Our Blog Writing Competition 2015 has come to an end! We would like to thank everyone for your enthusiastic participation in this contest.
Please enjoy one of the winning stories, submitted by Clara Chow.
'I teach 'Analysing Prose', a course on reading essays and short stories, to working adults. At seven o’clock at night, they stream in – work-crumpled – to class. I ask them to take out pen and paper: Close your eyes and imagine a kitchen, any kitchen, from your childhood. A creative writing exercise I learnt from British writer Bernardine Evaristo. Write this kitchen and yourself in it. What does that child-self of yours feel? Want?
I take my students through the exercise, even though they are BA, not MFA, candidates. Some are primary school teachers, others write grammar textbooks. Still others are translators. But, if one is to study prose, one has to understand that we each have a voice and not be afraid to use it.
I tell my students, all amazing individuals, to hold onto their scraps of paper, their imaginary kitchens, and remember what they are each capable of expressing. If this awakens something, anything, in someone, and empowers them somehow, I would have made a difference.
We sit in a circle, squeezing meaning out of lines and words from our texts, until ten o’clock. Startled when the air-conditioning abruptly shuts off, we stumble out into the sensible night.'