Staff Reporter

Bangalore: The fourth edition of the Classmate Young Author Contest 2006 had more than 350 students representing 40 schools, participating at the city finals held at Guru Nanak Bhavan in Bangalore on Wednesday.

With a view to promote creativity, critical thinking and self-acceptance among the teens, ITC Limited conducted the talent competition in 34 centres in the country.

The Bangalore event was judged by authors Jean Letschert and Richard Crasta, while Nitin Asthana, Manager-Industry Affairs, ITC Limited, was the chief guest.

The event commenced with a creative writing workshop for the students, which was conducted by Dr. Letschert. "Sincerity and originality are two things that writers should keep in mind. Today, plagiarism has given rise to superfluous form of writing," said Dr. Letschert. He appealed to the participants to never give up the practice of writing. "Writing is not a matter of being a scholar, it is more about expressing oneself," he added.

The competition, which was open to students from classes IX to XII, had them writing a 1,500- word story, in the genre of mystery, thriller and fantasy.

The competition showcased some of the compelling works of fiction and non-fiction authored by Bangalore teens.

Some of topics given to the students were "Five Survivors", "License Please", "An hour before daylight". The stories will be judged on the basis of relevance of the topic, originality of idea, style, storyline and grammar.

Two students from Bangalore will make it to the national level.