How does it feel to be bilingual or multi-lingual? 'It's cool. I can communicate with both Westerners and Chinese. I can translate for them as well,' said Cherrie Tse, 14, a Form Three student from Canadian International School. Her story about a boy's reaction to a law that forces people to use only English has won her an award at the 2002 Schools Book Prize, part of last week's Hong Kong International Literary Festival. Her schoolmate Kevin Ng and Li Po Chun United World College's Akshay Jashnani also won awards for their essays. 'It is definitely advantageous to be multi-lingual,' said Akshay, 17, who speaks fluent Hindi and English. He is learning French and hopes to master at least one language from every continent. 'You come to know how something, such as a feeling, can be expressed in one language but not another. These things that cannot be translated are often the essence of a culture,' he said. Some 27 essays were submitted from nine schools for the territory-wide contest, all of them winners of contests held at school level. The Schools Book Prize was organised to promote creative writing among local students. 'It was another side to reading,' said Elaine Leung May-yin, chief operating officer of online book-seller Paddyfield.com, the co-ordinator of the youth section of the festival. School visits by writers and workshops were also organised for youngsters. 'It is about more contact and a wider spectrum of knowledge for the younger generation,' Ms Leung said. The youth section of the festival was introduced last year. Ms Leung hopes to include authors of children's books in the future.