Imagine being on a mundane school trip to a museum.
Suddenly, you and your friends stumble upon a door and enter a different realm; from there you discover six other doors you need to pass through in order to return to your world.
This was the premise 13-year-old Umar Amil Izham was given to write the first chapter of the book titled 7 Doors.
Umar, along with five other “chapter winners” and 19 others from the Storymakers League class of 2014, co-authored the adventure fantasy tale that saw their creative ideas inscribed into a published literary work.
Shakespot Sdn Bhd and Agensi Inovasi Malaysia (AIM) established the Storymakers League project with the aim of promoting innovative thinking among the young.
“Innovation does not just refer to works of research and development in terms of science and technology, it could also stem from creative expression
“Through writing, children have a way of conveying amazing ideas and coming up with positive solutions,” said AIM executive vice-president Eddie Razak.
“Books are also a form of innovation.”
Open to children between the ages of 10 and 15, the search for young creative writers started in April last year through Shakespot’s crowd sourcing platform Ureka.
It received about 500 submissions through schools and online, and only 25 stories that demonstrated good creative writing qualities were selected.
The children then participated in a writing camp over 10 Saturdays to hone their writing and creative thinking skills, and the result of their imagination and hard work is 7 Doors.
Shakespot managing director Sheikh Faisal Sheikh Mansor said 7 Doors had garnered much interest and may be translated and distributed overseas.
“We have proven that Malaysian children have what it takes to create world-class content,” he said.
All 25 writers received certificates of achievement while the six chapter writers won RM200 Xplorasi gift shop vouchers from Petrosains.
The Most Valuable Storymaker award went to 14 year-old Abdul Naeem Green, who walked away with Legoland tickets and a two-night stay for four at the Legoland hotel.
The second Storymakers League project will be organised in collaboration with the Petrosains discovery centre.
“Petrosains is interested to have kids express themselves through science, so the book will be in the science fiction genre,” shared Eddie.
However, instead of 25 children co-writing one book, the upcoming project will have both English and Bahasa Malaysia versions, which will be penned by 30 children each.
Aspiring writers can now join the challenge through www.ureka.my.
7 Doors is available on e-book and print and retails at RM17.77.