A “truly talented” Dundee school girl has been awarded one of the most prestigious children’s writing awards in the country.
Mia Kellner, a 15-year-old pupil at Grove Academy, won the National Young Writer Award, a competition open to schools and colleges from across the UK and Ireland.
The entrants were challenged to produce a written or typed story in prose entitled, Reflection. The submitted entry could be fiction or non-fiction, a story or a poem.
Mia’s article, The Eyes of War, in which she imagined the story behind National Geographic’s 1984 cover, Afghan Girl, beat off over 5,000 pupils in the senior level for students aged 14 -17.
Her short story recounts the journey to the place where the photo was taken, placing the photographer among a tormented people who have lived with cycles of invasion and civil war for centuries.
Mia said she was driven to write the story after staring into her “impassioned” gaze.
“What provoked me to write it was the look in her eyes,” she said.
“Her stare epitomised the indifference that is omnipresent in every war and the people who bear its brutal consequences.
“But in my writing, I wanted to portray the humanity and hope that can be found in these war-torn countries and how these emotions manifested themselves in the eyes of this one young girl.
“This one young girl and her impassioned gaze have now come to represent not only her nation, but the entirety of the world’s refugees, of the people who suffer most.
“The past story of the Afghan Girl and the hope she represents is now extremely relevant in our present times and essential in sustaining our future humanity. I wanted to explore the themes that are intrinsic to war: hope and the passiveness found in human nature and all forms of suffering.”
Having been recognised by local judges as a fine piece of literary work, Mia’s entry progressed through to the district heats and on to the national final.
A spokesperson for the Rotary in Dundee said: “Mia is a truly talented writer with a flair for evoking emotion and inspiration in her writing.
“National recognition in this competition firmly puts Dundee on the map in terms of creative writing skills.
“Hopefully Mia’s success will inspire more schools to take part in the 2018 Young Writer Competition.”
Phoenix Gibb from Braeview Academy also progressed through to the national final in the intermediate section for 11-13 year old students and was awarded a finalist certificate.
Mia’s award-winning entry can be read by visiting the rotary’s website.