One of the ten finalists of this year's "Sea of words" literary contest, young Azra Zahirović brings us her impressions from the award ceremony in Barcelona.

One of the ten winners of this year competition "A sea of words"


I am sending you my impressions from the competition, a couple of pictures, and the story itself with which I succeeded. I know it's a little longer, but I really couldn't sum up all the wonderful emotions in just a few sentences. Thank you for your interest in hearing my opinion.

My name is Azra and I come from Srebrenik. I attend the 4th grade of high school and I am an excellent student. By the way, I'm a big "bookworm" and I consider books one of my greatest friends and interests. I've been writing since I was a child, but of course all those works were mainly works of children's imagination, poetry full of colourfulness and colours, and stories about things that I idealized at the time. As I grew up, there were many attempts and unfinished works, sparks in my eyes and disappointment because "Why can't I be as good as the others?". For the most part, my works did not come out of documents on my laptop or notebooks that have already been lost or thrown away, and even if they did see the light of day, it would be at some local event or school newspaper. All this discouraged me a lot and I thought that I should simply give up my "immature", "childish" desire to dawn somewhere outside the narrow boundaries. However, regardless of all these failures, my stubborn nature had a clear goal - I wanted to succeed as a writer, even if it took forever. I wanted the voice of my ink to be heard.

In July of this year, I came across an ad for the A Sea of Words contest. At first, I was sceptical and thought there was no point in even trying, because if I didn't succeed in my own country, how would I succeed in the entire vast Mediterranean. Of course, my curiosity and ambition went hand in hand and thus were stronger than my scepticism. I am a big feminist and activist, and I really liked the theme of the competition "Youths in the forefront for gender equality" and was the main trigger for me to apply.

When I received the invitation and the notification that I was one of the 10 finalists, I don't think there was a happier person than me. I felt that the child in me who had big dreams was proud that I didn't give up.

The days in Barcelona were definitely one of the most beautiful in my life. I still can't believe that I was a part of something so wonderful, encouraging and necessary for people all over the world. In a tiny 3-4 days, I met wonderful people whose acquaintance I will cherish for the rest of my life, visited one of the world's metropolises and was what I always wanted - the scream of those whose voices are not heard. I am very proud of myself and all the people I met, because I believe that even though we are so small in this huge world, together we can do miracles. I'm grateful that they showed me how much happiness and good energy can be given to us by people we know so little, and we feel like we've known them our whole lives, and of course to the organizers who made it possible for us to come and made sure everything went perfectly. I am grateful that they proved to me that our gender, nationality, age, religion and language do not play any role in how much we weigh in this world. Maybe I didn't break out with some mega popular short story or novel, but in my eyes and soul I achieved more than I could have imagined. This gave me the wind at my back and the confidence to continue doing what makes me happiest, which is creating.

And as for Olivia and Helena... Well, I know for a fact that they are immensely proud to have contributed to something that they tirelessly fight for because, as Olivia said: You are not alone in the world even when you fall. You are the phoenix and the world is your immortal feathers."