THREE prize plaques will shortly be presented to the worthy winners of the third annual 2022/23 GDNlife Short Story of the Year competition.
The judges have voted for their favourite Adult and U18 entry and so have the people with more than 27,000 visitors to our online platform picking one entry and making it the most viewed.
The accolades go to:
Adult Winner - Veronica Selvarajan for her entry - Words
U18 Winner - Shafay Khattak - Fall Of The Cykong
People’s Choice Award - Joyce Magdalena - Family Love
One of the judges, Rohini Sunderam, from Bahrain Writers Circle, said that Words by Ms Selvarajan was a worthy winner.
“It has such good pace and a surprise ending that holds up to a re-reading,” she explained.
Financial analyst Veronica Selvarajan followed in her daughter’s footsteps to win the BD25 monthly prize last September with her own entry.
“I’ve always wanted to be a writer,” said the Indian expatriate who lives in Saar. “This is a great platform to write short stories. It really makes us think about ‘delivery-with-impact’ as we need to develop characters, events and emotions within just 800 words.
“I am truly humbled to receive such a prestigious annual award which I didn’t see coming at all. This has really motivated me to take up my hobby of writing more consistently. “I think GDNLife is doing a wonderful job of inspiring us to follow our imaginations and be bold enough to pen them down. I remain grateful to the wonderful panel of judges and to the organisers who tirelessly and passionately spread the love of reading and writing.”
Ms Selvarajan, described her age as “old enough to say I grew up listening to Sting”, moved to the kingdom in 2012 to work as a commercial head at Bahrain Steel. She revealed that her ‘beautiful and talented’ daughter, Tess Jannah, won the contest in two consecutive months in 2020 – both junior and adult sections – as she turned 18 between entries!
Our annual U18 winner Shafay is currently enjoying a real life adventure after his family relocated from Bahrain to Saudi Arabia.
The 12-year-old former Canadian School Bahrain student, and two-time-winner of the monthly writing contest, comes from Toronto and picked up the annual prize for his first ever entry and said he was ‘thrilled’ to achieve his ‘hat-trick’ of successes with the main trophy.
“Shafay is quite excited and humbled to hear about his win,” said proud mum Saima “It’s indeed a great achievement for his age as he was only 11 when he posted his first entry.”
He is attending TKS/The KAUST School in Thuwal, an educational campus on the coast of the Red Sea and, now aged 12, is going into Grade 6.
“Shafay is continuing to pursue his passion for writing at his new school, is an active member of the creative writing club and continues to write a lot of fiction,” she added.
Dad, research scientist Dr Shahryar Khattak, now based at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, added: “We, as parents of Shafay, are also thrilled ... and grateful to you for making him feel so proud of himself.
“GDNLife is definitely making a difference in helping grow productive young minds.”
GDN columnist and judge Chris Fenton, head teacher of the British Primary Department at Al Noor International School, remains mightily impressed that someone so young could show such imagination and literary talent.
He described Fall of the Cykong as a “strong attempt at fantasy writing that uses a range of literary devices to conjure up atmosphere”. “A great job Shafay and I would like to see more of your pieces,” Mr Fenton added.
Filipino Joyce Magdalena G Bagang soared to success with her entry called Family Love because it appeared to touch a nerve and sum up the joy many expatriates feel when they are reunited with relatives after working away for months, sometime years.
The 35-year-old safety administrator has picked up a few literary accolades in recent times, including a caption contest in the Minds Journal platform and also co-wrote two Rosewood publications; A Talk with Those Stars and Enchanting Mind.
“I’ve been living in Bahrain for almost nine years and it will always be my second home and ‘the core of my heart’,” she said.
The Gudaibiya resident said her story was all about ‘family love’.
“The feeling of meeting my family after a long span of three years away is always like a golden moment of heaven that gives me excitement and joy,” she explained.
“My parents are always my source of inspiration. When my life is surrounded by darkness they have always covered me with their light. They are the beat of my heart and the energy of my soul.
“Wow! I am just thrilled beyond words to win the Annual People’s Choice Award and my heart is filled with happiness and gratitude. And yes, it’s a dream come true.
“This is the best award I have ever received. Thank you GDNLife and the platform’s visitors. You have given me the confidence and courage to continue writing. Thank you for creating this insightful platform that continues to inspire so many. Wishing you all continued success.”