Leanne Van Dongen shows off her certificates from the 2021 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards. (Special to The News)

Leanne Van Dongen shows off her certificates from the 2021 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards. (Special to The News)

Maple Ridge author wins big in international book contest

Leanne Van Dongen took second place and multiple honourable mentions

A young Maple Ridge author has won multiple awards for a series of children’s books she first started writing when she was only 14-years-old.

Leanne Van Dongen took second place in the 2021 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards in the Youth Author Fiction category for Kate The Great, the first of three books in her inaugural series called Showtime.

Van Dongen received honourable mentions in the same category for the other two books in the series called Stage Fright and The Trio and also for Death Life, her first horror book for young adults.

“It’s been a goal of mine to receive awards for my books, so I’m proud and I would definitely like to thank The Royal Dragonfly Book Awards for this honour,” said Van Dongen.

The Royal Dragonfly Book Award contest is a worldwide competition that acknowledges excellence in all types of literature and book marketing, according to the contest website. There are 67 categories and judges are industry experts, “with specific knowledge about the categories over which they preside”.

Van Dongen won in a category where they author had to be 17-years or younger.

Books were judged based on content, originality – with an emphasis on innovation and creativity – and overall readability.

All winners received a digital certificate, and a digital award seal, among other things. To win an award the book had to score a minimum of 60 out of 80 judge’s points, even if the book was the only entry in a single category.

READ MORE: Teen author publishes first book in Maple Ridge

Van Dongen knew she wanted to be a writer when she was 10. She started writing Kate The Great when she was 12 – by hand. She published her second book in the Showtime series, The Trio, in 2018 and the third book, Stage Fright, in 2020.

The three books – geared towards children ages 9-12 – were inspired by Van Dongen’s love of figure skating and contained themes of friendships, the stress of performing and overcoming obstacles.

ALSO: Maple Ridge teen author takes a stab at horror

Death Life is for readers between the ages of 13-18, and is about three young girls who are being physically and psychologically tortured by the ghost of an unknown girl.

Currently Van Dongen is working on her new book called Death Game, in the Death Life series, in which the three main characters have to solve clues, riddles, and puzzles to find a missing person.

Van Dongen is expecting her new book to be out late 2022 or early 2023.

The 2021 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards contest is based out of Hardwick, Massachusetts.

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