Winners named in regional story contest

Logotaeao Vaeoso of American Samoa and Mele Mauala of Samoa have been named overall winners at the Pacific’s first-ever regional, short story competition.

Judges named four other regional winners as well as a group of Highly Commended entries.

The announcement of overall and regional winners of the Samoa Observer Tusitala Short Story competition at the Tanoa Tusitala Hotel in Apia, was a particular triumph for author, poet and the Samoa Observer’s Editor in Chief, Savea Sano Malifa.

He had persevered for several years to present a fitting forum for all Pacific writers to choose to tell their stories in the English or Samoan languages.

And last night, in front of over 150 guests from academic circles, the government, the diplomatic corps and supporters, friends and sponsors, the waiting for the results of the 2015 competition was over.

Judges of Vaeoso’s winning ‘Onosai ma fa’ataali i le taimi a le ali’i,’ praised the “simplicity of the story and the way it flowed”.

Of Mauala’s winning ‘The Rat and the Octopus’, judges said, “The subtext offered by the mythic title and its accompanying moral is simply superb.”

Regional winners writing in Samoan were ‘E le valea uma Valea’ by Miriama Alalatoa Pomare, Australia/New Zealand section and ‘O le tautua fia matai e fa’amaga ai le ele’ele’ by Matiu Tautunu, Samoa.

Juliana D Feaver from New Zealand took out the regional prize in the Australia/New Zealand section with ‘The Girl with Diamond Eyes’ while ‘The One in 10’ written by Pouari’i Tanner of the Cook Islands was judged best of the Rest of the Pacific section.

Entries were submitted by writers living in three regions – Australia and New Zealand, the rest of the Pacific and Samoa.

From those regional winners, the two overall winners were then selected.

Information and advertising about the competition went out to the Pacific via the Internet and entries were largely submitted online keeping organizational costs to a minimum.

“We wanted to put most of our sponsor’s funding into prize money befitting a Pacific-wide competition,” said a member of the Organising Committee.

With close to 200 entries received, the Committee is confident that future entries in the annual competition will grow in numbers and quality.

A publication is planned showcasing a collection of the best entries.

“We are particularly proud that all sponsorship for the prizes and related costs of the competition, came from local Samoan companies, organizations and businesses.”