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2014 Writing Competition


2014 Henry Handel Richardson Writing Competition

See News & Events for an update...Henry Handel Richardson Centenary Writing Competition

To celebrate Richardson and her work the Henry Handel Richardson Society of Australia launches the 2014 Writing Competition, sponsored by Text Publishing.


Judge: Helen Garner

Winners will be announced at The Wheeler Centre, November 9, 2014
Clive Probyn, President of the Society and world expert on Richardson will deliver an address on Richardson’s work at this event.

Story/Essay (may be fiction, memoir, personal essay or essay): up to 5000 words. Open to anyone over the age of 18 years. Overseas entries welcome. As the Society aims to stimulate enjoyment, study and general interest in Richardson’s work, Text Publishingany links to her and/or her work in entries are welcome but not mandatory.

First Prize: $1500, plus $400 in books from Text Publishing
Second Prize: $500, plus $200 in books from Text Publishing
Third Prize: $250, plus $150 in books from Text Publishing


Writing Competition 2014 Winners Announced

The announcement of winners and prize-giving ceremony was held at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne on Sunday November 9. Because of the high standard of entries two third prizes were awarded, and a special essay prize for an essay with a link to Richardson.

The winners are:
First Prize - Pressure Okay by Jennifer Down
Second Prize - Nosebleed by Melanie Napthine
Third Prize - What I Wished by Rebekah Clarkson & A Lovely Afternoon by Stephanie Buckle
Special Essay Prize - Perhaps if she had never been your friend by Sylvia Martin

Highly commended:
Parrot by Annette Trevitt
The Flamingos by Melanie Kinsman
Metaphor as Illness by Hugh Kiernan
Loving It by Rose Allan
The Getting of my Father’s Wisdom by Cath James
Frangipani Kisses by Cheryl Hayden
H by Ann-Marie Priest

Henry Handel Richardson Society Award Presentation
Short Story by Helen Garner

Wheeler Centre, 9 November 2014
© Helen Garner

Read the speech given by our judge Helen Garner at this years award announcements.

Download FileHHR Society Short Story Award Presentation by Helen Garner
File Size 585KB


Writing Competition 2014 Short-listed Entries Announced

Congratulations to the twelve short-listed entries (see below) chosen from the in excess of four hundred entries received in this year’s competition. The standard of entries received was generally high.

The announcement of winners and prize-giving ceremony will be held at the Wheeler Centre 176 Little Lonsdale Street Melbourne on Sunday November 9, commencing at 2.30pm. Competition judge Helen Garner, will discuss the entries and announce the winners. Society Chairman Clive Probyn will also talk about the evolution of his interest in Henry Handel Richardson. We’d love to see you there and if you do intend joining us on that day please let us know by the end of October. Email Graeme Charles – gcharles@communityaction.coop  or  graemejcharles@gmail.com

The short-listed entries are:
‘Parrot’ - Annette Trevitt
‘What I Wished’ - Rebekah Clarkson
‘The Flamingos’ - Melanie Kinsman
‘Metaphor as Illness’ - Hugh Kiernan
‘Loving It’ - Rose Allan
‘The Getting of My Father’s Wisdom’ - Cath James
‘Frangipani Kisses’ - Cheryl Hayden
‘Nosebleed’ - Melanie Napthine
‘A Lovely Afternoon’ - Stephanie Buckle
‘Pressure Okay’ - Jennifer Down
‘H’ - Ann-Marie Priest
‘Perhaps if She Had Never Been Your Friend’ - Sylvia Martin

The Society wishes to thank all those who entered this year’s competition and looks forward to receiving more of your entries in our future competitions.


2012 Henry Handel Richardson Centenary Writing Competition

Inaugural Writing Competition Winners Announced

The winners of both sections of our inaugural writing competition, together with a number of highly commended entries were presented with their awards at the Society's 2012 annual Oration event held at the State Library of Victoria on Friday, October 12.

Seventy six entries were received in the Open section, and six in the youth section of the competition. These were short-listed by a panel of three judges who then forwarded those entries to Melbourne-based author, Helen Garner, for her deliberation. Entrants names were not revealed to the judges.

Judge Helen Garner's choices were:

Open Section
First Prize - The Doctor's Boy by Bronwyn Minifie, Maldon, Victoria

Highly Commended
Four Charms by Leah Swann, Croydon, Victoria
Piano Duets by Jennifer Bryce, Elwood, Victoria
The Wrong One by Paulette Gittins, South Yarra, Victoria
My Belated Getting of Courage by Carmel Lillis, Yarraville, Victoria

Youth Section (Sponsored by Text Publishing)
First Prize - Secret Women's Business by Ashleigh Mounser, Kincumber High School, NSW
Second Prize - Just A Girl by Harriet Farlow, Canberra Girls Grammar, ACT
Third Prize - A Penny For Your Thoughts by Isabella Luk, Mac.Robertson Girls High School, Vic. Highly Commended - In Her Footsteps: Queenscliff through the eyes of Henry Handel Richardson
by Elisabeth Sandbach, Camberwell Girls Grammar School, Victoria

Comments from the judge, Helen Garner, on the winners

Open Section: The Doctor’s Boy by Bronwyn Minifie
This was a standout entry. It has a relaxed voice, easy pace and stable structure, confident command of tone, strong sense of the physical world, skilled handling of vividly painful material.

Download FileThe Doctor’s Boy by Bronwyn Minifie
File Size 212KB

Youth Section: Secret Womens’ Business by Ashleigh Mounser
Ambitious, literate, energetic, mature. It has a striding quality I liked.

Download FileSecret Womens’ Business by Ashleigh Mounser
File Size 211KB

Comments from the reading panel

We were thrilled at the high level of entries. It was a wonderful collection of writing, full of energy and urgency. It was as though we’d said ‘surprise us’ and you did.

The introductory comments - establishing the link between HHR and/or her work in the entry - were often as interesting as the pieces themselves. It was good to read many accounts of the first time entrants had read Richardson’s work. Many spoke of the way reading Richardson’s work had inspired or helped them. A number of times entrants wrote that the terms of the competition had given them the chance to write something they’d always wanted to write.

Entries covered a wide range of material: powerfully told stories of family bonds and struggles – life in a doctor’s family, parent child relationships, the deterioration and death of a parent, the experience of mental and other illnesses for the sufferer and their family and friends; wonderfully inventive re-telling of events from Richardson’s life and/or the life of her characters; imagined encounters of Richardson with historical figures; beautifully told family history stories of migration and settlement; getting of wisdom tales; stories and essays reflecting on school and other educational experiences; stories set in the towns of Maldon, Chiltern, Queenscliff and Koroit where HHR spent parts of her childhood; a story set in Richardson’s old school, PLC; stories exploring the complexities of emotional and sexual identity; academic essays and notably, a number of very powerful personal essays.

The winning entries will be published online and we hope to find ways to publish more of the material so that more of you can enjoy the pleasure we had in reading the entries.

Congratulations to the winners, but also we would like to congratulate and celebrate all those who entered. Thank you for providing such a moving and memorable collection of writing.