At Prep Speech Day today our Senior School Head, Alan Ball, presented a new award in the Prep school: The Louise Ball Prize for Creative Writing. This new prize has been created in honour of Alan’s late wife, Louise, who passed away suddenly at the beginning of this academic year, a tragic loss for all who knew her, and especially for us in the Rugby School Thailand community.
In one short year at RST Louise made a lasting impact on the school. While teaching English to Prep pupils, she was also realising her dream job as the school’s Founding Librarian. To “be with books” (in Alan’s words) gave her complete joy, and fostering a passion for books and reading in children came naturally to her.
Her own childhood was spent on a dairy farm with limited Television, so books were her escapism and reading sparked a light in her. Just two weeks before she passed, Louise was thrilled to be able to spend a day in a book fair in Bangkok, choosing books for our libraries.
“To learn to read is to light a fire; every
syllable that is spelled out is a spark”
Louise wanted the Pre-Prep library to be a bright, homely, comfortable, and relaxing space for our youngest readers, so she was hard at work knitting cushion covers for cushions she planned to scatter around the floor. This project is being completed by some of Alan’s work colleagues back in Australia, and by Louise’s colleagues here at RST.
When the ‘Louise Library’ was unveiled in October 2018, the absence of its founder was profound. But in the same way that the library holds her hallmark, we see the Louise Ball Prize for Creative Writing as a fitting legacy, recognising the young writers of RST who are bringing words to the world and continuing to spark joy.
A huge congratulations to Ira Tantsyura for winning the inaugural Louise Ball Prize for Creative Writing.
“When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young.”