Kids with Vision
IMAGINE Contest opens up the world of Sci-Fi / Fantasy to kids
by Nicole Georges
Among her many projects, Nicole is a writer for The Jamaica Gleaner, a PR Consultant for the Miss Canada Plus Pageant and coordinator of the IMAGINE Science Fiction Contest.
“The IMAGINE contest was one of the greatest experiences in my life!” (Lyubov Kushtova – young adult contestant)
“My experience entering the contest was an interesting one, believe me. I have never entered a contest in my life, but I enjoyed writing a short story for this contest.” (Priya Patel – young adult contestant)
“It was fun entering the Imagine contest... it was cool winning $100. I now have something to brag about. I also found out that I am pretty good at writing stories, so I think I might have found my career.” (Hafsa Elmi – young adult contestant)
“Entering the IMAGINE competition was an excellent experience. Winning or losing, it was definitely awesome meeting other great authors and artists, and seeing their great work. It is both educational and fun. Awesome experience!” (Adrian Ma – kids contestant)
The above testimonials are from a cross section of kids and teenagers from the GTA who were all contestants in the IMAGINE science-fiction/fantasy short story contest. The contest also includes a poster art category for aspiring young artists.
The IMAGINE Contest is a production of Visions of Science Network for Learning (VoSNL), a 17 year-old, non-profit organization that promotes careers in science, math and technology to black youth and other under-represented minorities. VoSNL has initiated several ventures to engage youth in scientific endeavors, including the annual Visions of Science Symposium, and a network of community science clubs.
The IMAGINE contest, which began in 2006, encourages youth who like writing and drawing to explore their creativity, against the backdrop of futuristic or fantastic landscapes. The stories must feature minority heroes or heroines.
As the coordinator for the contest, I think it is essential to encourage ethnic youth to explore sci-fi/fantasy writing and art. Sci-fi is about everybody’s future, and how we interact with technology. So we want stories in that genre, about Asian characters; blacks, Indian, South-Asian, Latino protagonists, etc. We want kids to imagine the future where people who look like they do, are an integral part of society.
The contest is open to all young people in Canada from grades 6-12. The best entries are published in the annual IMAGINE Anthology, which is now on display at the Lillian H. Smith Library, as part of the Merril Collection of Sci- Fi, Speculation and Fantasy.
The contest slate of sponsors includes Jamaica National Building Society, Ministry of Research and Innovation, Bakka Phoenix Bookstore, Silver Snail Comics, 3M Canada and Kisko Freezies.
The IMAGINE sci-fi/fantasy short story and Poster art competition, runs from February 1st to April 25th. Prizes valued at $1,500 will be awarded at the annual Visions of Science Symposium scheduled for May, and at the IMAGINE summer picnic.