“I never expected to live through a pandemic,” says Katie Shaw, Digitally Lit’s PEI Youth Ambassador, a Grade 11 French Immersion student at Charlottetown Rural High. “Now more than ever I am grateful to have a position where I can reach out and stay connected with my peers.”
Spearheaded by Ms. Shaw, Digitally Lit’s Fan Fiction 2020 Creative Writing Contest was launched April 28, 2020 with the young winners just announced on Ms. Shaw’s social media feed.
Based on a selected excerpt from the YA novel Kira’s Secret by Orysia Dawydiak, First Place was awarded to 14-year-old Rowan Gibbon of Wellington, NS, for her creative writing submission. Meanwhile Second Place, based on a selected excerpt from the YA novel The Goodbye Girls by Lisa Harrington, was awarded to 13-year-old Darby Gibbon of Halifax, NS, for her entry. Meanwhile Third Place was a tie, awarded to both 15-year-old Danny Zhang of Wolfville NS, for his story continuation, based on a selected excerpt from the YA novel The Wereduck Code by Dave Atkinson, and 17-year-old Siobhan Armstrong of Charlottetown, PEI, for her continuation of a selected poem “Blue Potato,” from the poetry compilation These are not the potatoes of my youth by Matthew Walsh. Both 15-year-old Libby Gainson of Mount Uniacke, NS, and 25- year-old Amie Adams of Halifax, NS, received Honourable Mentions for their writing.
“I am so happy, and surprised! I tried a few different writing excerpts starting with The Goodbye Girls, and These are not the potatoes of my youth before deciding to work with Kira’s Secret,” says Rowan Gibbon, who took home First Place. “Now I really want to read the book to see if the ending I wrote is at all like the original...”
Rowan will receive an embossed Digitally Lit Fan Fiction 2020 Creative Writing Contest Certificate, signed by both Kira’s Secret’s Orysia Dawydiak and Youth Ambassador Katie Shaw. She will also receive $300 cash, an autographed copy of Kira’s Secret, as well as a voucher to purchase $50 worth of books from each of the participating Atlantic Canadian publishers-- a total value of $500.
Second prize winner Darby Gibbon also has a strong passion for writing.
“The style of writing is similar to mine, so I started brainstorming ideas that I found most exciting to write about. Once I got to work, I just kept going and I finished it quickly because I was inspired.”
Some of the authors have started to reach out with comments supporting the winners. Hugh Macdonald, author of And All the Stars Shall Fall was especially astonished by writing talent of one Honourable Mention.
“I was impressed by the confidence and skill you applied, Libbie. Your work showed a good knowledge of grammar, spelling, and punctuation. But the most important part of your effort was the use of your imagination in your choice of where the story should go and, in the dialogue, you developed for your characters. You did a fine job of all of those tasks.”
All youth residing within Atlantic Canada the past year and between 13-25 years old were eligible to compete. Their task: to write an “alternate” ending to an excerpt from a book published by an Atlantic Canadian author while mirroring the style and tone of the original author.