Arts & Life
Canstar Community News
Children with big ideas were honoured Wednesday night, as the Manitoba winners of the second annual Diverse Minds creative writing competition were announced.
The countrywide initiative launched by Jewish advocacy group B’nai Brith calls on high school students to write and illustrate a book meant for elementary students. The theme of the book must reflect positive values that can be used to help the reader’s community.
The top prize of $3,000 (plus $500 each for the winner’s school and supervising teacher) went to Sam Mercier, a Grade 11 student at St. Maurice School in Winnipeg, whose story My Name is Sam and Yes I Can! will be professionally published and copies will be donated to public libraries and elementary schools within the local community.
Mercier, who has autism, said his love for art inspired him to enter the contest.
The second- and third-prize winners (taking home $1,500 and $500, respectively) were My Lovely Flowers, by Chiara Cacho (Garden City Collegiate, Winnipeg) and Ricky and the Squirrels, by Ayala Kaganovitch (Vincent Massey Collegiate, Winnipeg).
"I think they are all winners, other than it being a competition and we need to select three top ones, we really want to celebrate them all," B’nai Brith national program co-ordinator Adriana Glikman said Wednesday. "And hopefully, in the future, we can publish more than one."
The first competition took place in Manitoba in 2019, and its success inspired organizers to launch the program in Edmonton, Hamilton and Montreal.
Other 2019-20 finalists from across Manitoba include: Dolls and Dinos, by Dairyl Mabunga and Dylan Camungol Yuen; Colours, by Narjis Alsarayfi and Tianyang Liu; Fly High, Amy Lee! by Juanito Catalon; Finding Home, by Divya Sharma and Qyhn Vo; The Pirate Who Was Afraid of the Dark, by Anita Fan; A Whole New World, by Meys Abdullah; and We are a Band! by Darin Ng and Jason Chen.
The finalists and winners were announced at a ceremony in the Berney Theatre in Winnipeg.
Glikman commended "the level of commitment, the level of creativity, and the level of clarity" portrayed in all of the books submitted, and said the authors all had bright futures ahead.
"They all have very clear (ideas) of what diversity and what inclusion means, and they can make a difference," she said. "That’s important, they took it very seriously."
Malak Abas is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.
Updated on Thursday, September 10, 2020 at 8:48 AM CDT: Adds photo
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