Early success for teen poet

By Lin Ferguson

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Wanganui High School student Pratibha Singh has won the national prize for Year 10 poetry in the New Zealand Association of Teachers of English (NZATE) competition with her poem Pianolight.

And almost at the same time as she was named the winner, she heard she had won a coveted place in the annual RE-DRAFT poetry anthology of the best teenage poets with her poem A Duet for Once.

Yesterday Pratibha said she was surprised by her success because she had only started writing this year after joining the English extension class at high school.

"But my poems are not really serious ... they're more fun, really," she said.

Her older sister, Nalini, who is at university in Auckland, inspired her to write, she said.

"She's had heaps and heaps of poetry published ... she's really good."

Pratibha said she was an avid reader and is starting to concentrate on writing short stories as well.

But, most of all, she is looking forward to the school holidays and having her sister home from Auckland.

"It will so cool to see her."

School of Young Writers director Dr Glyn Strange said Pratibha had effectively achieved the literary equivalent of winning a place in a national sports team.

"Celebrating the arts is important, and it's not easy to get into this competition, so Pratibha's success deserves national recognition."

Dr Strange said some of the teenage writers submitting work were as young as 13.

"Which is fantastic because often younger teen writers didn't feel comfortable submitting their work, they don't feel confident."

- Wanganui Chronicle

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