“Today is an exciting time for us all who work at the Samoa Observer.”
These were the opening words from the Editor-in-Chief of the Samoa Observer, Savea Sano Malifa, Friday night when he launched the ‘Samoa Observer Tusitala Short Story Competition’ at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel.
The Pacific-wide competition is for both Samoan and English writers over the age of 18.
Entries will come from three regions: Australia and New Zealand, the rest of the Pacific Islands and Samoa.
From those regional winning stories, one story written in the Samoan language and one written in English will receive the overall Tusitala Awards.
In his Keynote Address, Savea briefly traced the growth of the Samoa Observer newspaper from humble beginnings and the decision to include an educational section in the paper, known as Newspaper in Education (N.I.E).
He went on to explain the reasons the newspaper is adding an adult competition to the existing competition held for primary, secondary and university students which has grown each year since 2011.
But this competition, he admitted, “is something we have been dreaming about for quite some time.”
“We are looking for wonderful stories from people in the Pacific, which we know are out there,” he said.
He paid tribute to the ongoing support of the general public and picked out for particular praise, the group of local sponsors who have shown belief in the initiative and provided financial support to ensure its success.
The Emcee for the evening was the Samoa Observer Editor, Mata’afa Keni Lesa and renowned writer, Reverend Ruperake Petaia, of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa at Gagaifo, Lefaga, blessed the event.
Guests at the launch included government representatives, the Diplomatic Corps, authors, academics, educational representatives, sponsors and media colleagues.