The Writing Competition that’s Planting a Forest in Africa

The Magic Oxygen Literary Prize is a truly unique writing competition. The inaugural contest took place last year and the organisers, Magic Oxygen Publishing, planted a tree for every entry and gave away £3,000 in prize money. They also started building an urgently needed classroom at Kundeni Primary School in Bore, Kenya. There are around 1,500 trees in the Word Forest so far and things are about to get busy once more as the Dorset based publishing house open the door for entries to this year’s competition.

Tracey and Simon West are the drivers behind this prestigious annual prize for literary excellence in short stories and poetry. Just like last year, its impressive prize fund comprises £1,000 1st, £300 2nd, £100 3rd and two Highly Commended prizes of £50 in each category, kindly sponsored by Pilgrim. As well as nurturing fresh literary talent, they also hope the contest inspires others to help reduce the world’s carbon footprint. The location for the word forest was chosen by forestry expert, Ru Hartwell, founding director of Treeflights the first carbon offset planting project of its kind. He’s also actively involved in several other worldwide planting projects, including Size of Wales, Tree­Nation and Carbon Link amongst others.

Ru explains, ‘This unique Word Forest is actively reintroducing tropical biodiversity and helping to keep us all a little bit cooler because trees planted near the equator are best placed to draw carbon from the atmosphere. It’s also providing a long­term income stream for the community and will eventually provide them with an urgently needed new classroom for 300 Kenyan children too.’ Alex Katana is the planting and building manager based in Bore. He adds, ‘The whole community are incredibly grateful for the investment in the village and the teachers and I were very happy to receive a copy of the book. The people of Bore really appreciate the effort Simon and Tracey are making to change the lives of Bore people. Everybody wants to read the book and we are going to share it happily. On behalf of all members here, I say thanks abundantly.’

Visit MagicOxygen.co.uk to submit your entry and to find out more about the Word Forest. Ongoing details about the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize and plans for the Word Forest will be posted on the Magic Oxygen blog.