THE Oxford Big Write creative writing competition winners have proven that the pen is indeed a powerful influencer.
In the competition organised by Oxford Fajar Sdn Bhd publishing house, Ku Jia Sien and Nur Fatin Afrina Mohd Fakhruddin bagged the grand prize of RM2,000 each for their winning entries on the theme “Journeys”.
The Big Write competition, part of the 60th Oxford Fajar anniversary initiative, was held from February to April and received approximately 1,200 entries from 300 schools and educational institutions.
Entries were judged based on creativity, imagination, originality, tone and style. Winners were announced during a press conference last Thursday.
The cash prize was awarded by Oxford University Press (OUP) managing director (Asia Education) Adrian Mellor to winners Ku from Penang Chung Ling Private High School for her story ‘The Surreal Journey’ (category A, ages 15-17) and to Nur Fatin Afrina from Kolej Islam Sultan Alam Shah (Kisas) for her entry titled ‘Sev & the Hot Chocolate’ (category B, ages 18-19).
On being handed the award, Ku said it felt great to know that people recognised her writing.
“It boosts my confidence knowing that maybe I can really write. It is an enjoyable experience getting people to read my work and having that kind of special understanding and connection with the readers,” she said.
When asked how she felt over the win, Nur Fatin Afrina said that it came as a shock, as the other entries from the 10 finalists were “really, really good”.
Nur Fatin Afrina said that she tries to write at least one page a day, be it in a journal or stories, to maintain discipline in writing.
The second competition to celebrate the anniversary, the Oxford Big Read will commence in July and target students between the ages of 10 to 14. It seeks to encourage the love of reading, exploring ideas and expressing opinions in order to develop thinking skills.
“The competition does not just inculcate the reading habit, but is also for students to analyse what they have read and come up with a critique of what they have read as a means of developing higher order thinking skills,” said Oxford Fajar managing director Sharmini Nagulan.
More information on The Big Read will be available next month at the Oxford Fajar website, www.oxfordfajar.com.my.
Over the last 60 years, Oxford Fajar has been at the forefront of developing educational materials to support the teaching and learning of Malaysian students at various levels.
Oxford Fajar, an Oxford University Press (OUP) subsidiary, is also one of the oldest publishing houses in the country and is best known for producing educational materials and academic resources, namely the Oxford dictionaries, textbooks and guidebooks.
OUP was set up in Malaysia shortly after Independence in 1957. In September 1986, OUP became locally known as Penerbit Fajar Bakti Sdn. Bhd. after the sale of 30 per cent of its shareholding to Koperasi Perkhidmatan Pendidikan Nasional Berhad.
It later changed its name to Oxford Fajar Sdn. Bhd. in July 2006.
At present, Oxford Fajar boasts a workforce of over 140 staff members and is one of the largest publishers in the country, issuing about 400 titles annually.