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Posted by on in General

 

The task ahead of them was going to be tough, but armed with lots of passion, commitment, enthusiasm and a love of stories (and lots of tea and sambos!), our competition judges headed in to their final meeting to decide on the Winners and Runners Up in the Imaginosity 'What's the Story?' Story-Making Competition last week.

We received close to 500 entries from all corners of the country this year and Imaginosity staff had shortlisted the entries down to 5 or 6 entries in each of the 5 categories. The judges had been given two weeks in which to read all short-listed entries and make their decisions in time for last week's meeting. Some arrived firm in their stance on who should win in each category and were ready to battle it out with those who did not share their views! Others came undecided on some categories and certain on others. But each and every judge arrived filled with delight and wonder at the stories that they had spent the previous fortnight reading. Each commented on the quality, the standard, the imagination and the creativity involved in each story.

Judges Meeting 2014

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Posted by on in General

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Roisin Ingle, Daily Features Editor with The Irish Times is a member of our 'What's the Story?' Judging Panel for this year's competition. Here Roisin tells us of her own little story-tellers and the places that their imaginations take them and the stories that they tell!

I live with somebody who can make hailstones the size of golf balls appear from the sky with just a flick of her hand. She has turned me into a statue twice today. It's her magic powers you see. I live with someone else who thinks she's my boss. I go home from work and she makes me sit at a desk with my laptop, barking orders. " Make more work," she says in her harshest "boss voice". She's got a smile Julia Roberts would kill for so all I can do is comply.

Living with two four year olds can be exhausting but mostly it is the best fun I've ever had in my life. Why? Because they don't have any limits on their imagination. The stories they tell are the tallest stories you've ever heard. There's the time they went out to our tiny back yard and found fairies hiding behind the daffodil shoots. They were busy packing for a holiday on the moon. Or the time they met a teddy bear made of jelly and decided not to eat him. "His Mum who's a butterfly and his Dad who's a giant would be so sad," they explained, their blue eyes shot through with sincerity.

They can't write yet but I'm encouraging them to start making stories, setting them down for posterity in crayon and colouring pencil, helping them realise the stories they tell have the power to entertain, astound, move and shock. They take out their pencils and draw a girl trapped in a tower. Suddenly there are orange flames leaping out from the wobbly turrets and a ladybird arrives on a horse to rescue her. Then their junior infants teacher Miss Walkin emerges from a corner of the page with a bucket of water. To look at the page, a colourful mass of pencil marks, you wouldn't know any of this, but I've been told the story. And every part makes sense. It's often said that the Irish are a nation of storytellers. And if that's the case the young people of Ireland are our laureates. I can't wait to read all the entries to the Imaginosity competition. I hope my two laureates never stop making stories. Best of luck to all of yours.

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Posted by on in Imaginosity Events

On the 3rd of February Imaginosity launches its 2nd annual “What’s The Story” competition – a BIG competition for little storymakers! The competition is open to individual children from 3 to 8 years and classes from pre-school to second class. Thanks to our very generous sponsors the winning entries will receive fantastic prizes which include bikes, Imaginosity memberships, class trips to the museum, Construction Toys, Arts and Crafts materials, puppets and more! Last year I had the privilege of being chosen as the Imaginosity representative on the judging panel and I am thrilled to be granted the opportunity once again for this year’s competition.

The first time venturing into unchartered territory is always daunting and the launch of the inaugural “What’s the Story” was no exception. The press releases were sent, leaflets and posters printed and distributed – and so the wait for entries began! The stories came through the door in gentle drifts and flurries at first – one or two a day in the beginning, the flow gradually building momentum until eventually, in the last week, the poor postman was quite literally weighed down with packages, envelopes and giant parcels. From every corner of the country children from all walks of life had picked up pens, pencils, cameras and paintbrushes to reveal to us their stories, ideas, imaginings and memories. There was something incredibly special about being a part of this drive to tap into the creativity that is evidently brimming over in children across the land.

Of course as the entries piled up in the office, I was cruelly barred from sneaking even the tiniest peek as the readers trawled through the many colourful pages. As a judge, my first glimpse of the stories was to only be after the arduous task of shortlisting was completed – a task which was valiantly (but admittedly with great delight!) taken on by Marketing Manager Ciara and General Manager Jenny.

When we eventually got there, the judging process was fun and rewarding but TOUGH – we had 5 shortlisted entries in each category and every piece of work was so different, each with its own individual strengths and merits, that we debated, discussed, yelled at each other and threw chairs full force across the room (ok, that’s an exaggeration - but as our young authors would certainly agree, what’s a story without a bit of colour?). We eventually managed to whittle down to our winners and runners up but it wasn’t an easy process! In the end the winning entrants were a mix of poetry, biography, illustrated stories and comic strips – we had tales of adventure, everyday family life and visitors from outer space to name a few.

Both Imaginosity and the competition entrants were lucky to have each and every piece of work considered and studied by a judging panel studded with such bright stars and big brains of the creative industry. It was interesting to observe the style preferences of each judge – RTE presenter Blathnaid Ni Chófaigh understandably had a grá for the entries we received as gaeilge just as Illustrator Chris Judge was a valuable commentator on the animated stories that made it to the shortlist. We are sincerely grateful that many of our judges will resume their seats this year and are also honoured to be joined by new faces such as Paul Howard of “Ross O’Carroll Kelly” fame and Irish Times journalist Roisin Ingle.

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