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Young Laois students show off their writing skills

The budding young writers who took part in the Portlaoise Rotary Club Reflection event

Over 50 students recently took part in Young Writer Competition “Reflection” organised by Portlaoise Rotary Club.

“In this way we encourage talented young people to polish their skills and develop their passion,” said Fintan Monahan of Portlaoise Rotary Club.

“Books or rather literature its an important part of human history, because it is the written word that gave the beginning to the growth of our civilisation. That is why Rotary Club is organising a competition that will encourage young people to show the world their creation, to express their emotions on paper and develop their own writing style,” he said.

“55 students took part in the competition. And although everyone wrote a great piece of work, we had to select the few – explained Fintan during the ceremony, which took place 22 nd of May in Dunamase Theatre. – It was a very difficult task, because we liked all the works. And the standards were high, which were judged by Anita Donoher, Frank Parker, Margret Day, Mary Heaney and Orlagh McCrory,” he said.

In their opinion the best piece was written by Kate Miller, followed by Chloe Seymour and Aoife Murphy, followed by Emily Miller, Damilola Adepoju, Ben Hyland, Ellen Delaney, Niamh Ryan, Arine Demian, Siobhan Kelly and Rebecca Keane.

Talented writer Kate Miller

Although, as Kasjana Jatkowska, from Portlaoise Rotary Club emphasised – all participants deserved a prize.

“Art is like a capricious lady and it’s not always followed by inspiration, but every word written in this competition is important, because it came from your heart and minds. You are just starting your literary journey, but it obvious that you have a talent. Only never give up,” she said.

Famous writers

She emphasised that famous writers worked hard. Tolstoy said that you have to write every day. Stephen King writes every day and does not finish till he reaches his daily goal of 2000 words. And Alice Munro – Nobel Prize winner, was a mother and a writer, she only had few brief moments during the day to write when her younger daughter was asleep.

That is why Rotarians and judges sincerely encouraged young people to keep on writing and present their work next year for young writer competition.

Read the winning entry below…


By Kate Miller

Real nice. It makes her look real nice. Much nicer than before. It’s a dark, purple kind of colour. Like the bruised plums always left in the fruit bowl. Not like the lipsticks Momma wears. Momma’s are bright reds. Not like the reds you get in the packs of colouring pencils. Momma’s reds are different.

They’re the types of reds that apples are in storybooks. The types of reds you wish Gina’s hair is because her hair is actually orangey even though she calls it red. Momma’s reds make her look real pretty. But this lipstick makes Babygirl look nice.

It doesn’t matter that it’s pushed up too far so it’s all squished like a playdoh sausage. It doesn’t matter that it’s not staying inside the lines. It doesn’t even matter that the mirror’s cracked from where Poppa tried to put his fist through the wall. None of it matters because she looks real nice.

Her head looks funny. A crack goes across her nose so the top half of her head looks wonky. It doesn’t join onto the bottom half properly. It makes her laugh. She looks so funny that she laughs again. She really shouldn’t be laughing. Not when Momma’s crying. She can’t hear Momma crying but she knows she is. She knows because Poppa is shouting and whenever Poppa’s shouting, Momma is crying. Poppa shouts a lot. Just like Mr. Elson. Except when Poppa shouts, he throws stuff. And hits stuff. Like the mirror. Or Momma. She shouldn’t be laughing but she is.

There’s purple on her teeth now. It looks like she just ate a plum. But she didn’t. She never does.

That’s why they’re always left in the fruit bowl. She’s trying to wipe it off. Really carefully. Her eyes are squinting because it’s kind of hard to see herself properly in the mirror. Cracked. It’s getting all foggy now. Like Momma smoked a cigarette in here. But she didn’t. She never does. She only smokes them out the bathroom window. Secret. She can’t really get all the purple off. Maybe she’ll just close her mouth and pretend it’s not there. No one will know. No one will see. Perfect. She looks real nice again. Wonky, but nice.

“Babygirl you look real nice.” Momma is in the cracked mirror too. Her reflection doesn’t look funny.

She looks kind of wonky but it doesn’t make Babygirl laugh. Momma is wearing purple too. But it’s not on her lips. It’s all around her eye and on her cheek. And she’s wearing red. On her lip. But it’s not her red. It’s a different one. An ugly one. The type you get when you draw on the wall with permanent marker and try to rub it off but it just won’t go away. It just won’t. It just stays there, and you hate it.

Babygirl stands up on her chair. She reaches up to Momma’s cheek. She leaves purple plum kisses all over. Now the purple looks just right. Purple plum kisses. Hide the purple bruises. Just like Momma’s kisses cure Babygirl when she’s hurting. Pretty red hides ugly red. Kisses hide knuckles.

The door slams downstairs. The mirror shatters. But Momma and Babygirl don’t.

SEE ALSO – Two charities partner to bring therapy services to Laois children

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A journalist for over 20 years, David has worked for a number of regional titles both as journalist and editor. From Tullamore he also works as a content editor for Independent.ie. His heroes include Shane Lowry, Seamus Darby and Johnny Flaherty