pot-pourri is a compilation of winning poetry and short-stories written by Ottawa's young writers. The French and English works are selected from the submissions made to the Awesome Authors Youth Writing Contest, which encourages Ottawa residents between the ages of 9 and 17 to submit poems and/or stories in both official languages. The collection showcases some incredible writing, and puts the spotlight on Ottawa's youth.
Death and life, shifters and ghosts, dark wolves, mystery, suspense, power and love, reincarnation, nightmares, a rather nice zombie, few true stories but truth on every page. pot-pourri may suggest a little bit of everything, but this anthology is sure filled with one thing: talent. These young pens write like old hands.
If you don’t wish to understand this generation, to know their dreams and their nightmares, if it’s of no matter to learn how they can fly, if you don’t want to see how this world is in good hands, then don’t read this ... it’s not for you.
— Michael F. Stewart, Ottawa Public Library Writer in Residence and award winning author of dark thrillers, graphic novels, and tech savvy Young Adult fiction
Ottawa's young writers have managed to astound us once again with their fresh, poignant and utterly ingenious writing. This amazing collection runs the gamut from delightfully entertaining to profoundly insightful. It’s always a pleasure to discover what is in the hearts and minds of the creative and talented young people in our community. This year we received a record number of entries and I assure you that every single piece submitted contained a precious gem - I only wish we could share them all with you. There is so much to be proud of here!
— Jessica Roy, Ottawa Public Library librarian
Each one of us has that inner voice that needs speaking, those strong emotions that need expressing, and that wild imagination that needs unleashing. But not everyone has what these Awesome Authors have: rich creativity, deep commitment, and great courage.
Thanks to their vivid imaginations, these young writers have come up with unique and engaging ideas: tales told as ants or huskies, poems of dreams and fears, stories of life and death, of love and loss. Thanks to their commitment to the craft, these young writers have learned how to best express those ideas. They worked hard to draw us in and stir us up, amazing us with their turns of phrase, fresh points of view and depth of insights. But most of all, thanks to their courage and the wonderful opportunity offered by this contest, these Awesome Authors are sharing these wonder-filled worlds and meaningful moments with us. Touching us. Inspiring us. Wielding the power of the written word -- and wielding it well!
So, to you, readers, enjoy this wonderful pot-pourri of such talented voices. Sit with it. Savour it. Celebrate it.
And to you, young authors, may you always have the creativity, commitment, and courage to be Awesome.
– Caroline Pignat, Governor General's Award winning author of acclaimed novels Greener Grass, Wild Geese, Timber Wolf, and Egghead
In this technological age, the written word still matters, and one could argue, it matters more than ever. But writing well takes real effort, and many people are not willing to put in the effort anymore. These contest winners have done an exceptional job — the writing is good and the imagination is on fire. Keep reading and writing. Both endeavours are well worth the effort. I look forward to your coming best-selling books.
— Larry McCloskey, author of Dani and Caitlin Mysteries series
pot-pourri is very aptly named. This small collection of poetry and short stories is indeed an eclectic mix of brilliant writing. The maturity and depth of the ideas, reflections, and perspectives, and engagement of audience, has a wisdom that belies the youthfulness of the authors. Indeed, when I first read the book I forgot that it was a collection written by students. The diversity of themes, the exploration and sometimes explosion of ideas, the variety of styles – all of these contribute to making fascinating and intriguing reading. You will find yourself compelled to go back and re-read – to challenge yourself to get inside the writing. BRAVO. Congratulations to all of these wonderful writers. The future of literature is in good hands!
— Peter Gamwell, Superintendent of Instruction, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
You know that very moment you read something... something so incredible/delicious/gut-wrenching/powerful/hilarious/earth-shaking/mind-opening/heart-growing that you have to put your book down and say, 'Wow. Wow. Wow.' because that writer, that author has got IT'? That special IT that can't be faked/forged/changed/squelched from their talent?
This book is filled with young writers who have IT.
I am blown away by how much talent these young writers have. I am in awe. And slightly jealous.
May we never, ever squelch their talents.
Jenn Kelly - author of the Jackson Jones: The Tale of a Boy… series
Attending the Awesome Authors event was fantastic! I was truly impressed – the poetry, the short stories – everything was simply wonderful and of such quality. In reviewing pot-pourri 2012, I was struck by the compassion with which the poetry was crafted and the stories were told. I loved the clever lines and play on words constructed by creative minds, and was delighted by how enjoyable and full of humour some of the writing was. The writing within this anthology is so varied. From a very moving piece of poetry that forces you to reflect on the importance of our earth to short stories that exemplified courage, pot-pourri 2012 is a compilation of poetry and short stories that is sure to please everyone. The depth and quality of these writings are testaments to the fact that our young writers are so talented. I hope that everyone will find a poem or short story that will move, inspire or just cause one to think a bit more. Thank you to all our young writers for providing such wonderful stories and poems to read and thank you to the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library for sponsoring this contest!
Danielle McDonald - Chief Executive Officer, Ottawa Public Library
pot-pourri 2011 is a wonderful collection of stories written with emotion, honesty, humour and depth. From funny school stories and tales of adventure to lyrical poetry and heart-wrenching life truths, each contribution sparkles with the energy and sincerity of youth. Well done!
- Hélène Boudreau - Author of Real Mermaids Don’t Wear Toe Rings