14 November 2017

Young writers encouraged to explore cultural heritage in "Back to Your Roots"

| Ian Bushnell
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Back to your Roots poster

Penning heritage: the ‘Back to Your Roots’ writing competition encourages young Canberrans to explore their heritage through literature.

Young people in Canberra are invited to put into words what their cultural and family heritage means to them in the “Back to Your Roots 2017-18″ writing competition.

Launched on the weekend by Canberra Liberals Youth and Multicultural Affairs spokeswoman Elizabeth Kikkert, the competition encourages young people to express their cultural heritage in a creative piece of writing such as a poem, song, story, comic, script or essay.

The goal is to encourage young people who live, work or study in the ACT to develop a closer connection with their family histories and better understand the significance of certain parts of their parents’ or even grandparents’ culture.

“In my culture, Tongan people often talk about going ‘back to our roots’,” Mrs Kikkert said.

“I recently had the opportunity to go back to my own roots on the occasion of my aunt’s death. As I participated in our traditional mourning observances, I realised there was so much of my cultural heritage that I still did not understand. But I know that the more my understanding grows, the more my identity as a Tongan-Australian woman strengthens.”

Mrs Kikkert designed the competition specifically to motivate young people who live, study or work in the ACT to explore their heritage.

“I want to encourage them to talk to their families, gather stories and then share in writing an insightful appreciation of one or more aspects of their cultural heritage,” she said.

“I am inviting all Canberra youth from eight to eighteen years to go back to their roots over the summer holiday to find out more about who they are and where they came from.”

All submissions will be judged and prizes awarded to winners in each of three age divisions. The winners, and other select entries, will also have their submissions published online.

“I hope that many Canberra kids will be inspired by my ‘Back to Your Roots’ writing competition to learn more about their cultural heritage and draw closer to their families”, she said.

Entry forms and further information about the competition are available from the official ‘Back to Your Roots’ website.

Entries close at midnight Friday 26 January 2018, with the winners announced on 23 February 2018.

Will you be encouraging your children to take part in this competition? What is your take on exploring cultural heritage through literature? Let us know by commenting below.

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