By Bridget Kelly
Leonie Agnew is a finalist for the Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction for her latest book The Impossible Boy.
The story is about six-year old Benjamin who is an orphan in a war-torn country, told from the point of view of his imaginary friend Vincent.
Leonie is surprised and grateful for her position as a finalist, a place she never would have imagined herself in years ago.
“If you told me I’d be a published author I’d be pleased, I wouldn’t believe you,” said Leonie.
She has been writing since she was a child, and remembers starting The Impossible Boy years ago.
She was upset about going to church on Christmas Eve with her parents, so she made a deal.
“In return (for going) I wanted a good idea for a story, the next day I had the idea.”
She also credits watching Peter Pan, and a movie based in Beirut before that evening for her inspiration.
Her goal is write a book that can be loved by generations.
“To write something that lasts, that resonates so strongly with children they want to pass it down to their children.”
The judges for the Esther Glen Award include convener Pam Jones, education lecturer Trish Brooking, author Ben Brown, reviewer and promoter Sarah Forster, WORD director Rachael King and English Professor Martin Salisbury.
“We’re pleased to see these books feature an equal mix of strong male and female characters from different races, ethnicities and backgrounds,” said the judges.
She will be competing for the award with Joy Cowley, Tania Roxborogh, Des Hunt, and Julie Lamb.
The winner will be announced on Monday August 14 in Wellington.
Agnew is also chairperson for Storylines writing workshops for aspiring writers.
To find out more visit http://www.storylines.org.nz/