Every young writer dreams of having their work published, but it’s not every day that the opportunity to co-author an international anthology with almost 70 other writers presents itself.
After a gruelling two year wait, the first edition of the Global Story Project has made its greatly anticipated debut, featuring an array of short stories from across the world, including seven from Tauranga Girls’ College - a dream come true for some of TGC’s talented young writers. In 2019 authors James Knight and Tania Kamath came together over their shared vision of listening to the voices of young people and telling their stories. In order to amplify these stories, the Global Story Project was conceived. With 68 stories from 11 different countries, the first edition’s theme of ‘family’ has been explored through a variety of diverse lenses, including Tauranga Moana’s. Despite all of the short stories being written and collated in 2019, a COVID-19 related spanner in the works prevented the anthology’s publication until late 2021. Student Ash Byrne who has her short story ‘Somewhere New’ published in the collection, remarks, “two years is a long time to wait, but I think it was worthwhile. It was a challenge, but I really enjoyed it and would do it again!” Finally receiving hard copies of the Global Story Project was a fantastic start to 2022 for the young writers. Aaliyah Bengston, whose short story ‘The Landing and the Night’ is also published in the collection, reflects that she felt “really good” when she was able to see her published work for the first time, saying “nothing like this has ever happened to me before!” Publication in the Global Story Project anthology is likely to be only the first of many successes for these talented wāhine, who all continue their writing journeys with Tauranga Girls’ College’s writing group ‘Tragic Backstories’. The group meets every Monday lunchtime in A11 and is always open to new members. Student Jorja Elkington, author of short story ‘The Yard’, says, “joining the writing club has definitely made me a better writer.” English teacher Ms Piper Mejia who runs the group is ecstatic that students are able to celebrate their work and share it with others around the globe. “As an English teacher, I'm really grateful for opportunities for students to get published, and grateful that these opportunities are free and students get a copy of what they’ve been published in.” As a published author herself, Ms Mejia highlights the importance of making writing opportunities accessible to students. As the co-founder of the Young New Zealand Writers non-profit organisation, her goal is to continue supporting young writers to follow their passions. Her determination for students to get involved with programmes such as the Global Story Project ensures the stories and experiences of young people don’t go unheard. “Without those opportunities you can’t grow a writing community, and then where do all of those stories go?” A copy of the first edition of the Global Story Project will be available at the Tauranga Girls’ College Library, and with the band of talented authors who make up the TGC writing group, there’s no doubt it will eventually be joined by an array of other publications as these students explore their writing potential.