At the beginning of March this year, when we were still in sixth grade, my teacher sent us an email. I didn’t think much of it at the time. It was a link to Pearson’s (the publishing company) website, informing us about and advertising one of their competitions. Pearson wanted us to submit a short story, and if selected, it would be published in a new book: MyPedia Reader. It was to be written “For children, by children.”
A day or two after Miss sent us the email, she asked me, personally, to enter a story. I seriously doubted that anything I submitted would even be acknowledged, so just re-edited and submitted a story I had written in fifth grade. It was about an African-American girl who made candy and earned billions of dollars at the age of nine. The main intention of the story was to show people that no one but themselves can set their own limits.
So, I submitted the story and, naturally, forgot about the competition. One day, in the middle of summer break, I received an email saying the results for the competition were out. I clicked the link, poorly masking my hope with boredom. I scrolled through the webpage and read my name. I still didn’t believe my story was getting published, not until I got a congratulations mail from Pearson.
After that, there was a lot of waiting. For legal work to be completed, for event venues to be finalized, there seemed to be an endless list. Finally, the event organization group informed us that there would be a Storytelling workshop on the 27 of November 2017, and a book launch the next day.
At the workshop, we learnt how to tell a story not only through words, but through pictures and paintings. We learnt some of an ancient Indian art forms, then applied our knowledge to illustrate (as an activity) our stories with that particular art form. The book launch was hours on end of talking, answering audience questions, answering media questions during a panel discussion, and so much more. We each (the other winners present, too) received a certificate, a check (money ), and a free copy of the book.
To reflect, I am grateful beyond words for this experience, and thank everyone who made it possible.