Scribbling for Scratch

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
May 20th, 2010

Two young wordsmiths from RSS have scribbled their way into Scratch magazine and placed themselves one step closer to a $1,000 grand prize. Amid tales of vampires in a Kootenay high school and love stories from the open road, the prose of Aanika Ruutopold and Julia Mason has made it to the top ten in this year’s Scratch Writing Challenge.


Open to all youth from 15 to 29 years of age, the Columbia Basin Trust launched the writing challenge this year. After putting out the call for some fantastic fiction 3,000 to 5,000 words in length, the trust received 44 submissions in total.


“The Writing Challenge was a new way for us to engage with youth and to form new partnerships with Selkirk College, the College of the Rockies, and others from the literary field that will be beneficial to the youth whowill continue to participate in SCRATCH Magazine,” said Michelle d’Entremont, CBT Basin Youth Liaison.


After whittling down the field to the top ten entries, the remaining budding scribes were sent off to an editing bootcamp of sorts to hone their work into quality, publishable pieces. Finalists were matched up with accomplished local writer Louanne Armstrong to perfect their entries. Working with an award-nominated writer, editor and teacher, needless to say, has made a lasting impact on these young writers.


“The chance to work with Luanne was great. I definitely picked up quite a few things that will undoubtedly boost my writing performance,” commented finalist Ismael Bernier of Kaslo.


Heather Maisel, the library director in Castlegar, referred to Mason’s story, “It all started with a dual flush toilet” as, “a poignant look at one girl’s struggle to return to everyday life after her father’s death. As the clever title suggests, an unlikely object jumpstarted her family’s recovery.”


Ruutopold’s story “The Wishing Bridge”, on the other hand, was reviewed by Angie Adou, a teacher at the College of the Rockies in Cranbrook as “a cautionary tale that examines the darker edges of human nature. It criticizes people’s need to exploit the magical for personal profit.”


You’ll be able to read and critique both young women’s entries along with those of the other eight finalists when they are published this June in Scratch Magazine’s Summer Reading Edition. Grand prize winners will also be announced in June. There will also be a Reader’s Choice Award given out later in the summer, after the stories have been published.


If you’re looking for a good, quick read, to support our young up and coming authors, or perhaps the opportunity to someday say you knew a famous writer when they were just starting out, you can pick up the next copy of Scratch in June.


The two Rossland finalists will be recognized for their achievements in June with a public award ceremony and reading at Cafe Books West.


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