Form Three Judy's the write stuff

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 April, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 April, 2006, 12:00am

Judy Lo dreams of becoming the next J. K. Rowling.

The 15-year-old is already crafting her first English novel, set in an imaginary world that reaps the benefits of technology but is safe from the encroachment of pollution. Ideas of a sequel are spawning.

'I try to finish my homework quickly everyday to work on my story. The mere thought of it gets me thrilled,' she said. 'I hope my book will be published.'

The Form Three pupil, from Cheung Chuk Shan College in Tin Hau, has been awarded high distinction in English writing twice - once in Form One and again this year - in a talent search initiated by the Education Program for Gifted Youth, a faculty in Stanford University.

The programme receives applications from students whose performance lies within the top 5 per cent of the cohort in either English or mathematics. Judy is one of 20 out of 200 contestants from Hong Kong who will be eligible for summer writing courses at Stanford.

Karen Margetts, a NET teacher who teaches creative English at the school, said it was rare for a non-native speaker to have such a sophisticated writing style and sensitivity to language, and even rarer when Judy had never studied abroad nor hired a private tutor.

'She is a writer, and that needs to be encouraged,' she said.

Judy said she fell in love with reading and writing when she was a child, and had worked hard to hone her writing skills from reading widely. She enjoyed reading English books and Chinese classics but not contemporary Chinese literature. She particularly liked Russian literature for its rich plot and powerful language, she said.

Her fondness for reading was more an influence from her parents than her primary school, she said.

'English classes were boring. There was too much stress on grammar. Not enough attention was given to creativity,' she said.

More reading comprehension and composition should be included, and an interest in reading should be cultivated from an early age to pave the way for developing good language skills, she said.