Idea ‘unfurls’ into award-winning prose

By Julia Wilkins, Year 10
Accomplished Author

Recently, I just found out that I won the High School category for the Barfoot and Thompson’s Young Author Challenge annual writing competition. This means not only do I receive some prize money and books, but Westlake Girls also receives $1,000 of prize money and $1,000 worth of books!

I love to write, creative writing is my passion. When I submitted my story, I didn’t really think anything would come of it since there are so many schools and lots of entries. After a while, I completely forgot about the competition. Then, the day before my birthday, while sitting in Social Studies class, my phone started ringing in my pocket. My mum tried to call me in the middle of class, so I was very alarmed and emailed her asking what was wrong. This was when I saw the email telling me I had won the high school category, and the message from my mother (all in caps lock) screaming with excitement.

I wore a ridiculous smile for the entire afternoon.

My mum is a teacher, and she was getting her class to enter the primary level competition. She was the one who suggested I enter. The theme was ‘a great day out’, and while I wasn’t initially inspired by this broad prompt, an idea slowly unfurled itself in my mind. After a few days of it taking shape in my subconscious, I finally pulled up a blank document and started writing.

This year, I signed up to do windsurfing through Westlake Girls at Lake Pupuke with Madloop Windsurfing. I loved it. There’s just something about being out on the lake, with water under your board, the sun glinting off the lake, and a wind in your sails. I feel connected to nature and just so free. While the weekly sessions only went on for a term, my joy for windsurfing led me to continue going to the lake, even as the weather got colder. The most recent time I was windsurfing, it was raining and the wind had turned the water into a rushing mess of dark grey and blue. It was a challenge to windsurf in the conditions, but it was so exhilarating.

This experience is my story; a descriptive, slightly exaggerated (the amount of storminess, at least) piece of writing inspired by one girl’s love of storms and windsurfing.

You can read Julia’s awesome story HERE