A local teen has won a prestigious writing competition out of 12,000 entries from around the world.
Ariadna Sullivan, 13, won the junior category of the Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Competition with her poem What is in Your Toolbox for Peace? A New Perspective, which is intended to be read both forward and backward, giving it a different perspective each way.
The award included a week-long trip with her family to London, England for an awards ceremony at Buckingham Palace, presided over by Her Highness the Duchess of Cornwall Nov. 21.
More than 12,000 entries were received in the two categories of junior under 14, and senior ages 14-18, said the contest website. Entrants were asked to write about the theme, A Commonwealth for Peace.
Sullivan was asked by the BBC if she would make a recording of preparing for the trip and she agreed. The BBC put the recording online as part of its BBC Outlook show.
She even included sound effects with some of her commentary, like the sounds of her packing up her things such as clothing.
“I’m extremely excited to go to London. It’s the first time I have ever been out of the continent,” she said in her recording.
“Writing is, and has always, been a big part of my life. What amazes me most is that writing is simply rearranging the 26 letters of the English alphabet, but these rearrangements of the letters have the power to illustrate beautiful pictures into our minds, provoke profound thoughts and even inspire us.”
She also explained in the recording that her poem was about having a new perspective and reading it forward gives it a negative tone, but reading it backward gives it a positive tone.
Sullivan says she is thinking of studying astronomy or astrophysics at either the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) or Cambridge University when she’s older.
The essay competition is touted on its website as “the world’s oldest schools’ international writing competition, managed by the Royal Commonwealth Society since 1883.”
Winners also saw Westminster Abbey, Shakespeare’s Globe, National Theatre and the High Commissions of Australia and Canada, according to the Royal Commonwealth Society website.
Ariadna Sullivan’s winning poem is below. Be sure to read it forward and backward.
What is in Your Toolbox for Peace?
A New Perspective
I have a toolbox of hatred and struggle
I shall never say:
My peace is undying, my love is true
At this, I chuckle
I am swift to rage and loathing is my friend
Trust and hope
Will be replaced with
Relationships built on despise
In my toolbox, hate will thrive
It is foolish to say
There is a possibility for peace
My toolbox is malicious
And I refuse to believe that
It can change the world for the better
This may sound outrageous but
Joy is extinct in my toolbox
It is a ruse that
I have confidence in it to contribute to world peace
I use what is in my toolbox to reach the common goal of peace
That is simply mendacity
I deny that
We can hope in my toolbox and I
The world has no hope
It is silly to think that
The contents of my toolbox will present us with some hope to build upon
You may assume I have gone mad, but
I know that my tools will grant the world with chaos rather than peace
To lie is to say:
Hope is our most important resource
The only hardware I use from my toolbox are the drills of dread, hammers of hatred, screws of struggle, and nails of neglect
You are fooling yourself if you believe
I have tools such as levellers of love, wrenches of righteousness, hammers of hope, and jigsaws of gentleness
My tools will lead us to our common goal
We are all born with some evil inside of us that is waiting to be roused
I do not believe
All we need is a new perspective
There is no hope
It is irrational to think:
We have a chance for peace using my tools.