At the recent conference of the Australasian Association of Writing Programs, we celebrated the winners of our Emerging Writers’ Prizes. You can read more about our prizes and prize-winners below. You will also find some feedback from prize-winners, explaining what winning the prize meant for them and their writing.
The AAWP is very proud to offer these publication pathways and networking opportunities for emerging writers. We would like to thank our esteemed partners: Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (UWRF), the Australian Short Story Festival (ASSF) and the University of Western Australia Press (UWAP).
We would also would like to acknowledge the generosity of our partners who provide bonus prizes for the winners, and ace literary surprises for our conference bags: Overland, Meanjin, Review of Australian Fiction, Pilot Press Writers’ Diary, Westerly, The Lifted Brow, and Griffith Review. The AAWP is very grateful for the overwhelming generosity of these organisations.
We warmly encourage emerging writers to submit to our prizes in 2018. Please contact Julia Prendergast: firstname.lastname@example.org or any member of the AAWP executive team if you have questions about our prizes.
Our 2017 prize winners (left to right) Melanie Pryor, Ruth Armstrong, and Andrew Drummond (Joshua Kemp was unfortunately absent). On the far right stands our Deputy Chair and prizes portfolio holder, Julia Prendergast!
AAWP/UWRF EMERGING WRITERS’ PRIZE
The ‘AAWP/UWRF Emerging Writers’ Prize’ is offered in partnership with Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (UWRF). The winner receives accommodation for the duration of the festival and $500 towards economy airfares. In addition, the winner receives fully subsidised conference fees to attend the annual conference of the AAWP, where they are invited to read from your work. The editors at Meniscus consider the winner’s work for publication.
The prize represents a stunning opportunity to celebrate the craft of writing at South East Asia’s largest and most exciting literary festival, and the chance to be welcomed in to the thriving community of writers here at AAWP. Heartfelt thanks to the judges for donating precious time: for managing the judging process with such integrity.
The 2017 winner was Andrew Drummond for Song of Shadows. You can read Andrew’s story in the most recent issue of Meniscus.
About Andrew Drummond:
Andrew works in education and community mental health, and writes as often as possible. He lived in Bali for a while when he was younger, and met many wonderful people. He has been fascinated by Balinese culture ever since. In particular, he is drawn to traditional dance and gamelan music. This fascination inspired his story.
2017 judges’ report:
‘Song of Shadows’ is a quietly graceful and perceptive text that straddles genres and cultures. It explores the fragility of our connection to where we have come from and to where we will eventually return, a theme encapsulated in the Hindu philosophy ‘Sangkan Paraning Dumadi’. A lyric story interspersed with traditional verses, ‘Song of Shadows’ offers the spiritual assuagement its title promises and shows Andrew Drummond emerging as a major talent. Each section of ‘Song of Shadows’ attunes us to a different aspect of ‘origin’ and gestures to what strange connections might be revealed when we properly attend to the ambiguous and ambivalent connotations lurking behind the word in its plural form.
It was our pleasure to welcome Andrew to AAWP, and to present him with annual subscription to: Overland, Meanjin and Review of Australian Fiction, as well as to give him a copy of Pilot Press Writers’ Diary.
AAWP/ASSF EMERGING WRITERS’ PRIZE
The AAWP/ASSF Short Story Prize is offered in partnership with the Australian Short Story Festival. We are thrilled to partner with ASSF, to offer this exciting opportunity for emerging writers. Heartfelt thanks to the judges for donating precious time: for managing the judging process with such integrity.
The winner receives a ticket to the Australian Short Story Festival, accommodation for the duration of the festival, and return economy airfares. In addition, the winner receives fully subsidised conference fees to attend the annual conference of the AAWP, where they are invited to read from their work. The editors at Meniscus will consider the winner’s work for publication.
The 2017 winner is Ruth Armstrong for Paper Cranes. You can read Ruth’s story in the next issue of Meniscus.
About Ruth Armstrong:
Ruth is currently undertaking an MA in Creative Writing at the University of Technology, Sydney, with a focus on short story writing. ‘Paper Cranes’ was short listed for the 2017 Overland Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize. Ruth works as an editor at the health website, www.croakey.org.
2017 judges’ report:
In a field where we could quite easily have awarded half a dozen first prizes, Paper Cranes distinguishes itself from the remainder of the shortlist through its unwavering focus and effective scene changes, its characters who seem to walk straight out of real life and onto the page, its subtle and mostly unspoken conflicts, and its intelligent imagery. The story is well-paced and restrained when it needs to be, yet never sags; its dialogue rings true, yet avoids the banalities of everyday chitchat; it demonstrates an understanding of classic plot structure, yet remains lively and intriguing. In other words, it does its job. And in doing so, reminds us once again why short stories matter. Congratulations to the author.
It was our pleasure to welcome Ruth to AAWP, and to present her with annual subscription to: Overland, Meanjin and Review of Australian Fiction, as well as to give her a copy of Pilot Press Writers’ Diary.
AAWP/UWAP CHAPTER ONE PRIZE
Chapter One is the Australasian Association of Writing Programs (AAWP) publication pathway for emerging writers. The prize is open to authors who have written a poetry collection, literary novel, short story collection, or a hybrid work that crosses genre boundaries. The AAWP is delighted to partner with University of Western Australia Press (UWAP) to provide this publication pathway for emerging writers. Heartfelt thanks to the judges for donating precious time: for managing the judging process with such integrity.
The winner of the ‘Chapter One’ prize was Joshua Kemp for Boneyard. Joshua received a $500 cash prize and fully subsidised conference fees to attend the annual conference of the AAWP (November 2017), where he was invited to read from his work. Unfortunately, Josh could not join us for the conference. His work was read at the awards event, and applauded warmly by all. The University of Western Australia Press agrees to assess Joshua’s manuscript as a matter of priority.
About Joshua Kemp:
Joshua is an author of Australian Gothic and crime fiction. His short stories have appeared in Overland, Seizure and Tincture. He has been shortlisted for the S. D. Harvey Award and longlisted for the Margaret River Short Story Competition. He is currently undertaking a PhD at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia.
From the judges:
Boneyard impresses immediately with a style that is both simple and pared back, yet distinctive, ‘tactile’ and very forceful. The vocabulary is spare, but very vivid, and works by a careful selection of very telling images, presented with an impressive brevity and vividness.
The writing offers a special kind of intimacy – a closeness and responsiveness to the sights, sounds and scenes of the novel, which seems at times almost onomatopoeic – and offers the perfect, inviting medium for the story, the characters and the core concerns to follow, as set out in the synopsis. The language itself offers the feeling that the writer is somehow ‘down here’, with the characters, with the kind of closeness and intimacy you can usually only achieve with a first person narrative. The writer trusts the characters to speak in their own voice, and to define themselves through dialogue. Authorial intrusion or commentary is minimal, throughout. ‘Semi-autobiographical’ – as indicated in the synopsis – is usually a recipe for literary disaster. We see no sign of it, in this case.
This year the judges also awarded a highly commended entry: Melanie Pryor for Girl, Swimming. The University of Western Australia Press has also agreed to assess Melanie’s manuscript, as a matter of priority, and Melanie also receives subsidised fees to attend this wonderful conference.
About Melanie Pryor:
Melanie is a Creative Writing PhD candidate. Her research project, comprised of a travel memoir entitled Girl, Swimming and an accompanying critical exegesis, examines gender, walking, and landscape in contemporary memoir. Melanie teaches in Creative Writing and English Literature, and is a member of Flinders University’s Life Narrative Research Group.
Melanie is a Co-Founder of The Hearth, an Adelaide-based creative readings event. Her personal essays and literary fiction have been published in Overland, Southerly, and Lip, and her academic writing in a/b: Auto/Biography Studies.
The judges had this to say about Melanie Pryor’s manuscript:
Girl, Swimming is fearless, imaginative, ‘transformative’ and unusual. This is a familiar world—but not one that is seen in a familiar way.
It is our pleasure to welcome Melanie, as our guest, to AAWP, and to present her with a copy of Pilot Press Writers’ Diary.