Young author in the making

Ta-da!: Erynn posing at the foreground of the ‘wall of fame’ created by her family at home.

AS a four-year-old, Liew Erynn took to writing and drawing after learning how to hold a pencil correctly.

When she was presented with a book in which to journal, she started writing and drawing about her daily life.

That soon developed into a passion and she began to hone her skills to expand her repertoire.

Now aged 11, the SJK(C) Lai Meng, Kuala Lumpur, pupil takes pride in having a string of achievements under her belt – just last year alone, she won two awards at two international competitions.

At the Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition (QCEC) 2022, Erynn was among the Gold Award achievers – her debut the year before saw her being named one of the Gold Finalist and Gold Award winners. In her latest entry, she wrote about her experience with dengue and shared her ideas about using Gambusia fish to fight against Aedes mosquitoes.

“I went through a bad experience of getting a dengue fever. It was a terrible feeling and I wanted to prevent other children from going through it.

“To support my writeup further, I did some research online before writing my piece and that’s when I found out about the amazing Gambusia fish,” she told StarEdu.

Another fruitful outing for her was at the Collins Big Cat Writing Competition 2022, in which she became one of the winners from Asia who went on to compete with participants from the other eight regions in the world, namely, Africa, Americas, Asia, Australasia, Caribbean, Europe, Middle East, and the United Kingdom and Ireland.

She eventually came out from the finals as one of the “Overall Winners”.

Through a fictional story entitled The Great Escape, she wrote about her experience and thoughts during the enforcement of Malaysia’s movement control order to stop the spread of Covid-19, as well as the online classes she attended as a result.

“I got my idea purely by imagining myself in a boring household during the pandemic and using the craziest options that I could think of in overcoming the problem,” she enthused.

The pupil who aspires to be an author-cum-illustrator shared that for most of her competition entries, she wrote based on her thoughts and feelings.

“There’s nothing to be ashamed of in sharing them with people,” she opined.

To Erynn, losing and winning are part of the game, so even though she was ecstatic about having performed well at competitions, she said it was the process of writing that made her appreciate her craft more.

“I take part in competitions with the intention of gaining experience rather than winning.

“I believe the competition journey is a process and not an endpoint. It is also an opportunity to challenge myself to become better at my craft,” she said.

As a pupil with school and tuition classes to attend, Erynn does not let her academic pursuits get in the way of her love for writing and drawing.

“At every opportunity whenever I have free time, be it at home or at school, I spend it on writing and drawing my own storybooks,” she said.

While reflecting on her achievements, she did not forget to express her gratitude for her mother’s support. “My mother was the one who introduced numerous competitions to me. She also helped me turn my text and drawings into suitable fonts and colourful frames. “I admire her perseverance as she is my greatest pillar of strength,” said Erynn, who also attributed her recent achievements to the guidance of her teacher Miss Yamuna Jakanadan.

To aspiring young writers, Erynn had this to say: “Writing is a process of self-discovery, and art requires discipline and patience.

“Always bear in mind not to compete with other people, but with yourself. If you don’t challenge yourself, you would never know your truest potential and how unique you are.”

Nurfatihah, 22, a student in Kuala Lumpur, is a participant of the BRATs Young Journalist Programme run by The Star’s Newspaper-in-Education (Star-NiE) team. To join Star-NiE’s online youth community, go to

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