Rangatahi take part in popular creative writing competition - Smart Alex
‘Outstanding’, ‘high calibre’ and ‘skilfully composed’ — these are some of the words used to describe the incredible
creative work of our rangatahi who entered the 2019 Smart Alex competition.
The competition, now in its second year, attracted tamariki from secondary schools around Aotearoa who were asked to
respond to an image found in Alexander Turnbull Library’s online collections.
They could showcase their creative talent through writing or a graphic drawing.
The competition is organised by Friends of the Turnbull Library (FOTL) in conjunction with the Alexander Turnbull
and the Services to Schools branch of the National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa.
This year’s entries from about seventy schools were both diverse and captivating. Entrants responded to emotive issues
such as the horrors of war, the environment, and Māori and Pasifika traditions.
The judging panel this year consisted of noted children’s author Eirlys Hunter, Susan Wallace from National Library
Services to Schools, and FOTL members Kate Fortune, Elle Green and Rachel Underwood.
Kate Fortune, President of FOTL, said that all the judges were very impressed with the high calibre of entries
The winners and runners-up will receive cash prizes totalling $2,100 with their school libraries also receiving book
Eirlys Hunter commented that “The winners and the runners-up showed memorable and thought-provoking use of language,
handling their subject-matter with remarkable skill and sound judgement.”
“I was very impressed with the wide range of creative entries. They offered the reader excellent imagery, with
captivating and dramatic narratives,” says Susan Wallace, from Services to Schools.
“Both the winning entries in each age category were outstanding, showing emotional maturity and using interesting
The judges congratulate all the winners and those highly commended, saying it is fantastic to see creative writing
flourishing in our secondary schools.
Thanks to FOTL’s ongoing generosity, the Smart Alex Competition will return in 2020.
Visit the FOTL website
to read about the winners and read their winning entries.