The Brest-based award winners in the Gallimard / Guyader Bermudes 1000 Race writing competition are unveiled !

Just like the authors of the Gallimard company, the sailors competing in the Guyader Bermudes 1000 Race, associates of IFREMER, students of the local maritime college and school children from the city of Brest, were invited to take part in a writing exercise on the theme ‘The ocean, a mirror of our dreams.’ In all, nearly 1,000 young people aged from 9 to 11 took part in the operation using postcards distributed by the organisation. This Wednesday 12 April, the jury, comprising teachers, journalists and athletes, presided over by Faustine Merret, Olympic windsurfing champion in Athens 2004, deliberated long and hard before voting for the outright winners in the 9-11-year-old category. As such, the names of winners (three students and one class) have been revealed. On 5 May, the latter will receive a wonderful book awarded to them by the famous writer and member of the Académie française, Erik Orsenna, during a visit to their respective schools.

In all, nearly 1,000 postcards were received by the organisers of the fourth Guyader Bermudes 1000 Race, an event which was once again associated with Gallimard publications in order to offer a literary break to the authors and skippers. This year, in an event first, this invitation was also extended to the 9-11-year-olds studying in the city of Brest. Poems, prose, initials, Haiku, drawings… The types of writing produced by the children proved to be as rich as it was varied, as evidenced by Emilie Kuchel, Deputy Mayor of Brest and delegate for educational policy: “Each time we offer things to children, we’re amazed by what they’re able to come up with. When I discovered the various postcards, I was particularly impressed by their altruistic sentiment. They tell such wonderful tales, ask important questions and even stir up political debate by notably highlighting the pollution of the oceans. The writing we’ve received has all been really wonderful and very creative.” In fact, though the work of reading these cards was interesting and even fascinating, it also made the jury’s task all the more difficult when it came to our deliberation. “It was a very tough decision. There was a huge amount of different offerings and lots of dreams were evoked. I’d like to extend my sincere thanks to all the children for their work,” adds Emilie Kuchel.

Imagination and creativity take centre stage

Originality, presentation and type of writing were the main criteria taken into account in awarding the best texts. “It was important that the messages were positive and discussed both the sea and the imagination. The visual aspect was also key. In the end, we managed to sort out the best of the bunch and the jury was even fairly unanimous in the selection,”  commented Faustine Merret, who’s delighted with the success of the operation launched by the organisers of the Guyader Bermudes 1000 Race under Madeleine Oezinou. “The idea of taking a blank card and expressing yourself in writing or drawing immediately appealed to me. I’m thrilled that there was such a high take-up and that the creations were so diverse,” explains the Olympic windsurfing champion, who’s equally impressed by the content of the writing. “The children’s take on ecology and the preservation of the oceans really stands out. They’re well aware that the sea is becoming a dustbin and that it’s a problem that needs to be dealt with. What surprised me was the fact that a number of them consider the ocean to be a bit frightening. As sailors, we don’t share this vision. On the contrary, we see it as a huge playground that simply needs to be respected and utilised in the best possible way to ensure its protection,” says the native of Brest.

Four prizes awarded

And so, the winners are… Irsana Baguièra, in CM1 (9-10-year-old pupils) from Ferdinand Buisson school, Anna Legros, in CM2 (10-11-year-old pupils) from Saint-Vincent school, and the CM1-CM2 class from Guérin school. The jury also chose to award a ‘jury’s favourite’ prize to Gaslain Gall Navez, a student in the CM1-CM2 class at Guérin school. All of them will receive the ‘La mer en poésie’ (The sea in poetry) book, an anthology by Pierre Marchand and Vincent Besnier, illustrated by Mathilde Aubier. On Friday 5 May, the day after their tour of the dock in the Marina du Château and their journey of discovery of the boats and skippers competing in the Guyader Bermudes 1000 Race, these prizes will be awarded by the novelist and member of the Académie française, Erik Orsenna, at each of their schools.