Uitenhage schoolgirl shines in short story competition

Megan McAuley
Megan McAuley

AVID Nelson Mandela Bay bookworm Megan McAuley has been selected as a runnerup in a 100-word short story competition organised by Reader’s Digest magazine in South Africa.

The 17-year-old Grade 11 pupil at Riebeek College Girls High School in Uitenhage submitted her short story in December, complying with the strict rules to abide by the 100-word count.

“It is quite difficult to write a story with such a limited frame,” Megan said.

After waiting about a month and a half, she was informed via e-mail that she had won second place in the competition.

“I was rather surprised that I had won. I have never won anything with my writing skills – this is the first time.

“I always wanted to enter competitions like this and since I had an idea for a short story, my parents encouraged me to pursue it,” she said.

Megan’s father, Gordon, subscribes to Reader’s Digest on a monthly basis and the young writer said her familiarity with the content of the magazine is what inspired her to come up with a unique and catchy stor y.

Megan’s untitled story is about a baffled woman walking down an aisle who appears to be questioning herself. The humour comes in when the reader is drawn into believing that the woman is about to get married, but is eventually led down an amusing path.

Reader’s Digest editor-in-chief and judge Sue Carney said: “We run the 100-word story contest in many countries.

“The standard of the entries just keeps rising and this year the judges were thrilled by the range of themes, moods and treatments.

“To tell a convincing tale in just 100 words is no mean feat. Our winners were bold, surprising and in many cases keep the reader pondering for much longer than it takes to read the original story.

“The magazine gets hundreds of entries from South African readers and writers.”

Among the other winners were Barbara-Ann Moore – a runner-up from Cape Town – and Catherine Ireland from Johannesburg, who was the overall winner. Megan said she entered the competition because of her passion for writing.

“I was not expecting much – I entered because I wanted to see what would happen.”

Riebeek principal Marilyn Woods said: “I am very proud of our girl.

“The theme for our pupils is to walk in integrity.”

Megan received a publication fee from Reader’s Digest of R1 000 and her story will be published in the April edition. “I am quite excited to see my name in a magazine,” she said.

-Caz-lynn Human

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