Young writers urged to share their stories

Young writers have been urged to come forward and produce reading materials for the children. 

The message comes from poet, artist and author, Papali’i Momoe Malietoa, who won the 2018 Samoa Observer Tusitala Short Story competition.

“For literacy in our country, our kids really need reading materials that are contextualised into our own situations, in our own area like the Pacific, our own stories, you don’t have to get a fairy tale to teach how we feel although the basics of that is storytelling,” Papali’i told the Sunday Samoan.

“I think if you want to be a writer, you don’t have to search to far away from your front door to find materials you need to write about. You can write about your cupboard, your blue cup, whatever that is there that inspires you to write and go further into memory lane. 

“If there is a writer out there, please put pen to paper, our kids really need to identify themselves.”

Papali’i advises writers to be brave and believe in themselves, the power of their words and imagination.  

“You just have to keep telling yourself that you are good enough, if you can write, I can write. You see those people they live with those stories, so likewise with our stories, we can retell them the way we want,” Papali’i said. 

“You know sometimes we are very scared. I teach children who are so scared to even put a pencil onto paper, they’ve never been taught how to draw, how to write. 

“So I go along get their hands like this and push it onto the paper to get them to draw an image because sometimes within yourself you’re are so scared, you don’t want to get over that hurdle and say oh I’m not good enough.”

Once you are a writer, you will always be a writer, no matter the challenges that come your way, she said.  

“The real challenge is your domestic surroundings, you know you have to cook, you have to care for your family, the fa’alavelaves and all that hinder your writing and stops the flow of creativity when you want to create something like write or paint. 

“So when something comes up, you have to stop. But once you a writer, you will always be a writer. You have fun with words; you weave words into all sorts of stories.” 

Papali’i also took time to acknowledge the speech made by China’s Ambassador to Samoa, Wang Xuefeng, during the prizegiving. 

“It is encouraging, and in particular I think this is very important, the recognition by the Chinese Ambassador and his wife of this writing project and developing it,” Papali’i said. 

“I really admired what he said last night (Friday), it really sort of changed the perspective of how we look at the approaches that China has because we always read that China is doing this, China is doing that in our country, but when I heard Ambassador Wang speak, he was very in-depth in his regard for writing. 

“And obviously he has a big background as a man of literacy knowledge to go to the length of even translating our stories into their own language, and that gives the point of view that stories have a more universal appeal, it doesn’t stop here on our bit of land, it goes further than that. So it was really a pleasure to hear him speak last night.” 

Papali’i said Mr. Wang’s speech changed her whole perspective of the Chinese idiom and what they do in Samoa. 

 

The FINALISTS 

Australia - New Zealand category

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WILD GIRL by Lani Wendt-Scanlan

YOU’VE WORKED HARD OFFICIAL by Leueta Mulipola

MOTHER’S KIPOKI by Destiny Fruean

HOME by Caroline Hunt

OLD MAN AT SEFULU by Natalia Fareti

THE HIGH CHIEF’S DAUGHTER by Letecia Atelia

WINNER: Home by Caroline Hunt

Rest of the Pacific category 

A PRIVILEGED LIFE DENIED by Sarote Erasito

HER GLITTERING ACT by Lusiana Mulo

THE SHACKLED BALLERINA by Rohini Balram

THE MISILUKI BROTHERS by Kelleah Young

THE REMEMBERING by Marlene Dee Gray

WINNER: Her Glittering Act by Lusiana Mulo

Samoa Category

THE BREAKDOWN by Benjamin Harding 

MEMORIES ARE MADE WITH IT by Hannah Fretton

AVEA - TAKEN by Papali’i Momoe Malietoa von Reiche 

REUNION by Fiona Collins-Toalepai - (husband attending)

PULETASI by Sharon Mona

WINNER: Avea – Taken by Papali’i Momoe Malietoa von Reiche 

OVERALL WINNER OF THE 2018 SAMOA OBSERVER TUSITALA SHORT STORY COMPETITION 

AVEA - TAKEN by Papali’i Momoe Malietoa von Reiche 

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