Last weekend I had the pleasure of judging a young author’s contest along with a number of other teachers from around Ontario. Student work was submitted by teachers, and each board selected one entry from 7 age categories and within each age, several genres (e.g. non-fiction, short story, poem, etc.) in English and French. We were judging the best of the best.
I’ve been teaching for 14 years and in that time I have seen many excellent pieces of writing cross my desk. But the work I saw while judging those awards was absolutely phenomenal. I began with the senior short story entries, and it didn’t take long before I was reading stories which could have easily been crafted by adult authors with many years under their belts. To see students writing with such wit, emotion, and cleverness, blew me away. Though I’ve been writing myself for a long (long, long) time, I don’t think I was that good at the same age. In fact, I might go so far as to say I still don’t write that well.
After we had finished with the seniors, we moved on to the grade 7 & 8 short stories. Once again, the talent I saw astounded me, and this time from students as young as 12 years old. It was extremely difficult to choose just one winner, and I spent a lot of time arguing with myself over which story was the best. And then I had to sit with another judge who had read the same stories, and we had to agree which one would be first.
I’m so excited to see so many talented young writers out there! It is my fervent hope that those of you who enjoy writing never give it up. It isn’t an easy path, but it’s very rewarding. I hope that one day I’ll see your name in print, too.
X5 by Diana Stager
Coming soon to Evernight Teen
Being a socially awkward geek with anger management issues has made Travis Armstrong an outcast, but on top of that, he has visions of the future. Not that he can tell anyone that, except in an anonymous online forum. When he takes a chance and meets with another group member, he winds up at The Bunker, where everyone has these abilities, and where, finally, he feels like he belongs.
Tara Gage has been at The Bunker since she was thirteen years old. Even among the residents there, she’s unique, and her special talents lead her to discover that The Bunker is not the safe haven it seems to be. She’s desperate to escape and get back to her family.
When they each have visions of the other’s death, Travis and Tara know they have to run. With their captors desperate to get them back, they must rely on each other to get away before their visions become reality.
Diana Stager never met a book she didn’t like. An avid reader from a very early age, she discovered she loved writing her own stories down. She dreamed of being able to write a book, but more sensible ambitions shoved that dream onto the back burner. Over the years, she dabbled with the written word, but always had difficulty finding the right story. Then, one day the light bulb went on, an idea was born, and the rest is history (so cliché but so true).
Diana lives in Southwestern Ontario, Canada in a house full of books. In the space that’s left, are her husband of 13 years, two children, a cat, and a fish, all of whom are adorable. Well, maybe not the fish. It’s kind of creepy actually. She’s an elementary school teacher, who loves music and art, and even plays the flute in a community band.