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Anjali kids launch creative writing magazine

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Young writers from Anjali House at the magazine launch this weekend. Photo by: JORDAN KATZ

SIEM Reap’s Peace Café was busy on Sunday night for the launch of Anjali House’s second children’s magazine titled Wonderful Writing: Imagination is the Best Power.

The magazine, which costs $5, sprung from a creative writing workshop initiated by British-based author Sue Guiney for advanced English learners ranging from 14 to 22 at Anjali.

Guiney was originally invited to attend an Anjali photography exhibition in London, and came up with the idea to link the medium of photography with another form of art such as writing.

Guiney was in Siem Reap for the creation of the first magazine, but because she could not return this time, an internet forum was set up so the 19 students involved with the programme could post their work and receive feedback and comments from Guiney on their short stories or poems.

Vivian Zapf, the communication coordinator for Anjali, said the launch night was held so the magazine “would be known to more people and give the students exposure to read their work aloud. It boosts their self- confidence”.

Three short stories and two poems were read by the young authors, while a projector simultaneously depicted photographs that the students had taken: images of naked infants on bicycles, apsara dancers, mangy dogs, and elderly folk complemented the rawness of the student’s work.

Sixteen-year old Pech, who was one writer of the work entitled The Life of Musicians, said: “My teacher Richard gave me a photograph of four musicians and he told us to look at the photo and think about the picture and make a story. Then we worked in a group to brainstorm and to put the words into a first sentence with our other teacher Rhonda Jackson. We tried very hard to make a story and discussed it with my friends. When we agreed, the group wrote it on the board. Rhonda was very proud of us.”

The night ended with comic student film The Stupid Chief and the Silly Man,  filmed last year in Khmer with English subtitles.

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