Young poets from Fall River and Truro are the winners of the Creative Writing Contest for Youth held in celebration of the International Year for People of African Descent. The contest drew 25 entries from throughout the province. Students submitted poems and short stories that highlight the culture, heritage and experiences of people of African descent. “It’s thrilling to see so many young people of all backgrounds engaging in African heritage and culture in such unique ways,” said Percy Paris, Minister of African Nova Scotian Affairs. “The quality and thoughtfulness of their writing is truly impressive. Congratulations to all the entrants.” Honourary judge Lawrence Hill selected Sarah Frame, 16, of Fall River as the winner in the age 13-17 category for her poems The Early Years and Teenage Philosophies. “These poems are written with uncommon wisdom and creativity,” said Mr. Hill, author of The Book of Negroes. “Some sections have the phrasing and maturity of a fully adult writer. It blows my mind to think that someone so young is capable of writing with such depth, and I hope Sarah continues to grind out new and wonderful creative writing. Congratulations.” Second place went to Chantel Arbuckle, 15, of Halifax for her short story Confessions of a Dead Girl. Izra Fitch, 14, of Canning, Kings Co., was third with her story Turn to Music. In the age 18-22 category, Mr. Hill awarded first place to sunrise, sunset by Jennifer Deyarmond, 19, of Truro. “Sunrise, sunset is a pithy, richly detailed and wonderfully complete poem about the theft of men,” Mr. Hill said. “The painful fate of the stolen men is scattered beautifully over the page.” Elijah Masek-Kelly, 22, of Halifax was awarded second place for his entry I War Alone (three poems). Karl Fritze, 19, of Bible Hill was third with his short story Gold. First-place winners in each category receive $500, with $250 to the second-place finishers and $150 for third place. The winners will have lunch with Mr. Hill on Thursday, Sept. 22 and receive their awards at the welcome reception of the African Diaspora Heritage Trail Conference that evening. They will also take part in The Word on the Street literary festival Sunday. To read the first-place entries visit www.gov.ns.ca/ansa .