Staff Reporter

Contest, which kicked off in Chennai about four weeks ago, had over 5,000 participants

CHENNAI: More than 500 students from various city schools attempted to script success stories at the `Classmate Young Author Contest 2006' Chennai finals held on Tuesday at Kamaraj Arangam.

A panel headed by author Ruskin Bond will judge the thrillers, mysteries and fantasies, written by students from class IX to XII. They will look into the topicality, originality, style, grammar and story line, before deciding the winners, according to organisers ITC Limited. The contest, which kicked off in Chennai about four weeks ago, had over 5,000 participants. At the event, which saw the participation of more than 500 finalists, winners of the Classmate Young Artist Contest were also felicitated. Keerthana Shah from Bhavans Rajaji Vidyashram won the first prize while Nihara Rachel Kurian of Sishya Vidyalaya came second. K. Aruran of Springfield Matriculation HSS won the third prize.

At the event, students also got to know about various aspects of creating writing, including career options such as journalism, advertising and story writing as part of a workshop conducted by a language trainer.

Along with Kotak Mahindra Old Mutual Life Insurance, ITC took the fourth edition of the contest to 34 cities across the country. The finals are taking place at 19 centres and will be over in the coming weeks. Two top stories from each centre will be sent to the jury, which will then shortlist the best 16 for national finals.

The winner will get a seven-day tour of `Paris, and national finalists will be awarded PCs, camcorders, digicams. The icing will be the publishing of their stories by Rupa & Co.

The national hunt, say organisers, has had 2 lakh participants from over 6,000 schools. Chand Das, chief executive of ITC Greetings, Gifting and Stationery Business, said this year they had expanded the event by holding it in 34 cities, up from 15 cities last year.