MaltaToday | 31 August 2008

NEWS | Sunday, 31 August 2008

Taking the piss? Nappies for novellas

Who wants to live as a writer on this tiny island? Trevor Zahra, the acclaimed novelist and children’s story writer who has of late ventured into adult literature, was the main juror in a story writing competition, in which the winners were awarded nothing less than one year’s supply of babies’ nappies.
The contest, called ‘Flexi the Caterpillar Story Writing Competition’, launched by Pampers, drew an overwhelming 300 stories, according to organisers.
Zahra was the star juror on a panel which included representatives from the nappy manufacturing giant based in Geneva.
Five winners will now have their stories distributed with the diapers; they are Deborah Schembri Tabone, Valerie Scerri, Mariosa Camilleri, Emily Farrugia, and Ursula West. The latter author does not have babies, so she announced she will be donating one whole year’s supply of nappies to the Millennium Chapel.
“Pampers devotes significant research and innovation to developing the diapering technology that helps babies sleep comfortably,” a press release announcing the five newly found authors announced. “Through this initiative Pampers wanted to generate more awareness among parents on the importance of sleep in a baby’s development by linking the product to bed-time reading.”
About the winning stories, the Pampers jurors said: “The outstanding stories showed fresh and highly original descriptions of how the caterpillar turns into a butterfly. They also used simple words and easy sentences. Moreover they had interesting themes woven indirectly in the stories, such as friendship, patience, obedience and generosity, without being overtly moralistic.”
Zahra is not the first Maltese author to pamper corporate interests for children. Before him, Philip Farrugia Randon wrote a book of short stories for children commissioned by HSBC under the character of Puttinu, the global bank’s local fictional hero.
Zahra had also lent his image in government’s Smart Island campaign launched just before the election.

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