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Writing and Literature

City of Rockingham Short Fiction Awards Winners 2018

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Entries into this year's City of Rockingham Short Fiction Awards were  inspired by, drawn upon, or used the theme of the artwork "Two Children at Beach” by Delon Govender (2003), pictured below.Painting of two children playing on a beach

The City would like to thank everyone who submitted an entry into the 2018 Short Fiction Awards. Included below is a report from the competition judge.

Judges' report

"The entries for this year’s Short Fiction Award were of an exceptionally high standard. It has been wonderful to see so many writers sending in their precious writing; with over 200 submissions across the three categories I have certainly had my work cut out for me!

I have particularly loved seeing how each piece has taken inspiration from Govender’s Two Children at Beach and developed something utterly unique. Though there were common themes throughout the entries – grief, loss, trauma, survivor’s guilt, family, and nostalgia being just a few – each was compelling and distinctive and all contestants should be congratulated for their creativity and their courage (as it is never easy to send a cherished piece of writing out into the world).

The strongest entries in each category had a good sense of internal and external conflict, excellent command of written expression, a good sense of pace, and an opening that blew me away. I also kept my eye out for compelling voices and characters. I enjoyed writing that incorporated the prompt without being heavy-handed about it, and stories that surprised me with clever manipulation of tropes, emotions, and of course language."

Open category winners and commendations

First Prize: Ellen Vickerman, 'Tall Water'

"This piece has everything I could possibly want in a short story. It is a simple, quiet, clever piece and I loved its sense of restraint. The author has an exquisite sense of pace and language and I drank in every single word."

Second Prize: Ellen Vickerman, 'We are all inside the car'

"We are all inside the car, is the sort of piece you read five times just to make sure you have absorbed every single detail. Experimental forms often run the risk of losing meaning but the author of this work balanced on that tight-rope like a pro. I enjoyed the delicate tension and the bold experimentation with punctuation and style."

Third Prize: Alexandra Geneve, 'Flotsam'

"Flotsam, has one of the strongest openings of all the entries. My first thought is, you are dead. My second thought is, I wished for this. I get shiver every time I think about it! A tense story of fractured families; very well-written."

Commended: Vereta Yullia, 'Fa’afafine: Public Verdict'

'Fa’afafine: Public Verdict, was clever and well-crafted. I enjoyed the different setting and the use of Samoan culture, and I was fascinated by the gender identity of Noa, one of the protagonists.'

Commended: Bethany Cody, 'Sandfly'

"Sand Fly is a clever study of friendship between two young boys. I particularly liked that both boys were given the space to be gentle and affectionate with one another, in their own tentative ways."

Over 50s winners and commendations

First prize: Kerrin O’Sullivan, 'Gunnamatta Beach'

"Lost children was a recurring theme in all the categories, but Gunnamatta Beach held me riveted from the very beginning. The prose is clever and evocative, perfectly capturing the panic and guilt of the young narrator. I found myself holding my breath through the middle and outright crying by the end. There was no question in my mind that this piece deserved first place in its category."

Second Prize: Janeen Samuel, 'Catching Up'

"Catching Up, was both clever and unique, tackling the themes of nostalgia and childhood friendship from a completely different perspective. I was particularly taken by the shifting power dynamics, which teetered so often on the brink of disaster. A clever way of maintaining tension."

Third prize: Liliane Grace, 'How I became wrecked on the island of my mother'

"How I became wrecked on the island of my mother, is a delicate inter-generational tale of separation, redemption and identity. I would love to see this work-shopped into a long-form memoir/historical-fiction."

Commendation: Rosanne Dingli, 'True Crime'

"True Crime, makes excellent use of the unreliable narrator. More than that, I genuinely found myself liking and connecting the protagonist. Well-written, eerie, and complex."

Commendation: Dianne Williams, 'The Archive'

"The Archive, is a delightful dip into contemporary fantasy/horror: a subtle and understated story with a strong voice and a clever narrative. It was nice to see this twist on the given prompt!"

Young writers (10-17) winners

First Prize: Penelope Duran, 'The Beach Was Our Canvas'

"A true stand-out, unquestionably placing first in this category. Not only did the author have a skilful hold on tension and release in this piece, but they also showed remarkable deftness in playing with form. This sort of confidence and skill is rare, and especially impressive from a young writer."

Second Prize: Cleo Robins, 'Tamsins’ Teeth'

"Tamsins' Teeth caught me from the first line. It’s such a skilful, clever portrayal of the delicate dynamics that often play out in young friendship groups. I found myself immediately drawn to the quiet, watchful narrator and her struggle between fitting in and striking out on her own."

Third Prize: Kodi Sawtell, 'The Broken Butterfly'

"The Broken Butterfly is a sweet, compassionate story that I thoroughly enjoyed. The prose was well-written, the spelling and grammar were exceptional, and the characters were appealing. A promising young writer!"

Congratulations to all the winners and those who received a commendation.