Who doesn’t want the ability to travel through time? Imagine being able to witness historic moments first-hand. Being able to gawp at the wonders of the past, or be dazzled by the developments of the future. Or just being able to see one’s lost loved ones again.
Twenty young writers, aged between 11 and 15, used their imaginations to come up with their own unique story of travelling through time. These stories are now contained in a book, Spiral Through Time, published by MPH Group Publishing.
Spiral Through Time was edited by freelance journalist, editor and trainer Brigitte Rozario, and was the result of Rozario’s Junior Writer’s Programme, a young writer’s programme that took place from January to July of 2018.
Through the programme, the young participants were trained in a variety of writing skills, including introductions and conclusions, dialogue, characters, descriptions and editing.
“I think the programme went very well. There are many kids in Malaysia who are very keen to learn to write. I was very surprised,” said Rozario, speaking at the launch of the book in Subang Jaya, Selangor, last month.
“I’m glad they learnt something from it. To have this book in their hands at this age, that’s amazing. I think it’s an experience they won’t forget any time soon. Hopefully, it will inspire them not only to write, but to tell their stories, and to give back to society.”
Proceeds from the sale of the book will go to Yayasan Chow Kit, a foundation seeking to empower at-risk children and teens at Chow Kit, Kuala Lumpur.
According to Rozario, 51, the idea for the programme started after she was first approached by a couple whose daughter is a budding writer. However, there were no classes out there to help her. Inspired, Rozario decided to try a writing programme of her own, first mentoring two girls last year. When that was successful, she decided to expand her classes. About 60 young writers first applied, with 20 participants eventually making the cut.
The second edition of this programme will begin later this month, with Rozario already having picked her 20 lucky participants.
“I think many adults will be surprised to find that children can write like this. Storytelling is a very important skill today. Many companies use storytelling to share information about their brands, their organisation, their leaders, their philosophy, with the world. If you master storytelling, you can make connections with another person, or with society, and that can take you far in life,” said Rozario.
The authors featured in this collection are Adam Hakeemi Mohd Badrul Ezan (15), Alia Amira Muhd Dawud (13), Aqilah Ghani Ahmad (14), Colin Pui (11), Dhanyeta Devi Sarawana Kumar (13), Edwin Eldho Paul (13), Era Berkolli (12), Germaine Soo (13), Huang Wei Zheng (13), Jaf Iessa Jaf Faizal (14), Jasmine Amelia Tiedermann Muhammad Johan (12), Liaw Zi Yi (14), Mechail Manish Chelvam (12), Melany Yoon (12), Nada Syuhada Shahrizan (14), Natalie Toh (12), Sameera Shanker (14), Teioh Nuan Ning (13), Wan Raihana Wan Adlan Affandy (12) and Woo Der Yuan (14).
All the stories in this collection are brimming with imagination and youthful exuberance, many of them featuring love, humour and mystery – and sadness, too, demonstrating the surprising depths of these young writers.
Many of the young authors talked about having had a lot of fun during the programme, and that they had learnt a lot about writing through Rozario’s sessions.
“I enjoyed it a lot. I learnt about plot, and drama. There was this session which I learnt about comedy, I loved that! I had such a good time,” said Mechail Manish Chelvam, 12.
Mechail, a Grade Seven student at Taylor’s International School Kuala Lumpur, has aspirations of writing novels, movie scripts and video games. His story, “Em’s Travelogue: Bill, Pyramids And Mullets”, is about an alien game show.
Alia Amira Muhd Dawud’s story, “The Hole”, is about an introverted boy who meets an extroverted girl, and is “mixed with fantasy, because she likes dinosaurs”. The Idrissi International School student, who aspires to be an Air Force pilot, joined the programme to improve her writing and storytelling skills.
“It was so fun. Brigitte is fun, and really nice. And her ideas are very good,” said Alia, 13.