International accolades for young writer
“It was a high counsel that I once heard given to a young person, ‘Always do what you are afraid to do.’” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Some people just have to write. It’s a feeling inside their gut, a niggling sensation that forces them to sit and muse and scratch things out, screw up drafts and begin again. It’s a solitary activity, but, for those who persevere, incredibly rewarding.
Year 7 student Jason Cleary-Gorton is no stranger to the art of crafting a story. In Year 6 – while at St Andrew’s Junior School – he was awarded first place in the Lionel Bowen Young Writers’ Award. Since then, he has received a ‘Highly Commended’ award in the NSW Story Writing Competition for students in Year 7 and 8 (hosted by the Australian Storytelling Guild), won first prize in the Victorian Cancer Council’s Children’s Writing Award and has now been named a finalist in the Laura Thomas Communications Junior Author Short Story contest, an international competiton. The plot, Jason explains, revolves around an Italian man sent to Spain with the task of setting up a shipping dock, for none other than the King of England. It is fiction based in history, with the dock destined to enable an English fleet attack on the French. “I’m not sure of how I thought of it,” says Jason, of his tale. “I just sat down to write it and the idea came to me.”
When Jason is writing, it’s all about getting swept up in his own imagination and not worrying about a potential audience’s evaluation. It’s a personal experience, a skill he continually hones by investing time, passion and research. “I just get into it and only think about the story,” the Middle School student explains. “I haven’t done any creative writing courses. I just try to write as often as I can.”
Inspired by writers like John Flanagan – “he is very descriptive with his writing which helps to create a mental picture” – Jason is just at the beginning of his own literary journey. The accolades he is receiving, while welcome, are for the most part an encouragement to push himself further. “It feels great knowing that people like my writing and it inspires me to write more.”