JUDGES HINTS AND TIPS
In this week's judges tips we are joined by our third new judge for this year's What's the Story competition, RTE's Rebecca Long.
ABOUT REBECCA LONG....
Rebecca Long graduated from Trinity College's inaugural Masters in Children's Literature in 2012. She is now working towards a PhD in Trinity, focusing on the importance of cultural heritage in Irish children's literature. She is a passionate advocate for children's literacy, and for the absolute need for children to have stories in their lives. Having presented the latest series of The Word for RTE Jr, she is keen to help children get even more involved with the world of books.
We spent some time with our new judge Rebecca this week to ask her a few questions and get some tips for those still working on their entries for this year's What's the Story? competition.......
Q: REBECCA, WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO JOIN IMAGINOSITY'S WHAT'S THE STORY? JUDGING PANEL THIS YEAR?
"I'm constantly talking about the face that children deserve good stories. That children deserve the best stories, and they do. But the Imaginosity What's the Story competition gives children the chance to write their very own stories, to tell the tales that they want to hear and to have the adventures that they are longing to have! These will be the best stories - and I can't wait to read them!"
Q: DID YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE STORY AS A CHILD?
"I was lucky enough to have a childhood full of books. I have as many favourite stories as I have memories of being read to, and of reading myself - so much so, that picking up some books is like going home. I remember being in Mr McGregor's garden with Peter Rabbit, and finding myself in Narnia with Lucy Pevensie. I went to Kilnevin with Patricia Lynch's Grey Goose, and I'll never forget the day I read a story about a girl with the same name as be - Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm!"
Q: HOW IMPORTANT IS THE CREATION OF AN IMAGINATIVE ENVIRONMENT FOR CHILDREN GROWING UP, PARTICULARLY IN THE EARLY YEARS?
"The books that we read in childhood affect us like no other books we read in our lifetime, and that's why it's so important that children have access to books, and even more importantly, that they are given the chance to develop a love of reading, and stories."
Q: HOW WOULD YOU ENCOURAGE IMAGINATION AND CREATIVITY IN CHILDREN?
"Children need to see the adults in their lives reading books, and they need to hear them talking about their favourite characters, and the faraway places they've visited in their imaginations. Children need to be surrounded by books in their homes, so they can see that the magic of reading, while fantastic and glorious, is an everyday magic, and one they can tap into whenever they like, every-time they open a book.
Every act of reading is an act of creativity and imagination, give children books and time, and they'll start to create their own stories, their own imaginary worlds.
Q: AND FINALLY, AS A JUDGE ON THE WHAT'S THE STORY? COMPETITION THIS YEAR, WHAT WILL YOU BE LOOKING FOR IN A WINNING ENTRY?
"For all the young story-makers eager to enter the competition. I just have one piece of advice - write the stories you want to read! Tell YOUR story, no matter what it might be, and always remember that no one can write it the way that you can. Your story is special, wonderful, and unique before you even write the first word! I will be looking for a story that grabs me in a bear hug from the very first sentence, and doesn't let me go until the end!"
Rebecca Long joins the What's the Story Judging Panel for 2016, along with Sheila O'Flanagan (International Best Selling Author), Jenny Murray (Acting Director, Children's Books Ireland), Peter Sheridan (Playwright and Author), Blathnaid Ni Chofaigh (RTE Broadcaster), Maeve Ingoldsby (Playwright and Author), Conor Hackett (Publishers Agent) and Liz Tyndall (Theatre and Programming Manager, Imaginosity).