A budding bard in Nanaimo has cracked the shortlist in a national writing contest.
Rutherford Elementary student Arthur Taylor, 12, has been named as one of 20 finalists in CBC Books’ 2018 Shakespeare Selfie Student Writing Challenge.
Contestants were invited to write a soliloquy or monologue in the voice of one of Shakespeare’s characters based on prominent news, pop culture or a current affairs event from the last year, according to CBC Books, which saw 600 students enter.
Silverwing trilogy author Kenneth Oppel will pick the winners, who will be announced May 30.
Taylor said he was “mildly pleased” to find out he was a finalist for his work A Poison’d Rub, a soliloquy about the poisoning of a former Russian spy in the voice of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
He had read about the poisoning in the newspaper and decided to use it in his work because it was fairly recent, an interesting topic and very complex.
“It was difficult to get started, but once I did, I guess it was easy,” he said.
Teacher Chad Jobe said for the last three years his students have entered the contest. When he saw what Taylor created, he knew right away it was really good and very sophisticated.
“I was actually in the office and I said to the secretary … ‘why can’t we ever get anybody in the finals for the CBC contest?’ and I actually turned around and went, ‘come on, Arthur Taylor,’” he said. “The next day I got the e-mail saying he was a finalist. It was pretty cool.”
He said Taylor’s class is happy for him.
There will be two winners, one from a Grade 7-9 category and another from Grade 10-12. The grand prize is a one-year subscription to OwlCrate and 50 young adult books for the students’ school libraries.
To see the finalists and read Taylor’s soliloquy, visit CBC Books at www.cbc.ca/books.