MEET THE 2019/2020 OXFORD BIG READ ASIA WINNERS

INSPIRED BY READING

This year, student champions participating in Oxford Big Read selected books of their choice from lists of qualifying OUP readers. The students’ reading selections reflect both classic and contemporary themes. Winning submissions demonstrated thoughtful design, well-crafted essays, and critical thinking.

Participating branches of Oxford University Press including Hong KongIndiaMalaysia, and Pakistan, received thousands of submissions through participating schools and institutions and choose winners in their respective national campaigns. These winners became semi-finalists in the regional Oxford Big Read Asia campaign. Below you will meet the winners of our first annual regional campaign.

CATEGORIES FOR PARTICIPATION

CATEGORY 1: DESIGN A NEW BOOK JACKET

* For those aged 5 years old to 8 years old at the time of entry

All participants read an OUP book and then designed a new book cover for the book.

CATEGORY 2: TELL US WHAT YOU FOUND INTERESTING ABOUT THE BOOK OR WHAT YOU WOULD CHANGE

* For those aged 9 years old to 12 years old at the time of entry

All participants read an OUP book and then wrote a written response describing what they found interesting or what they would change about the book.

CATEGORY 3: WRITE A CRITICAL REVIEW OF AN OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS BOOK

* For those aged 13 years old to 15 years old at the time of entry

All participants read an OUP book and wrote a critical review describing the theme, plot, and characters.

mEET THE JUDGES

Photograph of Sarah Brennan

Sarah Brennan

Sarah Brennan is the author of the best-selling Chinese Calendar Tales and the Dirty Story series for primary school aged kids, illustrated by the human rights award-winning cartoonist Harry Harrison; the highly acclaimed children’s picture book Storm Whale, illustrated by award-winning Australian artist Jane Tanner, and Dummies for Mummies, a tongue in cheek guide for mothers navigating the perils of child-rearing in Hong Kong. Her first chapter book for pre-teens, The Marvellous Adventures of Maggie and Methuselah, will be published by Blacksmith Books in November. In addition, for the last 11 years she has run regular international story-writing and poetry competitions for primary school students on her blog at www.sarahbrennanblog.com.

Photograph of Pete Spurrier

PETE SPURRIER

Pete Spurrier left London to travel east along the Silk Road in 1991, and two years later he arrived in Hong Kong. In the years since then, he has written three bestselling guidebooks, edited a monthly magazine and contributed stories to anthologies, newspapers and other publications. Now, he compiles a weekly edutainment newspaper for pre-teens and also runs a local publishing house called Blacksmith Books.

MARTIN ALEXANDER

MARTIN ALEXANDER

Martin Alexander was born in Benghazi, grew up in Peru and lived for many years in Hong Kong. He is Editor in Chief of the Asia Literary Review and was a trustee of the UK’s Poetry Society from 2010-2013. Martin’s poetry, short stories and travel writing have been widely published. He won the South China Morning Post Short Story Competition in 1999 and his poetry collection, Clearing Ground, was published by Chameleon Press in 2004. In 2009 he was awarded the Orient-Occident International Grand Prix for Poetry. Martin has been a featured writer and moderator at literary events and festivals in Bangkok, Beijing, Cairo, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, London and Romania.

Awards and Prizes

c-winner

Three Winners will each receive:

- an iPad
- an official award certificate

c-runner-up

Three Runners-up will each receive:

- a cash award or gift certificate (equivalent to £100.00 GBP)
- an official award certificate

Announcing the official regional winners of the 2019/2020

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Congratulations to all our champion artists and scholars!

Category 1

Design a New Book Jacket

Winner
Ages 5-8

Name: M Qasim

Entry: What Did the Fish Eat? By Sara Khalid

School: APS Garrison Junior Lahore, Lahore

Country: Pakistan

Teacher: Ms Mahwish Jahir

It was a real pleasure to read your detailed thoughts about the book and its message, which you explain very clearly. Though you might have included the title and the author’s name on your cover, its design really shows Bilay’s happiness as the fish thank her!

Runner-up
Ages 5-8

Name: Kavya Raj Agrawal

Entry: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

School: Centre Point School (Wardhaman Nagar)

Country: India

Teacher: Mrs Sumathi Venugopalan

I loved your cover design, which is very close to how I think of Tom’s trick with the fence! You’ve used colour well and included elements from the story. Your comments show that you understand Tom very well! I really enjoyed your work.

Category 2

TELL US WHAT YOU FOUND INTERESTING ABOUT THE BOOK OR WHAT YOU WOULD CHANGE

Winner
Ages 9-12

Name: Haanya M Abbasi

Entry: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

School: The Isis School, Karachi

Country: Pakistan

Teacher: Ms Rashida Zulfiqar

Congratulations on a beautifully expressed exposition on one of the greatest novels in the English language. Your vocabulary was sophisticated and wide-ranging, and your style lyrical and enticing! I was most interested in your claim that the Oxford version missed certain critical parts of the story, but making such a bold claim does need to be backed up by an example! Also it would have been interesting to read more about the change in power and social circumstance of the characters during the course of the story due to the French Revolution. But this is being very picky, and overall, this was a magnificent effort! You are definitely a writer in the making. Well done!

Runner-up
Ages 9-12

Name: Harish Madhavan A

Entry: Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

School: Sri Aurobindo Mira Universal School, Madurai

Country: India

 

Congratulations on an excellent summary of a complex story, with an understanding of Swift’s aims in writing the book. In the “story change” response, I thought that your use of the wasps from Book 2, (which were so dangerous when Gulliver was tiny) in the ending of Book 1, when Gulliver was gigantic, was a clever reflection of the device used by Swift himself in opposing huge and tiny; wise and foolish, in the four successive parts of the story. But do take care with your grammar, punctuation and spelling as this let down an otherwise impressive entry.

Category 3

WRITE A CRITICAL REVIEW OF AN OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS BOOK

Winner
Ages 13-15

Name: Zaid Faisal

Entry: Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

School: Generation’s School, Karachi

Country: Pakistan

Teacher: Ms Fouzia Naz

I am impressed by your pinpoint command of vocabulary. You have chosen a wide range of uncommon words to employ, and you use each of them accurately and to good effect. I also appreciated your detailed descriptions of the characters, and while I would like to hear more of your personal reaction to the story, this is an excellent review. Congratulations!

Runner-up
Ages 13-15

Name: Kashvi Ranka

Entry: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

School: Hutchings High School, Pune, Maharashtra

Country: India

Teacher: Ms Rita Katawati

Your review uses a nice variety of language and clearly shows that you have gained a lot from reading this book. I appreciated your comparison of the lives and difficulties of the author and of the main character. This shows that you could look beyond the book and gain insights into the time and place in which it was written. Well done!

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