Caroline Nawrocki '14 wins second place in Writing For Peace Contest
Posted May 22, 2012
“On days when the Bulgarian sun find its ways to France, I stick my head out the window and close my eyes to the railroad tracks and concrete buildings, and imagine our caravan, a carnival of colors that seem to exist only in open air.”
-Caroline Nawrocki ’14, “Unparalleled Freedom”
When Caroline Nawrocki ’14 talks about writing, one almost gets the feeling she’s talking about an old friend.
“I really enjoy writing as a hobby right now,” said a smiling Nawrocki last Friday afternoon while sitting in the Korman Family Pavilion.
“A hobby” might be a bit of understatement for Nawrocki, who recently won second place in the 2012 Writing For Peace Young Writers contest for her short story “Unparalleled Freedom,” which is about a young Romani girl named Luludja who is living in poverty as an outsider in France after she and her family were deported from Bulgaria. Luludja struggles to cope with familial and cultural expectations, while grieving for the colorful traditions of her past and longing for freedom.
“It’s about her personal struggle to retain some of her cultural identity, but at the same time, there is a sense of freedom that she no longer has because of her identity,” Nawrocki said. “It's more of a personal narrative than an action-packed story."
To enter the Writing For Peace contest, young authors had to submit an original unpublished short story between 800-1000 words, or one to three poems totaling no more than 100 lines in the voice of a character from another country or culture showing day to day life, family relationships and friendships, and outside forces at work (weather, government/politics, social pressures) while avoiding stereotypes and generalizations, or submit an 800-1000 word essay about a personal experience with another culture in the nonfiction category. Writers also had to submit a 300-350 word essay explaining why they chose the culture they featured in their stories and what they learned during their research process.
"I wrote about the Roma people, which is a nationality in Europe, mainly eastern Europe,” Nawrocki said. “They're all over. I had a book when I was younger and it was called ‘How People Live,’ and included cultures from all over the world and [the Roma people] just really stuck with me so I reopened that book for the first time in a couple years and read about them.
"In the book that I opened there was a picture of a bride, a Roma bride, and it was a very striking picture,” Nawrocki continued. “The colors were awesome. She was covered in lace and it was a very striking picture so I wanted to make her my main character and that was inspiration for [Luludja].”
Nawrocki found out in April that she was a finalist, but she had to wait until May 1 to hear if she won a prize.
"It was definitely exciting,” Nawrocki said. “I went on the website and I was scrolling down and it said Caroline Nawrocki and I was like, 'That's awesome!’"
For Nawrocki, who has been writing in her free time since seventh grade, it was her first time winning a prize for her work.
"I began writing short stories in middle school,” she said. “I came to GA in seventh grade so I hadn't really done fiction before, but in history class we were assigned to write something based on our Williamsburg trip and I loved that, and I started to write more independently.”
It’s little surprise then to hear that Nawrocki’s favorite class at GA is English.
“I love English,” she said. “I just think the teachers here are incredible and I've learned so much this past year, especially with Upper School English classes, it's just been incredible.”
Between school work and classes, Nawrocki stays busy writing for The Edition, the Upper School’s student newspaper, or acting in Belfry Club productions or helping run the Beatles Appreciation Club.