran to close it.
"Now if you go make us both a cup of Coco" she whispered with a grin, "I'll set up the fire!"
As we went about our tasks, my grandmother continued.
"She got caught in many tough times you know, she was criticised for going to school and bullied. When Tarsilla was a teenager she travelled to Spain with her parents. Her artistic talents impressed the local art world, especially the copies she made of paintings in the school library. She decided that her dream was to become an artist."
"There you go." I murmured as I passed her cup of steaming Coco.
"Thank you" she sighed, taking a sip of the frothy liquid before continuing.
"Tarsilla started working harder and harder towards her goal, ignoring the criticism she faced for being a female artist. She became so successful that she started traveling through France and Spain with exhibitions of her work. Today she is one of Brazil's most renowned modern artists."
"Where is she now?" I asked.
"Retired!" came the blunt reply. It was then that the penny dropped.
"Grandma" I asked suspiciously "What's your last name?"
"Do Amaral." She grinned. "Tarsilla Do Amaral!!"
A bullet of excitement hit me. I will never forget this story as from then it became my inspiration, my own ambition, my dream.
Judge's thoughts: Here's a born storyteller. How quickly and vividly she describes this warm Chile living room overlooking the sea. How naturally grandmother talks about her childhood. And how skilfully we to-and-fro between direct action and her story within a story. Not only this. Without over-emphasis, Anskia's Dream makes serious points about the difficulties sometimes faced by female artists, and the way in which it is often another person - maybe one already known to us, maybe one in our own family - who can inspire us to discover and follow our own ambition.
Malala of Mingora - Anna (age 11)
In 1997, Mingora, Pakistan - the big issue was Talibanisation; dancing was not permitted and neither were movies, music, education for women and a long list to follow. The picturesque valley was about the crumble and so was the life of a young girl...
Malala Yousafzai was born on the 12th of July to Toor Pekai and Ziauddin Yousafzai. Her name is after a historic hero of Pakistan: 'Malalai of Maiwand'.
As a young girl she became a proponent for girl's education (banned over the age of 4 in Pakistan) and attended a school founded by her father: Kushal Primary School and College.
Swat valley was a popular tourist site; however - the area began to change as the Taliban tried to take control. By September 2008 the Taliban had blasted 400 girls schools in Peshawar! Even though Malala's father had become a renowned spokesperson around Swat - their school was one of the few schools that remained unscathed.
In early 2009, Malala developed a dream of becoming a politician in Pakistan. With a growing platform - the premature activist was nominated for the international children's peace prize and was the winner of Pakistan's Nobel peace prize in the same year!
All of her work in protesting and encouraging others to learn was put to stake when she received a death threat from Taliban members against her. The Taliban had risen to power again.
On October 12th 2012, while travelling home from school, a man boarded the same bus as Malala and demanded to know where she was. Everyone looked at her - revealing her location. A moment later, Malala was shot.
Immediately, Malala was taken to a hospital but the care in Pakistan was quite primitive. She was then transferred to Birmingham, where she was put into a medically induced coma and had numerous operations. The doctors at the hospital also discovered a damaged facial nerve in the left side of Malala's face - this was why her face became completely numb.
She had to undergo additional major operations to repair her mutilated facial nerve in which bits and pieces were picked up around the small area of her blasted skull.
This terrible act was recognised all around the world. The lives of many people had been alerted to things happening around them by this disastrous occurrence. Recently, Malala gave a speech - in which she had mentioned that she was not speaking for her but all of the 60 million girls who had been silenced. She sent out a message to all of them - saying that they should get up and join her in the fight for girl's education. A stirring sentence from her was: "I am Malala. My world has changed but I have not.".
This made people realise that despite the bullet that wounded her - she was not silenced but was motivated to fight even harder.
Currently, Malala is in Birmingham unable to return to Pakistan because of danger and she still fights for those without a voice so that every child has the right to have quality education.
Coin - Patricha (age 14)
8, NEW YAR? YER?
GEGE GET YUAN FROM BABA TODAY. I WANT YUAN, BUT MAMA SAY I CLEAN SO I DON'T NEED YUAN. BABA SAY THAT GOWENMANT GIVE MONEY TO GEGE BUT I DON'T KNOW WHY GEGE GET YUAN. I WANT TO GO OUT BUT EVERYONE SAY NO AGAIN. I WANT TO GO OUT AND KNOW MORE ENGLISH LIKE GEGE, SO I CAN BE SMART LIKE. I WANT TO BE VERY LIKE GEGE. HE IS VERY SMART. GEGE IS VERY HAPPY THAT HE SMART. BUT RIGHT NOW, I VERY HAPPY THAT I CAN ENGLISH.
GEGE DON'T SMILE, BUT I KNOW HE VERY HAPPY BECAUSE HE KNOW SO MANY I DON'T, GEGE IS ALSO VERY NICE. GEGE TALK TO ME SOMETIME. MAMA TALK TO ME WHEN SHE TELL ME TO CLEAN OR WHEN SHE TELL ME NOT TO LOOK OUTSIDE OR WHEN SHE TELL ME TO GO BASEMENT WHEN PEOPLE COME. I WANT TO MEET PEOPLE, BUT BABA DON'T LET ME MEET PEOPLE. I THINK I NOT SMART LIKE GEGE SO I CAN'T MEET PEOPLE. IF I SMART LIKE GEGE, I CAN GET TO MEET PEOPLE I THINK.
HAPPY NEW YER.?
8th of February 1995, Chinese New Year
I find it quite depressing to describe my feelings; desolated? The choices vary more when my parents handed me more money this morning. They looked me in the eyes, and I saw them, those expectations, they were higher than taping all the rulers ever created since the parturition of mankind together; the most adverse part of this is that not one bit is exaggerated. Before I knew it, everything felt unnatural. English was the only language spoken to me. I only know the smallest bit of Chinese. Chinese was never spoken directly to me, my parents only speak Chinese to each other, and to my little sister who's someone that never existed. If an outsider ever sees her, we are done for. I wasn't aware at first, but I knew as I became an adult.
I was the biggest blessing they've ever received. They never had to pay for anything when it comes to raising me. This includes all the household necessities paid by the Government.
And now, I'm a future source of profit. Everybody had their souls shouting "doctorate degree". Soon enough, all of their words became something that pushed me deeper into anxiety, and all the disputes it brings along. I have never felt as wretched before because of knowing. The more I knew, the more things created to push me down, deep enough to make me feel numb as I listen to my parents' alter ego soar and aimed at my little sister. If I could alter and rewrite time, I would choose to become something else, even a toad at the side of the road would be better than being pushed into a hole your mind has created with ecological validity. Or even better, if I never existed at all.
Happy New Year.
Judge's thoughts: This is such an intelligent and well-constructed piece of text. I want to know if the author is aware of The Colour Purple because if she isn't she's managed to construct something very similar stylistically. It's powerful, ambitious, complex and challenging.
It's hard to judge short pieces of text and whenever I reread this one I have more questions about the characters and the environment. But I think that's a good thing.