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Writing and Literature

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City of Rockingham Short Fiction Awards - Closed

The City of Rockingham Short Fiction Awards attracted over 200 entries from writers across the world. The creativity of Australia’s youth was shown by the tremendous level of engagement over the school holidays, with almost 70 short stories being submitted into the Young Writers category.

 Short Fiction Awards Winners

Young Writers Winners:

First Prize: Sourdough and Sesame Seed by Emily Fursa, 16 years old

Judges comments:
‘Sourdough and Sesame Seed’ by Emily Fursa , which changes the emotional context of a scene by introducing more information to shift our perspective 180 degrees. The writer uses multiple first person point of view extremely well in a cleverly structured piece. Excellent work!

Second Prize: PAINTING THE PICTURE by Imogen Robins, 13 years old

Judges comments:
Painting the Picture’ by Imogen Robins, another excellent piece of descriptive writing which draws a parallel between the visual arts and literature, and between art and life.

Third Prize: Geraniums by Kate Molloy, 16 years old

Judges comments:
Third prize for the Young Writers’ category goes to ‘Geraniums’ by Kate Molloy, which used descriptive writing to create two different moods as the same setting, with minor details changed, showing how they were viewed at different times with very different emotional overtones.

Over 50's Winners

First Prize: You, We, I and Us by Sheryl Molony

Judges comments:
Superbly crafted piece in multiple points of view (including second person, never easy to do well), featuring a subtle – possibly ambiguous – and deftly handled time travel plot, sympathetic characters, and a last line that really sells the story and made this a clear choice to win this category.

Second Prize: Café Canvas by Richard Regan

Judges comments:
Second prize goes to the beautifully written ‘Café Canvas’ by Richard Regan, yet another take on the history of the building which now houses the Fremantle Arts Centre Café. It looks at the uses the building has been put through in more than a century, as well as the land’s deeper past, and its different moods in all seasons.

Third Prize: Out of the Window by Aileen Hawkes

Judges comments:
‘Out of the Window’ by Aileen Hawkes, a ghost story that also makes good use of the history of the supposedly haunted Fremantle Arts Centre, contrasting the grim life of an inmate of this former asylum with the cheerful ambience of the café on a pleasant summer day. There is a nice twist to the ending, and I enjoyed the story very much.

Commendation:  Lunch at the Arts Centre Café by Leanne Searle

Judges comments:
Set in the Fremantle Arts Centre Café. It features evocative descriptive writing, convincing and entertaining dialogue, and a punchy last line which changes the reader’s perspective of the two characters.

Open Award Winners

First Prize:
A Shoebox Not Filled With Shoes by Rafael S.W.

Judges comments:
A story of a working class teenage boy who agrees to bury a neighbour’s dead dog. It drew me in with the first two lines, and continued to impress with the authenticity of its dialogue, characterisation, and first person narration. Everything in the piece feels real, and every line contributes to our understanding of the characters and their setting: there isn’t a wasted word in the story. Amazing work!

Second Prize: Artists & Coffee by Ben Marie

Judges comments:
A wonderfully funny story of a woman who dates an artist and tries to give herself a quick education on art history before meeting him at an art gallery. As he tries to impress her by deconstructing what appear to be pieces of conceptual art, the reader has to decide who is trying to fool who.

Third Prize: Parrot Lady by C.A. Broadribb

Judges comments: 
A gently comedic piece narrated by an autistic boy on day release, commenting on the other clients in the café to an adult minder who is less observant but much better at interpreting what they see.

Commendation: The Portrait by Jeanette Stampone

Judges comments:
an emotionally powerful story of two sisters, growing up, growing apart, and growing old.

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Community Christmas Poetry Competition

Christmas Lights Event  2015 - TreeCongratulations to Ashleigh Mounser, whose poem “On the Drive Home From Christmas” was awarded the 2016 Christmas Poetry Prize. Ashleigh makes it a double for 2016, having won the 2016 Castaways Poetry Prize earlier this year.

Judge Karen Murphy said: "This poem stood out among the rest because of the vivid imagery, particularly surrounding heat such as the sister going 'dahlia pink' over the oven and the sweat from wearing a Santa hat. For me these images capture the dichotomy of Christmas in Australia as we seek to maintain some of the tradition of a European Christmas while still establishing traditions of our own. This is captured best in one of the final lines where the poet uses a traditional Christmas food to talk about how the heat makes them 'warm and sticky like toffee' when they go to bed the night before."

Christmas-Lights-Event-2016-Reindeer"While this poem still represents Christmas tradition, it represents some of the uniquely Australian adaptations as a result of the heat, which defines Christmas Day for many Australians. These mentions of heat are both direct, in lines like 'the bitumen burning my toes' and indirect, in lines like 'I can almost hear the sleighbells over the cicadas'. While many images throughout this poem convey an Australian summer, such as the in-season mangos, what truly defines its references to Australian culture is the image of walking barefoot. Few people would understand why you'd do this in heat except for an Australian! This poem also represents an ordinary Christmas, a Christmas many can relate to - the Christmas crackers are old and don't pop, the heat makes it uncomfortable. This isn't a glorified Christmas and the voice is authentic. The metaphor of 'fat, shiny cherries' that is woven throughout this poem is also indicative of that Christmas bloat many of us suffer from. The 'shiny', again, could be seen as alluding to the heat."

As well as the$200 prize, Ashleigh’s poem will be displayed on posters throughout Rockingham during the festive period to bring a little extra joy to the occasion.

Community Christmas Poetry Competition Winner 2016

On the Drive Home from Christmas, Ashleigh Mounser

On the drive home for Christmas,
I pass boxes of cherries on the highway.
My mother always said
she knew it was Christmas time
when the cherries got fat and shiny.
I always know it’s Christmas mid-November,
when I kick off my shoes,
don’t put them back on until February
and walk barefoot to the store for mangoes
in a fleecy Santa hat that makes sweat run down my cheeks,
the bitumen burning my toes.

I know it’s Christmas when my sister starts baking,
turning dahlia pink as she leans over the oven
to check on a cheesecake,
my grandfather grinning in a paper hat he won from a cracker.
The crackers under the tree are so old,
that when we bought them
my mum could still force me to wear shoes,
They don’t pop anymore, so we just pull apart the paper.
Even the puns are dated.

I go to sleep on Christmas eve,
warm and sticky like toffee,
lips glowing from too many cherries
and I can almost hear the sleighbells over the cicadas.

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