Teen on the write track

Cindy’s touching tale in the running for Young Adas Short Story Prize

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Cindy Ta, in her school library.

Picture: JOSIE HAYDEN

A TEENAGER who stopped to smell the roses has been richly rewarded.

Cindy Ta, 17, from Sunshine, is one of nine budding authors short-listed for the Williamstown Literary Festival’s Young Adas Short Story Prize.

The Caroline Chisholm Catholic College student said she wrote a reflective piece about relationships and family, which was inspired by her walk home from her Braybrook school.

“I go down a street which has a lot of flowers on it and it’s always really pretty, so I thought it would be nice to write about a florist,” she said.

Cindy said the narrative, Flowers in San Fran, dealt with loneliness and love.

“It’s a sad story with a positive ending,” she said.

The Year 12 student said she enjoyed the art of writing and was interested in majoring in linguistics at university.

“I like looking through someone else’s lenses and trying to understand how they would feel and why they would feel that way,” she said.

Cindy said she was surprised to find out she was short-listed, but it motivated her to write and enter more competitions.

Her literature teacher Karen Welberry said she was proud of the teen’s achievements which deserved to be acknowledged.

“She has a real passion for writing and thinking,” she said.

The head of English said it came as no shock that Cindy made the cut for a literary prize “given her creative writing is extraordinary”.

“I just gave her full marks on a response in literature in which she didn’t write me one piece, she wrote me four,” Ms Welberry said. She said younger students would be inspired by her efforts.

The winner of the Young Adas Short Story Prize will be announced at the opening of the festival at Williamstown Town Hall on June 17.

The Williamstown Literary Festival (known as the Willy Lit Fest) is a two-day literary feast for writers and readers, featuring more than 80 authors at 53 events.

Now in its 14th year, the program, which is themed Food for Thought, includes author talks, panel discussions and performances on a wide range of topics, from the life of John Cade, the Australian doctor who discovered lithium, to workshops for family members on writing books based on interactions with their children.

Find more details at willylitfest.org.au