5 Questions with the 2016 Golden Baobab Prize Winners!

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Vennessa Scholtz

Vennessa Scholtz from South Africa, Winner of the 2016 Golden Baobab Prize for Picture Books.

 

How do you feel about being a winner of the Golden Baobab Prizes? What does it mean for you?

I am humbled and honoured to be a winner of this prestigious award, more so because this is my first foray into writing literature for this age group. I am grateful and blessed for a God given opportunity to write this story, and for the possibility of it reaching and encouraging a new generation of readers.

How did you hear about the Golden Baobab Prize? and how is Golden Baobab’s work important to you?

I had seen some of the books at my library and then went looking for Golden Baobab online. It is important that African children read stories about them, for them and set in the world they live in. Golden Baobab gives these stories an opportunity to be published and read.

What fascinates you about (African) children's literature?
 

These are stories I can relate to. It’s the stories my children can understand because it’s about their reality and the continent they live on. It’s something we need to appreciate as often children’s stories are about far away countries and about situations that are foreign to us.

What were the hurdles you had to overcome to produce or publish your work? How did you surmount them?

The most difficult aspect was to find the time to write. I have a full time job, and I’m a wife and mother of two grown sons, so finding time just to sit and write was difficult. I forced myself to spend at least 30 minutes writing when I got home in the evening. Sometimes I would just put down words and at other times I actually worked on definite pieces of writing.

What ambitions do you have for your career?
 

Winning Golden Baobab has given me the kick start I needed. I didn’t think I would win, so much so that I already started working on an entry for next year. I hope to continue writing children’s stories that will make a positive impact on the reading habits of our young people.

 
 

 

Lori-Ann Preston

Lori-Ann Preston from South Africa, Winner of the 2016 Golden Baobab Prize for Early Chapter Books.

 

How do you feel about being a winner of the Golden Baobab Prizes? What does it mean for you?

 I’m absolutely thrilled, grateful and honored to be a winner of The Golden Baobab Prizes.  To have received recognition of my writing by such a prestigious panel of judges is both humbling, exciting and a dream come true.

How did you hear about the Golden Baobab Prize? and how is Golden Baobab’s work important to you?

 The competition was advertised by SCBWI an international children’s writing society that I’m a member of.  I then googled The Golden Baobab Prize and was immediately excited to become a part of such an amazing endeavour. I certainly share in The Golden Baobab’s vision ‘to create a world filled with wonder and possibilities for children, one African story at a time’.  And I am delighted to become a part of The Golden Baobab team. The Golden Baobab Prize has also given me the opportunity as an unpublished writer to become recognized and supported, which I am extremely grateful for.

What fascinates you about (African) children's literature?

I absolutely love my beautiful country and its incredible diversity. I find African children’s stories to be both fun and educational and I love reading children stories that they can relate to.

How did you become interested in books and writing?

My mom has always been an avid reader.  She introduced me, as a young child to the wonderful world of books. My most memorable and favourite book would be Enid Blyton’s, Up The Faraway Tree, which my mom read to me as a young child.  The characters had such a huge impact on my life and I so wanted to meet Moonface and Silky the fairy. I have always had a calling to write children’s stories and I’m passionate about educating children. As a teacher who has read hundreds of books to children over the past twenty years, nothing brings me more pleasure, than introducing children to the wonderful world of their imagination.

What ambitions do you have for your career?

The hope for my career is that I can continue to write more and more and more books.  I’m also a strong believer in life-long learning and would love to continue with my studies. The hope for my books is that they will spread joy, education and the love of reading into the hearts of all the children of Africa.

 

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