09 May Why the Tusitala Writing Competition is Exciting News for Pacific Writers

Calling all Pacific Writers, aspiring writers, storytellers, anybody with an untold story within…theres a competition just for you.

Theres only a few more days left to enter the  Samoa Observer Tusitala Short Story Competition. This is an exciting new initiative aimed at generating Pacific stories and helping to nurture our Pasifika writers.

Deadline – June 1st 2015. Email submissions encouraged.
Entry – Free
Eligibility – Must be 18+. Resident of a Pacific country/island state. (Includes Australia, NZ, Hawaii, American Samoa etc)
Stories must be under 5000 words and original unpublished fiction on any topic.
Stories can be written in either English OR Samoan.
Judging will be done in three regions – Samoa, Aust and NZ, Other Pacific Islands.

Awesome cash prizes of $1000USD for each region and then an overall winner will be chosen from the regional winners.

For more info check out their website: Samoa Observer Tusitala Short Story Comp


I have personal reason to be a great believer in a competition like this. Twelve years ago I was working as a high school teacher and dreaming a quiet little writer dream. The National Univ of Samoa partnered with SamoaTel and the Samoa Observer to sponsor a short story competition. I entered, typing the last word on my story at 4pm on the due date before rushing up to the university to submit it. It was exhilarating to finally submit a story to a contest and actually write my real name on it. That feeling alone, of being a ‘real’ writer, even only for a day, is one I’ve always remembered. Then I got very busy with being pregnant and going to New Zealand to have my emergency C-section baby, born at 28 weeks size and tiny enough to bath in a cake mixing bowl. I forgot all about the competition. We had just returned home with our new baby when the organizers called to invite me to the prizegiving that night. They said I’d won a prize so ‘please make sure you attend’. I thought it was an Honorable Mention, or maybe a ‘Nice Try’. Or a ‘Beautiful Handwriting’ certificate…  I was blown away to find that I’d won First Place in the competition, carting away a brand new computer as my prize. That competition was a turning point for my writing dream. It’s when I first dared to imagine that maybe, just maybe, I could write stories worth reading, stories worth publishing.

I know that a competition like this, can mean the same thing for many others out there.

I’m honored to participate in this competition as one of the judges and grateful to the fabulous team at the Samoa Observer for organizing it. There is a hunger worldwide for our stories and we need more of them told. The incomparable Albert Wendt said, “We must write, paint, weave, dance, sing and think ourselves into existence. For too long, others have done it for us. We must tell our own stories.”

Good luck everyone. I can’t wait to read your stories.

  • Dolores

    This is exciting! Will the entries be posted for all to read? We need more Pasifika writers like you Lani to tell our side of the stories without Hollywood, the good, the bad and the ugly if it applies. Thank you for always advocating the Samoan/Pacific side!

    May 26, 2015 at 5:51 am
  • Thank you!!!!

    May 26, 2015 at 6:25 am

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