Fifteen-year-old Divina Samtani isn’t exactly sure when she first knew she wanted to be a writer one day, but wherever the idea came from, it stuck.
“I honestly don’t know when it happened, but I remember suddenly having an answer for when people asked me what I wanted to do in the future,” the Kellett British International School student told Young Post.
Young Post is certainly happy Divina found her calling, and even more excited to announce her as the winner of this year’s winter short story competition.
All the entrants of this year’s competition interpreted the theme,“It started as a game”, in very different ways, but Divina’s beautiful, heart-wrenching story of two young brothers living with their violent father was perhaps the most unexpected and unique. It’s a story guaranteed to stay with you after reading it. Divina was encouraged to enter the competition by her teacher. “The story prompt was intriguing and it was good writing practice,” she explained.
She may be devoted to her craft now, but that wasn’t always the case.
“Surprisingly, as a kid I actually hated reading,” she admitted. “Around six years ago I was encouraged to read and, after spending the day with my head glued to a book about fairies, I was hooked.
“Afterwards, reading became a constant in my life, and writing just seemed to make sense. Now, whenever something small inspires me, I just have to write about it, whether it’s an experience or a place.”
She counts science fiction author Pierce Brown and fantasy author Sarah J. Maas among her favourite writers. “She showed me that characters live on outside their pages, and taught me empathy,” Divina said of Maas.
“Her stories engage; they take you on adventures outside the boundaries of reality and I love them for it.”
Empathy, and the power of fantasy stories that can transform your world, are two things that shine through in Divina’s own writing, which sees the two young boys make up imaginative tales to distract themselves from their home life.
When asked if she’d like to see more opportunities for young people to get involved in writing in Hong Kong, Divina answered with an enthusiastic “definitely!”
“Writing competitions give opportunities for young people to flex their creative muscles and imagination, which becomes gradually harder as they start to feel the pressures of the adult world,” she said.
See here for Divina’s winning entry