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Shakespeare Selfie Challenge, youth category: We have a winner

It wasn't easy, but bestselling young-adult author Eric Walters has made his final decision. We're pleased to announce the winner and runners-up in the 12-18 age category of the Shakespeare Selfie Challenge.

Before we get to the winner, we would urge everyone to read Eric's thoughts on the quality of the entries we received for this category of the challenge. (In short, he's floored.)

And now, without further ado...

Second runners-up (tie)

"The Difference is a Rib" by Brynn Emond
The judge's thoughts: "Brilliant, heavy, ironic, beautiful rhythm, lovely pace, spectacular last line." 

"Romeo and Julien" by Maya Smith
The judge's thoughts: "From the heart, emotional, touching. Some simply riveting lines which were rather haunting. Why would anybody object to two people being in love?"

First runner-up
The judge's thoughts: "The title was enough to almost win. Visual, great pacing and timing. Excellent choice of words. I love that I could ‘see’ this one happening. Okay, definitely deserved an iPhone to replace the one lost in the water! Sorry that's not in the budget!

bag+journal.jpegCongratulations to all the runners-up! Each of you will be receiving a Shakespeare Selfie messenger bag and a Canada Writes journal.

And the winner is...

"Romeo Gets Denied" by Deo-Mark Macadaeg
The judge's thoughts: "I love this piece. It is clever, unique, follows the challenge so beautifully and has a whimsical quality that I enjoy. And the last line—Romeo strikes out. Reminds me of The Paper Bag Princess—which is rather high praise in my mind! Someday, when I grow up, I hope I can write something this clever!"

Meet the winner: Our Q&A with Deo-Mark Macadaeg

Rap music lover. Killer dodgeball player. And now, Shakespeare Selfie Challenge winner. We asked Deo about his modern Romeo and what he plans to do with his new iPad Mini.

Tell us about yourself. 
I'm 18 years old and in Grade 12. I go to Bethlehem Catholic High School in Saskatoon, SK. I like any type of physical activity. I'm into volleyball, badminton, dodgeball, basketball, and canoeing. I also love music. I play the ukulele and trumpet, and I'm an avid listener of rap music. 

How did you hear about the Shakespeare Selfie Challenge?
My English teacher, Ms. Laverty, showed us the Canada Writes website and the post about the challenge. 

Do you usually write? If so, what do you usually write?
I don't usually write, but when I do, I enjoy writing short stories.

What made you want to enter the competition?
When Ms. Laverty showed us this challenge online, I thought it was pretty cool. I thought I could have fun with putting a Shakespearean character in a modern-day situation. It was definitely different from the other kinds of assignments we'd usually get. I didn't see any harm in trying something new!

Your entry, "Romeo Gets Denied," features a modern-day Romeo professing his love for Juliet on Facebook. How did you come up with this idea?
My first thought when I read the challenge was, "Which one of Shakespeare's characters are young readers most familiar with?" I decided to write about Romeo, because he is one of Shakespeare's most famous love-struck characters. My second thought was, "What kind of situation would be awfully awkward for a character, but extremely entertaining for the reader?" I came up with a scenario that many teenage guys like me have been through. For most teenagers, something tragic would be getting denied by a crush. This is nowhere near Shakespeare's definition of tragedy, but it is still entertaining to others, nonetheless. 

How long did it take you to write your entry?
It took me about two days. I spent the first day thinking of the idea and putting it onto paper. The next day I played around with the structure, like the Shakespearean sonnet at the end of my entry. 

What's the first thing you're planning to do with your new iPad Mini?
Take a selfie, of course! Ha ha... maybe not. I would probably play around with it at first but I would like to use it for reading mostly and schoolwork.

Congratulations, Deo! For playing the ukulele and sending us the most hardcore dodgeball photo we've ever seen, we're also sending you a Shakespeare Selfie messenger bag and a Canada Writes journal. 

Thanks to everyone who entered. We had a blast reading your entries. You should all be extremely proud!


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