Encouraging students to write about Melbourne

Today Melbourne looked lovely. Every one was in a very relaxed mood and enjoying their public holiday. Many of us who did not go to the races at Flemington, were found meeting friends or with families walking through the parks and leafy streets. I was in Camberwell, having a coffee, realised just how well the city was looking. I am often in Camberwell or Hawthorn. It is a good place to meet up with friends, for a coffee, meal or to go shopping. I have also been to Frankston  and Mount Eliza, where I first worked after completing my university course, Northcote, Carlton and the inner city itself in the past 2 weeks. Each area has its own distinct personality and history. Whilst I was waiting in the coffee shop I glanced through one of the daily newspapers, and found in the “Learn section” 3 pieces written by local authors describing what Melbourne means to them. They were very different but each so descriptive and well written so as to capture the readers imagination. I could easily envisage each of the Melbournes they wrote about. This was to advertise, and encourage entrants to, a writing competition being for students. It also asks students to really look at a place that they a part of everyday and think about what is unique, comfortable, challenging about Melbourne. It also an opportunity to use the tremendous resources offered by the State Library of Victoria.

From an article on October 28, 2008

WHAT do you think of when you think of Melbourne? Is it the MCG, the Arts Centre spire, Yarra River, Federation Square and trams, or is it your suburban street, your school or the people in your community.

Now think of Melbourne as a City of Literature. That honour has been bestowed on Victoria’s capital by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation and to celebrate the Herald Sun and State Government invite all Victorian students from year 3 to 10 to enter a $10,000 writing competition.Students can write up to 300 words as an essay, poetry, story, or any other form of written English on the topic “My Melbourne”.

Author Morris Gleitzman says that though you might think a city of literature is all about books and libraries and bookshops, to him it’s about people. “It’s people who make literature — people write it, people read it, people fight to have libraries funded and people work in bookshops for long hours for not much money and, most importantly, people read books and they tell each other about them,” he says.

Judge Kirsty Murray says students can think of Melbourne beyond its buildings and geography. “Think about not just your relationship to the city, but the world of the book,” she says.Murray says she’ll be looking for authentic writing, that offers a fresh and original view, that is also true to someone’s own experience.

Regional and rural students who have never visited Melbourne can consider what they know of the city or what they imagine it to be like.

There is the option of researching and doing an essay about Melbourne. Perhaps there is someone in your family or neighbourhood who has lived in Melbourne and you can interview them and incorporate their experiences into your own.

The Herald Sun and State Government encourage all Victorian year 3 to 10 students to give it a go and enjoy the chance to write well.

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