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Secondary school student wins folktale writing contest

The winner of a recent folktale writing contest, Ms Chindavong Souvannamethy, 18, is quite rightly most pleased and proud of her achievement.
The young writer took out the title with her winning story named Piviseth (a traditional flute) which tells the tale of a magic instrument that can grant wishes to the person playing it.
Ms Chindavong was taken aback to win the prize given it was the first time she had entered such a contest.
As the winner she was awarded one million kip along with a certificate to record her achievement.
Ms Chindavong loves writing, particularly stories and folktales, so it was fortuitous the contest organising committee held a workshop to inform her school which encouraged her and her friends to take part in the project.

A proud Ms Chindavong displays her prizes.   --Photos Visith.

But winning hasn’t come easy as many hours of work hard have gone into attending writing lessons with tutors and practising her craft. Fortunately, the contest judges recognised her efforts with the title.
Ms Chindavong lives in Dongnaxok village, Sikhottabong district and is a Year 7 student at the nearby Vientiane Ho Chi Minh Secondary School. She likes art and sports but has a real passion for learning, actively studying at both school and home with a particular talent for writing.
Speaking about her achievement the young writer said she would use it as a stepping stone in her endeavours.
“This is the first time I’ve taken part in this contest and it’s also the first time I’ve ever won a prize. I love writing and absolutely will continue to develop my writing skills in the future,” she said.
“I would like to thank the organising committee for giving the opportunity to young people, including those with disabilities. This project is very interesting and useful because it encourages children to show their writing abilities. Of course, if there is a chance I will compete on another stage,” she added.
The contest results and awards ceremony took place on April 1 at the National Library in Sivilay village, Xaythany district, Vientiane, hosted by the Book Development and Reading Promotion House and attended by organising committee members, the judging panel and members of the public.
The contest was part of a folktale writing workshop for teenage authors titled ‘Developing Children’s Books with the Theme - Children with Disabilities’ held on January 25-26 and February 18-19.
The workshop aimed to build young writers’ skills and confidence as well as creating books that all children could read and enjoy.
The event was jointly organised by the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism and Pum Anh, a Lao social enterprise. 
Participating in the workshop and contest were 25 students, including those with disabilities, from Vientiane Ho Chi Minh Secondary School, Vientiane Secondary School, Chantabouly Secondary School, Sinxay School and Phiavat Secondary School.
The first workshop explored how writers can prepare their tales and put pen to paper using games, group writing activities and structured discussions on plot, setting and character.
In the second workshop, the authors shared draft stories with their peers and with professional children’s book writers/editors for feedback.
After the workshop, the final draft story with a written description including setting and characters was submitted to the organising committee for review by a team of three judges.
The judges selected 15 stories for consideration in the last stage with Ms Chindavong’s entry declared the winner.
Producing a greater number of interesting and inspiring stories in the Lao language by and for young people has long been a goal for the country’s readers, writers and educators alike.
The winning stories including Piviseth by Ms Chindavong will be further improved and published for the public.



By Visith Teppalath
(Latest Update April 29 , 2017 )


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