First Place, Fiction: “A North Korean Perspective,” Shadia Farah
11th grade, Brooklyn Technical High School, New York
Shadia Farah first heard of the Writing for Peace Young Writer’s Contest through an online search. She’s passionate about subjects such as human rights and political science. She expresses her passion on such subjects through writing, because she believes writing is a powerful form of art. She thinks this is so because whether one wants to create a whole new world or present some facts, each choice is effective in conveying something about the real world. Shadia plans on majoring in international affairs in college as well as obtaining a minor in writing.
Shadia’s short story, “A Korean Perspective,” explores the emotional repression of a totalitarian regime through Mi-Yun, a young girl growing up in North Korea and struggling to cope with conflicts that develop between the individual and the collective. Says Shadia, “While writing this story, I realized how lucky I am to be an American. The U.S.A. has its flaws, but those are minor scratches compared to the deep wounds of North Korea.”
Our Fiction Judge, William Haywood Henderson, had this to say about Shadia’s short story:
“A North Korean Perspective” is a sharp, intense glimpse into the personal consequences of living under a totalitarian regime. We’re left with haunting images—the blisters on a girl’s fingers as she practices her string instrument for an upcoming ceremony, a photo of a ballistic missile slowly fading on a computer screen, the beautiful dress the girl has hidden beneath her bed, a dress she feels compelled to destroy. Shadia Farah has beautifully evoked a girl’s struggles to contain her emotions, to do the right thing, to conform, and in that the story is universal.
Read “A North Korean Perspective” in its entirety on January 1st, 2013 in DoveTales, an online publication of Writing for Peace.
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