By Kathy Yanchus
Waterdown resident Lisa Jefferies took top honours in two categories in the Hamilton Public Library’s annual Power of the Pen Creative Writing Contest.
Not only did the Grade 11 St. Mary Catholic Secondary School student win first prize in both the age 15 poetry and short story categories, but Jefferies was awarded the Maitland Banting Silver Quill Award presented by The Hamilton Association for the Advancement of Literature, Science and Art (HAALSA), in recognition of “clarity of thought expressed through superior use of language.”
When she found out she had swept her age group, Jefferies said she was surprised.
“I asked Kat (Kat Drennan-Scace, community youth librarian) if she was serious,” smiled Jefferies, who also placed second in the age 14 short story category last year.
Jefferies said she has always enjoyed writing, although she doesn’t have as much time these days to pursue it.
“When I was younger, I used to write tons of stories all the time.”
Even though the recognition and awards are nice, and further motivate her to continue writing and entering contests, the young author feels it’s important to write for yourself, even if the end result is not an award or money.
“It’s a good outlet. It’s something I like to do,” said Jefferies.
Awards were handed out at the Central Library and included a second place Millgrove’s Mark Elgersma for his poetry in the age 14 category.
A call for entries for the 19th annual Power of the Pen contest, presented in partnership with the Hamilton Spectator, will go out in March with entries in seven age categories, 12 to 18, accepted until the end of August. Winners will be announced in November with the awards ceremony in January 2014.
This year there were close to 300 entries, including some submitted as class creative writing projects, said Drennan-Scace.
The contest is important in encouraging young writers and creativity within the community, she added.
“It’s open to anyone in southern Ontario,” said Drennan-Scace. “It’s such a pleasure working on the event; there’s just some phenomenal writing, great levels of talent.”
Watch the library web site, hpl.ca/teens for upcoming information on this year’s contest. Submissions can be made online, which is great for residents who live outside the city, and also for those who may not have easy access to an abundance of library programming, Drennan-Scace said.