Kira Lober, a fourth-grader at North Harlem Elementary, won the state Young Georgia Authors competition.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Two heroines of science fiction helped their individual authors to the top of a state writing contest.
Kira Lober, 9, and Rachael Barkie, 18, received commendations at an Aug. 24 Columbia County School Board meeting for taking the top honors in their grade at the Young Georgia Authors creative writing contest.
The statewide contest pitted storytellers from each grade, kindergarten through 12th, against other authors throughout the state.
Kira, a fourth-grader at North Harlem Elementary School, won for a story inspired by The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, titled The Flower Fairy, which features a young girl named Whitney.
"It's about when Whitney sees a flower and inside the flower is a fairy," said Kira, who submitted her story while still in the third grade. "The fairy's really bad, but the lion is good and helps Whitney capture the fairy."
Kira's mother, Julie Lober, said her daughter has always been a storyteller.
"She's kind of told a lot of tall tales," Lober said. "She really enjoys making up stories about little things, even a rip in her shirt. She'll tell you it was because of a witch and go from there."
With her first writing award under her belt, Kira has already begun a new project - expanding on her award-winning fairy tale.
"I'm starting to write a little chapter book," she said. "It's kind of like the same story. I'm writing it over, but longer."
Barkie, now a freshman at Georgia Southern University, won for a dark, futuristic story called Fires of Babylon, which she turned in as a senior at Harlem High School.
"It's about a time when the whole of North America and parts of Central America have merged to become one nation known simply as the State," Barkie wrote in an e-mail. "In the future, people have willingly given up their freedoms in exchange for unity and safety.
"The main character, Gabriel Smith, is a re-education technician (essentially a brainwasher), who is the leader of a rebellious movement during her last minutes as a free-thinking being. All themes of the story eventually narrow down to one thing - the existence of free will."
Barkie's high school advance placement English teacher, Noel Feeney, encouraged her to enter the contest.
"Her writing reveals a distinctive voice that is unusual for a person her age," Feeney said. "She shows no need to be safe as even accomplished writers are sometimes."
Like Kira, Barkie began making up stories as a child, but not with quite as much success.
"I would try to write something down once in a while, but thanks to my attention span, I usually forgot the story within an hour, never to return," she wrote. "Somewhere in between then and now, I've gotten to the point where crafting tales has become such a part of me that not to write would seem unnatural, even blasphemous."
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