Melville Senior High School Year 12 student and Head Boy Om Sharma has walked away with first place in an international writing competition beating school students from the United States, New Zealand and Singapore.
The Future Problem Solving Competition promotes written and verbal communication skills and encourages young people to create a better future through creativity and problem solving.
Om’s piece, titled ‘How It Is’, was entered into the Senior Division of the Scenario Writing category where the participants had to write a short story that was set at least 20 years into the future and the events are imagined but still based in reality.
Om was surprised to win the competition in his category.
“It was so sudden and out of the blue that it took a while to sink in. After I processed it, it was an incredible feeling. I'd always dreamt of it, but I never expected it to happen!” said Om.
‘How It Is’ is written on the topic of personalised medicine and is set in Australia in the 2070s where genetic modifications are the norm. The story follows four friends, one of whom recently had an operation.
“I wanted to explore the everyday consequences of a society focused on genetic modifications, and the topic of an average night out with friends being the setting resonated with me. I also wanted to give a realistic take on the idea, so I tried to incorporate real science wherever I could. That excited me.”
“The low buzz of evening chatter. The tinkling of beer bottles. The deep bass rumblings of the old jukebox in the corner. It’s my first night out with friends since the operation, and under the amber lights of our private pub booth, Tommy Newton clicks his fingers.” An excerpt from the piece ‘How It Is.’
Om said it was the first time he’s competed internationally and even though it was daunting he had a great experience.
“Science Fiction has always been my favourite genre to write about, and the prompts that Future Problem Solving gave out inspired me. I had some successes in previous years, so I think that motivated me to try again. My teachers also encouraged me to give it a shot.”
The global win hasn’t slowed him down, he’s working on new short stories, a first draft of a novel, and plans to enter more competitions.
Om’s success also marks the third year in a row that Melville Senior High School has had an internationally placed winner in the competition, but the first time the school has had an international champion.