IMAGINATION and an inspiring grand-dad have led to his first literary award for young Adare student, Stephen Evans.
Stephen, who is a first-year student at Colaiste na Trocaire, Rathkeale wrote his very first short-story for this year’s creative writing competition for schools run in conjunction with Listowel Writers Week – and he took first place in the under-16 section.
“My face lit up when I read the letter,” the 14-year-old admitted this week. Stephen, the son of Jacqueline and Paul Shine, also revealed he was very surprised to have won.
“It does feel good though,” he added. “It’s nice to know I have a writing ability at a young age. I can probably write more. And I did enjoy writing it.”
His award-winning story, The Sheriff of Listowel, was inspired by his grandfather Timothy Shine who is originally from Listowel but lives in Limerick city. “The whole story revolves around him,” Stephen said. “He always acted liked the Sheriff of Listowel. He is really funny.”
He added shyly: “He was really proud of me when I won.”
Stephen’s story revolves around two characters JBK and the Sheriff, who are about nine years old and just four-foot tall. He wrote it and revised it over several days but now, thanks to the award, he has been inspired to do more writing and he is planning to take some of the characters in The Sheriff of Listowel and write them into a series of stories.
But Stephen’s English teacher, Jackie Holly, also had a part to play in his success. Ms Holly is a regular and devoted visitor to Listowel Writers Week. “I live in Tarbert and I mentioned to all the classes about the writers I met in Listowel, people like Jennifer Johnston and John Montague who are all on the course. Listowel also has a lot of children’s writers.”
Ms Jolly encouraged all the non-exam classes to write and to enter for Listowel. “I encourage them to hone their writing skills. Creative writing, I think it is very good for them.”
Stephen will be presented with his prize of €175 at the official opening of Listowel Writers Week on May 30 in Listowel. And his grand-dad Michael will be there to cheer him on.