A Sooke teen demonstrated her prowess with the written word after one of her poems was plucked for publication from a country-wide poetry contest.
At the young age of 15, Courtney Schutt is a published writer. Her poem, The Puma, was selected by Polar Expressions Publishing for their poetry anthology, Harvest: A Collection of New Canadian Poetry.
The contest was open to writers of all ages and only the top third of entrants were selected.
The entry-winning poem is a poignant and powerful piece that chronicles her struggles with anorexia in an eloquent, though brief, 16 lines.
Originally written as a form of self-expression, the poem took about three weeks to write and perfect. Schutt later decided to submit it for publication when the opportunity presented itself.
“I think it was just a way of showing other people what I went through,” Schutt said.
Although now recovered and in good health, Schutt struggled with the illness since the young age of 12.
She hopes the poem will send a supportive message to other young women who are struggling to overcome an eating disorder.
“Just keep trying because there’s an end and if you will it to stop, you can make it stop,” she said.
In addition to poetry, the budding wordsmith also writes short stories and is currently working on a novel.
As is true with most writers, Schutt can never seem to put her pencil and paper aside. She works on her novel voraciously and at every opportunity she gets, including in between classes, during lunch hour and even late at night.
She best describes her work as “dark,” stating motifs involving tragedy and death are the most interesting to her.
“It’s partially interest… and I guess because I’ve had a lot of dark in my life and it’s just a way of expressing it.”
Introverted and shy, Schutt has been using her writing as a communication mechanism since she was a little girl.
“I’m not really a person who likes to talk, so basically instead of saying it to people, I write it down and it becomes a story,” she said.
When most Kindergarteners were just learning the alphabet, Schutt was writing three to four page stories, and was carrying an armful of books from the library.
And although Schutt exhibits a talent for story-telling, she has future plans to pursue a career as a veterinarian, while writing at the same time.
Her passion for writing is matched with her love of animals. Schutt is a strong supporter of animal rights, an avid horseback rider and is currently volunteering at a local vet.
Other milestones include two first place awards from the Sooke Arts Council for short stories.