Sarah Au is only eight years old but she’s already a nationally-published writer.
The Grade 3 student from Headingley beat out writers up to three years older than her to win second place in a national short story competition sponsored by the Poetry Institute of Canada.
Au’s story, Baking with Mom, is featured in The Wishing Well, a collection of short stories written by young Canadians between the ages of seven and 11.
"I’ve always been a great reader and writer," said Au, adding that she’s written poetry since she was in Grade 1.
She based her story on the good times she and her brother share when baking with their mother.
Au’s mother, Alison, said her daughter likely comes by her love of literature naturally as she too enjoys reading and creative writing. She is also very self-motivated, Alison said.
"She loves it. You can’t stop her from writing."
Au said the national competition was discussed at Phoenix Elementary School and all students within the contest’s age range were encouraged to enter their stories. Some of the other school entrants received honourable mentions and had their writing published in the collection.
Phoenix School Grade 4 teacher Heather Adams said she was thinking of an extra- curricular club to enhance learning and recalled that many students are interested in writing.
"We got together and talked about writing They took their ideas home and got started, and before you could say ‘alliteration,’ I had stories to edit," Adams said. The edited stories were then submitted for the national competition.
While she is very pleased to see her work in print, Au isn’t ready to lay down her pen just yet and plans to enter other writing competitions.