YAA 2011: Building the Next Generation of Writers

7 March 2011 – A roster of 38 shortlisted students representing various primary and secondary schools from all over Singapore gathered at the auditorium of the Woodlands Regional Library at 9am last 5 March in the finale awards ceremonies of the annual 2011 Young Author Awards (YAA), a nationwide search for budding authors in fiction writing, under the Young Author Scheme (YAS) of Janus Education Services. The event was held in conjunction with the Media Fiesta 2011, and supported by the Singapore Book Publishers Association, the Media Development Authority and the National Library Board, with endorsement from the National Book Development Council of Singapore.

Gracing the event as special guest was Deputy Chief of Mission from the Embassy of Israel, Mrs Michal Sarig-Kaduri, who talked about creativity among children, particularly among Israeli children as the YAA is planning to venture into going global by accepting entries from countries like Israel and the Philippines in future editions. Also featured this year was a talk by Serendip Showbiz Managing Director Desmond Moey, who discussed the possibilities of creating content for radio broadcast through the materials that are produced under the YAS. The YAS, whose adjunct arm the Young Journalist Scheme, is currently being molded to create content that may be fitted to air through the digital audio broadcast platform, a programme which shall go full blast sometime within the year.

Receiving the 20 merit awards, out of 38 shortlisted semifinalists for YAA 2010/11 were Josh Lim, Catholic High; Mark Yeo, Maris Stella High School; Justine Hong, Nanyang Primary School; Serafina Siow, Yuhua Primary School; Jezreel Rei Castro, Dunearn Secondary School; Dayna Chong, Clementi Town Secondary School; Nihal Hameed, Townsville Primary School; Surya Selvakumar, Henry Park Primary School; Nicholas Chan, Bishan Park Secondary School; Ryan Wang, Naval Base Primary School; Ayden Mohan, SJI Junior; Nanda Min Htin, Jurong West Primary School; Mutia Hanifa Indiraputri, Blangah Rise Primary School; Ee Chong Hui, Pioneer Primary School; Yogesh Hidaramani, Victoria School; Luqman Aqil, West Grove Primary School; Amy Tan, Raffles Girls Secondary School; Hans Hu, Xingnan Pri School; Shawn Tan, Anderson Primary School; and Rachel Lee, CHIJ St Nicholas Girls’ School.

Winning the special awards for Most Heartfelt Dedication was Han Yin Yii of Singapore Chinese Girl’s School for her story a Hard Life, while Emma Yong of Pei Hwa Presbyterian Primary School won the Best Cover Illustration Award.

Winning the top prizes for this year were the following: Emilyn Foong of Changkat Changi Secondary School, 3rd prize; Lee Tat Wei of Anglo-Chinese School (Primary), 2nd prize; and Tessa Tan of Methodist Girl’s School, 1st prize.

All shortlisted finalists were acknowledged during preliminary ceremonies conducted last November 2010. Five previous winners of the YAA will also grace the event, highlighted by YAA 2009/2010 awardees Pang Shui Hui and Kendrick Lam’s message to the winners.

Early this year, two of the books written by past YAA winners were translated into a television movie. One of them is entitled Helpful or Deadly by Ng Hao Qin, which he wrote when he was 11 years old, and was aired on Okto Channel 8, carrying the title Super Duper Smartimizer, a story about a boy who wanted to get smart the easy way by using his Grandfather’s quick-fix invention.

About Janus Education:

Since 2004, Janus Education Services, together with its publishing arm Experiences and Experiments, has been scouring the country for the next generation of writers with the aim of helping them actually publish their very own book. The YAS, which budded from an innovative-thinking English Head of Department from Anderson Primary School who approached veteran author-editor and Janus Education Services founder Catherine Khoo, was a novel idea that motivated students to write a book good enough to be published.

Ms Khoo says the Young Author’s Scheme was created to bring out the author in each child, and does not only inspire him to write, but also sparks his confidence and patience. With the vision of becoming the premier creative education portal and the leading publisher of media created by and for 8 to 18 year olds in Singapore, the Young Author Scheme intends to transcend from creative writing to creative educational platforms that lead to social responsibility advocacies and projects.

The Unique Classroom™ is the culmination of Catherine’s media savvy with innovative educational concepts: a think-out-of-the-box, highly interactive and fun series of programmes to accelerate the teaching of English. Its programmes have found a niche in more than 150 primary and secondary schools since it was first introduced in 1996.

Janus Education is organiser of two prestigious awards supported by the Media Development Authority (MDA), the National Library Board (NLB), the Young Author Award (YAA) and the DigiTales Award. Both awards feature extensive digital media support from media partners.

About Experiences and Experiments:

Experiences and Experiments is Singapore’s first boutique publisher of books exclusively for under-18s, by under under-18s. Launched in 2005, the Young Author Club is Experiences and Experiments Books’ first imprint. It stresses Catherine’s philosophy of “breaking the boundaries of education.” Penned and illustrated by preteens, the stories feature a variety of genres including angels and aliens, ghouls and ghosts, heart warmers, science fiction, magic and fantasy and the like, surprising readers with their own brand of charm and innocence, as seen from the eyes of the child.

In 2007, Experiences and Experiments took an extra step forward and created audio books anchored on previous books published under the Young Author Scheme.

For more information about Janus Education Services and Experiences and Experiments, log on to www.januseducation.sg.