By Mike Pearson, News staff
A trip to the Royal Ontario Museum turns into a wild adventure in Keaton Smith’s award-winning short story, The Powers.
The 11-year-old Stoney Creek boy won first place in the fourth annual Roald Dahl Day writing contest, held earlier this month by Small Print Toronto. Roald Dahl Day is celebrated on Sept. 13 to coincide with the British novelist’s birthday. Dahl died in 1990.
Using Dahl’s Matilda character as inspiration, Keaton crafts a character who also uses magical powers for the purposes of peforming good deeds.
During an awards ceremony in Toronto, Keaton’s story, The Powers, was read aloud by CBC News broadcaster Kevin Sylvester. Keaton received a selection of books, including Dahl’s Matilda and an award certificate after winning first place honours. Guests were also treated to a showing of the Matilda movie, featuring Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman.
Hearing his story read by someone else was a thought provoking experience for Keaton.
“It was strange,” he said. “It felt like it was a different story, but I knew what was going to happen. It was like reading it again for the first time.”
Keaton is the kind of student who would rather write short stories than learn about short stories. His home school curriculum includes a unit on creative writing. Keaton loves books like J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.
He’s been writing short stories since the age of six.
This year was the second time he has entered the Roald Dahl contest for children aged 10 to 12.
In Keaton’s story, a Grade 8 student awakes feeling uncomfortably warm in the face. After a splash of cold water, the student gets set for a field trip to the ROM. As students view a dinosaur exhibit, Keaton’s protagonist experiences the same warming sensation. Disaster strikes when a ceiling fan blade strikes a large dinosaur.
Keaton’s character uses the power of telekinesis to save his classmate, Alexis Oakley, from the falling skeleton. The protagonist and a partner then reassemble the massive Tyrannosaurus Rex to the amazement of onlookers. And just to prove the tall tale to a naysaying brother, a teacher has gathered video evidence of the entire day’s events.
Keaton dreams of publishing a book. He’s a fan of the fictional fantasy genre, which allows his imagination to explore limitless possibilities.
“There’s not so many boundaries as in reality,” Keaton said.
Keaton is currently working on a series of short stories about a global group of intellectually superior overlords. In the yet-to-be-completed series, a continental power struggle brews when one of the overlords turns evil.
Keaton’s complete short story, The Powers, is available here.