Triple celebration for Samoa Observer Tusitala Short Story competition

There will be three reasons to celebrate Pacific writers and literacy this evening at the Sheraton Samoa Aggie Grey’s Hotel in Apia.

A Chinese translation of the book of short stories from the annual 2016 Samoa Observer Tusitala Short Story Competition and compiled in the publication, ‘Only the Word Survives’, will be launched.

The stories, from writers throughout the Pacific have been translated by Samoa’s Chinese Ambassador Wang Xuefeng and Madam Tong Xin.

Last year “Our Heritage, the Ocean”, the publication from the 2015 competition, was also translated by the couple while the book’s cover design was the work of their son.

Distributed in China at universities and the Foreign Affairs department, the first translation has reportedly been instrumental in providing an authentic glimpse of life in the Pacific to Chinese readers.    

In a second book launch tonight, stories from the 2017 short story competition have been compiled under the title, ‘The Pacific is Rising’. This book includes local author, Jenny Bennett’s acclaimed story, “Matalasi” which subsequently was a winner in the prestigious Commonwealth Short Story Competition. 

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This book will be available from S.S.A.B. outlets and the Samoa Observer Office in Apia And in the third cause for celebration, Regional Winners and the Overall Winner of the 2018 story competition will be announced.

Committee Member, Marj Moore said it doesn’t stop there.

 “There will be a 2019 competition and the stories of this year’s winners as well as those that were Highly Commended, will again be compiled and published in a book in the new year.”

Moore said that the original idea of a competition came from Samoa Observer’s Editor in Chief, Gatoaitele Savea Sano Malifa.

 “As a writer and poet, he has always been generous about sharing opportunities for other writers to have their work read by more than just a few. It was at his insistence, that the stories be published in a book; for writers to become authors.”

Moore said that initially, publishing a book, was only made possible by extra financial support from the New Zealand High Commission and the business community. However in the past few years, it has been the Chinese Embassy that has supported the competition and expanded its reach with the translated editions.  

The competition, begun in 2015, is organised for writers to enter their stories in one of three Pacific areas: Australia and New Zealand; the rest of the Pacific Islands and Samoa. The Overall Winner is then chosen from the three winners from those three regions. In addition, Highly Commended stories from the regions are also published in the book to follow, providing a wonderful opportunity for writers.

Learn more at www.tusitalacompetition.com

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