Young Moroccan writers win #MedStoryPrize with inspiring environmental short stories

By Pommelien da Silva Cosme, Mediterranean Programme and Communications Coordinator

In April, we announced the launch of #MedStoryPrize, the very first Mediterranean environment-themed writing competition to celebrate the rich culture and nature found in Mediterranean ecoregions. A Rooted Everyday campaign, #MedStoryPrize called for inspiring stories about the richness of nature and urgency for preserving it, including relationships between planet and people, especially those whose livelihoods depend on traditional and sustainable practices.

The children’s competition—which consisted of two age categories (8-13 and 14-18)—just closed. Here’s what our national judge in Morocco, Brahim El Boukhari, had to say about the entries.

“It has been a great pleasure to be part of this exciting competition! It was a difficult task for me to choose the best story from each category because the writers displayed a similar amount of talent and skill. I read each story more than three times: the first time to get a general idea of the piece, and then subsequent readings to focus on their writing skills and short story techniques, plot, characterization, setting, and dialogue, style and language. These set the stories apart and I am impressed by the dialogue and storytelling, which made reading these amazing short stories highly enjoyable.”

We are now proud to announce the winners of the children’s writing competition, and would like to share their winning stories with you!

Faiza Lhbabi, from Sebou Middle School in Fes, emerged the winner of the 500-word category with her piece, The Missing Message, a story about a group of animal friends living in a beautiful forest. In her story, Faiza describes how the forest trees are losing their greenness and the river that was once flowing through it is completely dried up. The animals, worried about dying of thirst, gather one morning to discuss how they are going to survive and if people are able to help them…

While accepting her prize, Faiza said, “I am really happy to win the MedStoryPrize. I wrote every single word with love and hope that readers will love it. Being a countryside girl, I am aware of the environmental problems that affect our daily lives, and I believe that collaboration and solidarity among countries and people is needed to face these issues.”

Read The Missing Message here

The second category was won by Kaoutar Lakhr, from Lycée Ibn Sina in Biougra (Agadir). The Garbage Monster tells the story of two young girls who time-travelled to the future and found planet Earth deserted and in a terrible state: a sea full of oil and garbage everywhere. While looking around at the state of the Earth, they meet a monster who is made of all kinds of garbage. He is very angry with humans and the girls quickly learn why…

Of her piece, Judge Brahim says Kaoutar’s entire story is knitted around dialogue, which makes it stand out among the others. I enjoyed the imagination of this writer especially through the use of a remote control to bring the garbage monster into existence. The main character of her story reminds me of the “The Garbage Monster” by Tom Knight, but it’s told differently and innovatively, and in a way that shows people what they can create out of garbage.”

Read The Garbage Monster here

Posing with runners-up Oumaima and Salma in the Dar Taliba garden.

Dar Taliba students Oumaima and Salma won 2nd place with their stories “The farmer and Nature” and “The struggle of a student”. Both girls received a prize for their story during a small celebration ceremony on the final day of the school year. “We are all super happy and proud that Oumaima and Salma won 2nd place in this creative writing competition”, Dar Taliba director Jamila Boussata says.

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