Language of the imagination

The Namibia-Wales ‘Stories for Children’ Competition 2021 was launched in Windhoek last week.

17 November 2020 | Education

Working once more in collaboration, under the banner of the Phoenix Project, the University of Namibia and Cardiff University in Wales (UK) launched the second Writing Competition on Monday, 9 November.

They are calling on up-and-coming as well as experienced authors to submit short stories, written in English, which are suitable for children aged between seven and 15 years.

The competition is the dream-child of Professor Jairos Kangira, the dean of the faculty of humanities and social sciences at the University of Namibia (Unam), who is also an author of children’s stories; Tim Davies of Cardiff University, who is a widely published author of short stories and plays; and Professor Judith Hall, Cardiff University’s lead for the Phoenix Project.

The Phoenix Project is a partnership between Cardiff University and the University of Namibia.

“Writing stories for children promotes a reading culture at an early stage in both countries. We want to catch them young so that they grow up reading books. Reading books helps children to learn about the world around them and beyond. The intercultural dimension of this writing competition is of great importance for Namibia and Wales,” Kangira said.

Davies added that last year’s competition went very well, and they look forward to an even more successful event in 2021. “Why not take pen to paper or even sit down at your computer and get involved? This time, the organisers are hoping to receive interesting and exciting new stories to inspire our children,” he said.

The Short Fiction for Children Competition 2021 will be an open competition for anyone resident in Namibia and Wales and will be open to entries from 9 November to 30 April 2021.

There are stipulated rules to which authors must adhere to, and organisers are clear that plagiarism is a crime and it will be checked for, and will not be tolerated.

Three small monetary prizes will be offered by the Phoenix Project for the winners. The competition first round saw four winners being awarded prizes: Nabeelah Suleman, Mel Kelly and Mundia Mercy Mubuyaeta from Namibia, and Karen Pierce from Wales.

“Last year’s stories are already providing a legacy of reading; the stories were warm and funny but also challenging for children. We are building this legacy of tales where we can learn through the power of our stories, so bring on the Second Competition,” Hall said.

Professor Kenneth Matengu, the vice-chancellor of the University of Namibia, stressed the importance of reading for the children of Namibia and Wales. “In both countries, children learn in multiple languages, which gives them a wonderful start in life, however the language of focus here is the language of the imagination. Let us see more of this!”

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