Henry Handel Richardson Society Writing Competition
Our writing competitioin is not being held in 2013, but we do expect it to be held in 2014 and look forward to your submissions.
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:
First Prize - The Doctor's Boy by Bronwyn Minifie, Maldon, Victoria
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.
The 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.
Secret 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.