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PRESS RELEASE: The Writing Contest that Planted a Forest

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Boy from Kundeni Primary School by the Word ForestA little publishing house based in Lyme Regis, Dorset has just launched a global writing contest with very big heart. The third Magic Oxygen Literary Prize, or MOLP3 as it’s fondly known, opened for entries on 1st September. It remains the only competition in the world to plant a tree for every single entry.

This reforestation initiative is the idea of Tracey West, an author on sustainability and co-founder of Magic Oxygen Publishing. Their writing contests have left an impressive green footprint on the competition circuit, paid out over £6,000 in prize money and elicited thousands of entries from 60 countries. They are also responsible for a Word Forest in Bore, Kenya, now eleven times the size of Wembley Stadium.

Their forestry expertise comes from tree planting guru, Ru Hartwell, who has planted hundreds of thousands of trees all over the world. He has first-hand knowledge of Bore and knows how greatly it has suffered from deforestation. Ru is currently in Bore helping the villagers build a Forest Centre which will provide accommodation and education for people who want to help, and perhaps emulate, the reforestation project.

The Forest Centre, Bore, Kenya under constructionRu explains: ‘All humans share the same atmosphere. Every time we burn fossil fuels, we increase the amount of carbon up there for everybody. Luckily, the reverse is also true, so every time we plant a tree, a little bit of that carbon is removed. The planet’s tropical and equatorial forests are pivotal in keeping the earth cool, therefore Bore is the perfect location to help slow down climate change.’

‘The Word Forest is also reintroducing biodiversity and providing this remote African community with medicines, food, water purifiers, protection from the elements and a long-term income stream. MOLP is the only contest where everybody wins!’

Simon West is the other half of Magic Oxygen and an IT specialist. He wrote bespoke software that allowed the 19 judges of MOLP2 who reside in 6 countries on 4 continents, to assess the entries remotely, which kept the carbon footprint down to an absolute minimum. He also issues electronic certificates to the contest entrants with clickable GPS coordinates of their trees.

Simon adds: ‘Alex Katana is the resident Project Manager in Bore and once the trees have been planted, he walks through the forest and registers their exact location on a GPS logger. In time – and as Google Maps update their images – entrants will be able to watch the fruits of their labours grow.’

children in their new classroom 2016In addition to trees, previous MOLP contests also funded the construction of an urgently needed new classroom at Kundeni Primary School in the same community.

The finished building was handed over to the headmaster James Kithi in June. Their 300 students only had one safe classroom to study in and the addition of the new class has had a positive impact on their education.

Tracey comments: ‘The £5.00 entry fee for MOLP3 will buy a tree and some building materials for a further classroom. They desperately need it for study, but also, many of the students sleep at the school as it’s too far to walk home. The teachers work incredibly hard to juggle the lessons so as many as possible can study inside with protection from the harsh elements. Seeing photos of the one we’ve just finished full of children, is the only inspiration I need to make a noise about MOLP3!’


‘I don’t want our initiative to be unique, I want it to be pioneering! Other literary contest organisers could plant trees for each entry, uncovering brilliant creative writing and leaving an environmental legacy too.’

Visit MagicOxygen.co.uk/molp for more details, to purchase the anthology from MOLP1 or 2 (for which they’ll plant another tree) and to enter MOLP3 and be part of the magic.

ENDS+++

Contact:

Kundeni ClassroomHigh res images and further quotes available on request.

Simon West: Editor: Magic Oxygen Publishing
Telephone: 07896 884 114
Email:   [email protected]
Website: MagicOxygen.co.uk

Ru Hartwell: Magic Oxygen Word Forest Coordinator
Telephone: 07773 001 132
Email:   [email protected]
Website: CarbonLink.org

Competition In Brief:

Magic Oxygen Word Forest nursery, Bore, KenyaMOLP3 is sponsored by eco resort, Bunaken Oasis

Short Stories: up to 4,000 words
Poetry: up to 50 lines
Entry fee £5 per submission
Age 16+ at the time of submission
Open for worldwide electronic and postal submissions, aged 16+
Open for Entries: 1st September 2016
Closing Date: 31st December 2016

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A Publishing House, a Forest & a Classroom

Kundeni Prmary School children by the new classroom

In the spring of 2014, as well as publishing a handful of new titles* we also launched a pioneering global writing competition called the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize.

It had two categories – short stories and poetry – a prestigious £3,000 prize fund and three environmental promises built into its foundations:

  • to plant a tree for every single entry received, in Bore, Kenya,
  • to fund the build of an urgently needed new classroom at Kundeni Primary School in the same community,
  • to send every entrant an electronic certificate with the clickable GPS co-ordinates of their tree.

Children

Youngsters from Kundeni Primary School getting ready to plant trees in the Word Forest

Nursery

The Word Forest is packed with moringa, casuarina, neem, cashew and other trees

Villagers

The community of Bore got stuck into the footings of the new classroom

Footings

The children await their new classroom with excitement and anticipation

Construction

Headmaster James Kithi and the Kundeni students give the progress a thumb's up

Walls

Up go the walls and everyone lends a hand sealing the building

Floor

Laying the floor must have been a back breaking task

Celebration

Once the floor had been laid, it was time for everyone to celebrate

Paint

Thankfully, there was enough paint to give the old classroom a spruce up too

School

In the late spring of 2016, the classroom was ready and open for study - bring on classroom 3!

Anthologies

Buy them and enjoy the winning entries; we'll plant a tree and get more building materials for every one sold

Ru Hartwell, an international forestry expert, founder of TreeFlights and a trusted friend, chose Bore to site the Word Forest for several reasons. He knew we were keen to plant a legacy forest that would make a positive difference to the earth. Bore is located fairly near the equator and therefore would be incredibly efficient at locking down the CO2 from the atmosphere as the trees grow so quickly there. He also had first-hand knowledge of the area and knew how devastated it had become as a result of mass deforestation. A long-term tree planting project in Bore would not only benefit the planet, but would also have an incredibly positive effect on the community, as the trees would also provide them with food, medicines, shelter and protection from the elements and reintroduce biodiversity. In time, it could generate an income for them too. To date, the Word Forest is 11 times the size of Wembley Stadium.

Alex Katana, Ru’s right hand-man and the resident project manager in Bore, mobilised the whole community to get involved with the tree planting, including many of the children who attend Kundeni Primary School. There are around 300 children on their register, many of whom sleep on the premises because it’s simply too far to walk to. Despite the fact that it’s a primary school, several youngsters attend who are in their late teens and early 20s. Their families needed their labour to work the land so they could bring in desperately needed income, consequently, those children missed out on basic schooling. However, many parents reconsidered their position when the Kenyan authorities said all children should be encouraged to get a proper education and supported them to do so.

Educating 300 children at Kundeni Primary School had been a challenge however, as up until recently, they only had one decent classroom which housed around 30 youngsters at a time; it had been provided by another fundraising project headed by Ru. There were a handful of other ramshackle buildings dotted around the grounds, most of which were condemned and a danger to life to be in.

To say thank you for planting the trees, our literary prize also paid for the building materials and labour to construct a new classroom. In late spring 2016, a splendid new classroom was handed over to the Headmaster James Kithi and the children. They are now able to provide twice the amount of students with a safe and comfortable space to learn that keeps them cool in the summer and dry in the winter.

James wrote to us and said that it has already made an enormous difference to the whole community and we are so proud to know the Word Forest and the classroom have been welcomed and embraced. We aren’t stopping there however. As you’ll see from the images in the slider, there is a great need for more chairs, desks and basic resources.

The Mini-MOLPs and the forthcoming MOLP3 (due to open for entries in autumn 2016) are only going to continue the good work that has been done so far. Further resources to help the school are vital and a third classroom is on the cards.

With Ru continuing to be our guiding light, we will honour our commitment to helping the amazing community of Bore in Kenya with great pleasure, and perhaps one day, we will walk through the Word Forest too.

The Team

* Spring 2016 Titles
Blind Cupid: Max Brandt
Children of the Crater: Connor Cadellin McKee
Continental With Juice: James Dunford Wood
Dear Mother: Mark James
Dreaming the Moon: Izzy Robertson
Off Her Facebook: Robert Windsor and Jo Stroud
The Dreamer: Sue Hampton
The Magic Oxygen Literary Prize Anthology 2016
The Pick Up Artist: Chris Hill

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The Dreamer, by children's author, Sue Hampton

Poster for The Dreamer, by Sue HamptonIndividuality, equality, difference and courage are themes Sue has explored in her 20+ novels and she believes passionately in the power of stories.

Sue has been a full-time author since 2008, writing for readers of all ages and across different genres. She loves working with young people and has performed at over 340 schools countrywide.

Visit Sue’s fabulous new website with news of her forthcoming titles and appearances, www.SueHamptonAuthor.co.uk.

She will be appearing at the Lyme Literary Festival to launch her new title, further details will be posted here and on her website.

Pre-order your copy of The Dreamer from our shop and get it on the day of release!

The Team

 

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New Website for Bridport Prize Winning Author Chris Hill

Front page of website for Bridport Prize Winning Author, Chris HillWe are supremely excited about the forthcoming Lyme Literary Festival which will take place between 9th and 15th February 2015.

Chris Hill, one of our fabulous new authors, will be there launching his latest book, The Pick-Up Artist.

In preparation for the book launch, he has also launched a brand new website, courtesy of our sister eco-company Swan Developments.

Chris is a phenomenal social media hound and if you’d like to keep up to speed with his literary activity, hop across to www.ChrisHillAuthor.co.uk and subscribe, or follow his Twitter stream or Facebook page.

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Buy the Book & Get a Tree!

Magic Oxygen Literary Prize Anthology cover - A Tree Planted For Every PurchaseClick to pre-order.

The Magic Oxygen Literary Prize 2014-15 was a truly unique international writing competition that sought excellence in two categories; short stories and poetry.

This anthology contains the 10 best pieces and winners from each category. They were awarded the highest marks by 21 judges from around the world, which were whittled down from almost 800 entries received from 31 countries.

In association with the Community Carbon Link, we planted a tree for every single entry received in a tropical Word Forest in Bore, Kenya.

For every purchase of the anthology in paperback or e-book, we will plant another tree in the Word Forest and we’ll also contribute royalties that will fund the building of an urgently needed classroom at the Kundeni School.

Continue reading Buy the Book & Get a Tree!

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We're Firming Up the Judges

Lady JoggingWhich doesn’t mean we’re putting them through their paces in the gym!

We’re dotting i’s, crossing t’s and putting the schedule in place for the judging to commence on the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize.

I cannot describe the levels of elation that thumped through the office today. I spent most of it either speaking to, or emailing our fabulously diverse line up of judges and confess to being quite emotionally overwhelmed by all that transpired.

Continue reading We're Firming Up the Judges

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The Magic Oxygen Literary Prize is Now Closed

towelsOur tech team are drinking strong coffee and processing the final entries of the night to our literary prize and the judging team are limbering up and getting ready to dive in!

The response to our inaugural writing competition has been absolutely overwhelming.

Continue reading The Magic Oxygen Literary Prize is Now Closed

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Final Call for Entries to the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize

The MoonWe’ll be pulling a late one on Sunday night.

In fact, we’ll probably be perched over computer screens armed with stiff coffees at midnight and beyond, as our tech team closes the door on the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize for this year.

It has been an incredibly busy few months to be honest and it’s no surprise really; our literary prize is quite unique.

Continue reading Final Call for Entries to the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize

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Artistic Connections With Andy Wright Studios

Andy Wright & Karen ChildMagic Oxygen are very proud to announce a divine collaboration with Andy Wright Studios, based in Toronto, Canada.

Andy was born and raised in the UK and moved to Canada almost 15 years ago. He has pursued his dream to become a high-end photographer. Andy has toured with Spock’s Beard, Sound of Contact, and the legendary rock band Marillion with whom he produced an outstanding book, 9:30 to Fillmore, an in-depth visual account of their North American tour in 2012.

From their headquarters in the Toronto area, Andy Wright Studios shoots everything from musicians to models to Marmite jars. AWS artwork has been featured on numerous album covers and their concepts and creativity have been placed on everything from social media sites to t-shirts and posters. They also do an increasing amount of work at live events and trade shows and on film and theatre sets too, capturing stills and on set action as it happens.

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Is Social Media Important for Authors? Ask Anthony

Anthony RavenwoodWe have a prolific writer and talented musician in our stable of amazing authors, Mr Anthony Ravenwood.

He penned The Breathing Wheel, a children’s fantasy fiction book with wonderful illustrations by Stephen Bayliss and it landed on bookshelves at the tail end of last year.

He is now fully immersed writing a soundtrack to accompany his story and will be giving live performances in the not too distant future. If I had to pick a couple of artists to give you a sense of his musical style, I would say Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Alan Parsons; I’m sure you get the idea…

Anyway, this was meant to be about how social media can elevate your status and spread your message but I suspect I may also have piqued your interest for this enigmatic author.

Continue reading Is Social Media Important for Authors? Ask Anthony