Ocean’s Treasure proves a real gem

Talented writer Julia Wilkins has had her story The Ocean’s Treasure accepted into the prestigious Toitoi book Jillion 2.

The Year 9 student wrote the piece for the Toitoi journal last year, while still at intermediate. It was published in Edition 23 during Autumn 2021. On Tuesday 5 September, she found out it has now been accepted for the book.

“Both times I found out my story had been included, I was really excited! I think it’s awesome that I can say some of my work has been published.”

The Ocean’s Treasure is 1092 words, and is centred around a girl who loves the ocean. “She believes the ocean is her friend, even after going to a surf beach and being tossed around, having to be rescued by her parents,” says Julia.  “She finally learns that the ocean is dangerous when she almost drowns due to kelp: ‘I thought of the gift of kelp the ocean had given me. Now I was the kelp’s gift to the ocean’. The story ends with her avoiding the ocean, as she has learnt it’s true, dangerous nature.”

Julia says the inspiration for her story came from her own love for, and deep respect of, the ocean. “The part I wrote in the story where the girl is tossed around at a surf beach stemmed from my own experience being held under the water by waves at a surf beach. I also have a fear of drowning, even though I love the water, so I could really put my own fears into the end when the girl was drowning.

“I was also inspired after reading a really cool story in which the ocean was described as a person, and the story had beautiful descriptive language. I really enjoyed reading it and wanted to write my own piece on the ocean.”

Creative writing has been a long-time passion for Julia. “I love creative writing, and have a piece of work published in a WRITE ON magazine, issue 53. This, funnily enough, was about the ocean too! However, it was about snorkeling and a coral reef, so completely different to The Ocean’s Treasure. I am also in the process of writing a novel, but it’s a very long process! I started in Year 7, continued through Year 8, then at the start of this year, chose to rewrite it all! I’m currently in a stage where I’m working on the plot line and doing some worldbuilding, before continuing writing. My novel is called Storm Waking.”

Julia is also part of the Future Scenario Writing group at Westlake, and she is also planning to submit a piece for Parallax Journal.

“I love the freedom creative writing gives me, the ability to construct characters and worlds and live my dreams through my characters. One of these is flying – I love to write stories where characters have wings and can fly! I find it so much fun to weave together characters and a world, and then see the story, the art, I have created.”

A career in writing certainly seems a viable option for this young story-teller. “It’s one of my dreams to have a published book or series someday,” she says. “All of the careers I am interested in – author, journalist, actor, teacher – involve a lot of English, and writing.”

We’ll be watching your progress with interest, Julia. If you’d like to read The Ocean’s Treasure for yourself, you can do so by clicking  HERE.