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Story writing competition ‘The Next Wave’ launches

In a bid to find the next generation of writers on the Rock, Rosanna Morales and Sophie Clifton-Tucker have created ‘The Next Wave’ and launched it with a story writing competition.

Ms Morales told the Chronicle that the idea was born during last year’s Gibraltar Literature Week, where there was a lot of discussion as to whether there is such a thing as ‘Gibraltar literature’.

“We believe there is,” she said.

“One question that came to the fore is: who are the next generation of local authors going to be? How will they be supported by our community?”

“We know for a fact that there are many wonderful young writers in Gibraltar, and a great way to give them a springboard to success is to give them the opportunity to be published. We also hope this initiative will give our youth the opportunity to write stories that declare their Gibraltarian identity,” she added.

It was during that festival that Ms Clifton-Tucker interviewed author Ms Morales on her book ‘Aging in the garden of vegan’. So it was no surprise their conversation turned from the older generation of writers to the younger generation, the next wave as they have called it.

“We want to encourage and nurture young Gibraltarian writers by giving them the platform to work with published authors, editors, and educators, who will support and mentor them through the entire process,” said Ms Clifton-Tucker.

“We hope this will encourage them to see being published as an achievable goal, and perhaps even a prospective career path. We want to give these young writers the opportunity to put Gibraltar on the map with this next wave of local literature. They are our future, after all.”

“In tandem with this, we want to also emphasise the significance of creating a literary identity. By contributing to this, they become an integral part in shaping the Gibraltar canon as a whole.”

“It’s important to feel part of the place you live, and to feel like you belong. This project is a great way for young writers to connect with Gibraltar,” she added.

The Next Wave is targeting the age group of 16 to 25 because it is rare that writers in this age group get to have their work shown and read widely. The duo explained that perhaps their parents or teachers read it but the audience is usually limited. In addition, they acknowledge that it is hard for a person in this age group to actually be published.

“What we want is for the community to see and read the thoughts and stories of this new generation of writers, and for them in turn to read a range of literature from other people their age,” said Ms Morales.

Ms Clifton-Tucker added, “All these individual writings will be rich with experiences, ideas and tales. It’s through learning about others’ realities through the messages interwoven with their pieces that we’re able to challenge taboos and stereotypes, and broaden our thinking.”

Since the launch of the project they have had an overwhelming response and believe that they have struck a chord with the local public who feel it is something that is missing within Gibraltar’s community.

“Gibraltar is renowned for its supportiveness, especially when it comes to our younger citizens and helping them to achieve their goals. I think people are excited to see what local literature might look like going forward,” said Ms Clifton-Tucker.

The stories will be solely the children’s work, but they will receive mentoring and guidance.

“They will be taken on a writer’s journey, and experience what it means to have your work reviewed, edited, and published. However, all ideas and words will be their own,” said Ms Morales.

She added that there is no select genre of writing as long as the piece is Gibraltar-centric. It has to be between 1,000 to 1,500 words, can be in English or Spanish and can take any literary form from short story to poetry.

They are having relaxed guidelines in a bid to attract a larger pool of young writers on the premise if you limit the genres, you limit the amount of people wanting to contribute.

“We wanted to leave the brief as open as possible to encourage unbridled creativity. We want to encourage our future novelists, playwrights and poets to take part, to allow us to see who they are and what it means to be a young person in Gibraltar, and this could take many forms,” said Ms Clifton-Tucker.

The project has already received a commitment from two young Gibraltarian writers namely Manar Ben Tahayeht, AKA ‘The Wobbly Blogger’, and Carmen Anderson.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming more young people to this project soon,” said Ms Morales.

All entries must be in by March 15. After the submission date, there will be a period of four weeks where a group of assessors that is comprised of local published authors and educators will choose the top pieces.
Every entrant will receive a critique of their work with some professional guidance and notes on how their writing can be polished.

However, the shortlisted stories will then be taken through the mentorship process, culminating in their work forming part of a physical, published book.

“It’s not just about publishing any old bits of writing; it’s about helping to cultivate them into well-rounded pieces, enhancing and encouraging authorship. We want people to enjoy reading the book’s contents as much as its authors have (hopefully!) enjoyed creating them,” said Ms Clifton-Tucker.

Email to apply or for more information.

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