The Writing Competition That Created a Tropical Word Forest
This year's Valentine’s Day saw hearts bursting with pride across the world as the winners of the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize were announced in an awards ceremony that was live streamed around the planet.
It was a unique writing competition for short stories and poetry with a £3,000 prize fund and the only one in the world to plant a tree for every entry received.
Dorset based Magic Oxygen is run by Tracey and Simon West and they were delighted to receive such a positive response to the inaugural #MOLP as it became fondly known on social media. As well as the tree planting, the competition also pledged to fund the construction of an urgently needed classroom at Kundeni Primary School in Bore. The foundations for it have now been dug out by the villagers and funding to finish the build is being sought via a Go Fund Me campaign.
MOLP facts in brief:
**Almost 800 entries were received from 31 countries
**They were evaluated by 22 judges on 4 continents
**800 trees have now been planted with a footprint a little larger than Wembley Stadium
**All entrants were sent the GPS coordinates for their trees
The 10 winners and 10 additional shortlisted entries have been immortalised in an anthology and an additional tree will be planted for every copy purchased.
For forestry expertise, Magic Oxygen teamed up with reforestation guru Ru Hartwell, who is actively involved in several other worldwide planting projects including Size of Wales , TreeNation and Carbon Link amongst others.
Ru explains, ‘The Word Forest has been planted near Kundeni Primary School in Bore, Kenya . It’s quite dry there so we’ve planted drought resistant types like neem, gmelina and casuarina. They’re mostly grown for timber which is used for house building and is in high demand as there’s a an economic boom going on in the coastal resorts. Our Word Forest will create an income for the community, it will also reintroduce biodiversity, offer protection from the elements and provide other resources like medicine and pesticides (neem tree) and water purifiers (moringa seeds).’
Tracey adds, ‘Writers need notebooks and notebooks require trees. We hope our pioneering competition turns into an inspirational legacy that is replicated by other publishing houses and competition organisers.’
The competition will run again and be open for entries on 1st July through to 31st December 2015. The categories and prize money will be announced shortly but Magic Oxygen confirm just as with MOLP1 they will be planting a tree for every entry received and will issue the GPS coordinates of the trees to each entrant once the competition has closed.