Putting pen to paper
EVEN as a wide eyed preschooler, Wangaratta teenager Steph Grant had an intense fascination with books, stories and creating her own narrative.
She recalls being read fairytales and then spending time imagining her own spin on them, even before she started school.
At the age of about five or six, she got busy creating her own book about a girl whose hair was turned to straw, even stapling it togeher and creating the illustrations.
It is a passion that has become more powerful than ever and has led to her being an active member of Wangaratta High School’s Scribblers Club, as well as being one of the many young locals who have entered the Wangaratta Young Writers’ Award in the forthcoming Wang Lit Fest.
The award has seen entries flooding in from schools across the district.
“It’s really good they’re getting kids involved and encouraging that kind of interest,” said Steph, who loves spending time with like minded friends as part of Scribblers - a long standing group at the school which brings together keen readers and writers alike.
Her personal favourite books are generally fantasy novels with strong social issue-oriented themes, with author Jackie French and JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series being among her favourites, and Steph said her own stories included serious themes from an early age. “I’ve got a lot of ideas,” she said. “I’ve developed quite a few ideas for a long time.”
Now in year eight, she is a prolific short story writer, has won a handful of competitions and been published in magazines, and said she is keen to keep developing her stories and even write a novel someday.
Steph explained she enjoyed the power and control authors have in creating their own worlds.
“I love being able to create someone, create a world and create a story,” she said.
“To make other people love the story as well, that’s the best feeling.”
Steph is equally passionate about reading, loving “being sucked into these entire new dimensions, and new realities, and just being able to be part of another world”.
Steph said she is excited to participate in the Wang Lit Fest this year, saying it was good to see a literature based festival locally.
“It’ll be great to have a whole festival,” she said, adding that she is also keen for the festival’s book fair and author sessions.
“I want to get tips from people who’ve been through the process.
“It’s really good that they’re getting kids involved and encouraging that kind of interest.”
Plenty of entries for the Wangaratta Young Writers’ Award have also flooded in from many small schools in the region, including Myrrhee Primary School.
The school’s principal, Ash Graham, said the school has a strong culture of creative writing, and he said his students have really embraced the challenges of preparing written pieces for the award, with most of the children in the school preparing pieces to be judged.
“It seems some interesting stories have come out of it,” he said.
“It’s nice to have an award recognising academic excellence and creative abilities,” Ash said.
He praised the organising team for their efforts in putting together the Wang Lit Fest, saying it was a positive thing for the local community.
“It shows the community regards literature highly,” Ash said.
The Wangaratta Young Writers’ Award is part of the forthcoming Wang Lit Fest, which will take place in Wangaratta on June 9-10 and which includes a host of activities, including a book fair, workshops and more.
Additional information on the festival is available on wanglitfest. com.au.
YOUNG WORDSMITH: Wangaratta High School student Steph Grant has been an avid reader and writer and is among the local youngsters entering the Young Writers Award at the upcoming Wang Lit Fest.
SCRIBBLING AWAY: Myrrhee Primary School student Andrew Groves is among the keen young scribes from that school entering the Wang Lit Fest’s Young Writers Award.