Drumahoe teenager Nadia Cusack had almost forgotten she’d entered a UK-wide writing competition in a national magazine a few months ago, but the 13-year-old says there is no way she will forget her “once-in-a lifetime” prize.
The third year Lumen Christi student was among hundreds of teens throughout the UK to pen a 200-word book review of one of 10 teenage authors shortlisted by the magazine. Nadia chose ‘Marshmallow Skye’ by Cathy Cassidy.
“I’d forgotten about it because it was so long ago,” the bubbly teen told the ‘Journal’. “When I saw the e-mail I had to think about what it was I’d entered! It was a big shock, but I was really excited because all the authors are my favourite.”
With her review selected as the winner, Nadia and her mum, Donna Lynch were flown to London on Friday to enjoy a day of VIP treatment, including a private function with each of the authors and publishers.
“I went in the limousine with Cathy Cassidy and Cathy Hopkins and that was really good,” she explained. “They were really nice and gave me advice about writing and told me to keep at it. Announcing the top author was also good, and getting about 20 free books, all signed by the authors.”
Nadia wants to be a science fiction writer, and has already had two short stories and a poem published online and in a book.
“I like science fiction because I think the storylines are more interesting, like Hunger Games, Harry Potter and Twilight,” she said. “I love reading because it takes you to a different life. It’s really interesting.”
Nadia described the day as “amazing” and says her friends, while delighted for her, are also a “a bit jealous!”.
Proud mum Donna said it was a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity for her daughter, who has been invited to complete work experience with Bliss magazine.
“It was great, definitely,” she said of the day in London. “My favourite part was the private function when Nadia met with the authors and publishers. They were all really nice and had a lot of time for Nadia. They told her to keep at writing now when she is young. Bliss invited her back for work experience, which is fantastic. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for her.”