While Tarryn and Oscar were away at the London Book Fair I took over most of Tarryn’s duties, such as receiving new publisher registrations from the team email account and creating wiki posts for them, gathering the information from HeidiSQL, creating dropbox folders for them, and sending out welcome emails. I also assisted publishers who had queries and facilitated transfer of files. She was a fantastic mentor to me and it was a bit nerve-wracking having her leave for three weeks, but I learned a lot in her absence. Tarryn is a good teacher and I am grateful for her patient, straight-forward, clear manner.
It was around this time that the Paperight Young Writers’ Anthology judging process was underway. This was a team effort, lead by Oscar, with all of the Paperight team members dedicating days of concentration to pouring over each and every entry and rating them on a system Oscar had designed. We were bowled over by how many entries we received. It was clear that South African teenagers are keen on writing. The quality varied greatly (to be honest much of it was terrible), but it was incredibly heartening to get such a volume of entries. And while much of the writing was not amazing, some of the themes were truly revealing. South African teenagers are going through a lot. Many giggles, groans, and a few tears emanated from our little office on the 3rd floor. I really enjoyed this experience as we were able to feel a real connection with South African teenagers who, at the time, were our main target market. It was one of those special moments that only a start-up can really provide, where the entire team is so intimately involved in one project.
I think one of my most memorable moments will be the first time I heard “The Hits”, one of our poetry entries, read out loud. It was such a striking and strange poem, that we didn’t know whether it was genius or madness. Here it is, read aloud by Hedley Twidle at the launch of the anthology.