Writers Victoria is pleased to announce the finalists of the 2016 Grace Marion Wilson Emerging Writers Competition.
In the Short Fiction category, judges Astrid Edwards and Laurie Steed were impressed by the submissions, reporting that they saw “many glimpses of potential and interesting concepts.”
But it was the originality and strength of execution that set the finalists apart. The judges noted that the writers “demonstrated an understanding of narrative arcs, the power of a strong, original voice, and the potential for rhythm and flow to dictate the ‘feel’ of a story.” Coincidentally, each of the finalists has offered a unique reflection on motherhood.
The winner of the prize for short fiction is ‘Price Check’ by Justine Sless, an exploration into early motherhood and the secrets we all keep. It is a story about isolation and an exploration of how we can do something for ourselves. “Put simply,” said Steed, “this is the freshest, most original story among the competition entries. Both about parenting and yet not, it showcases a voice I’d love to hear more from in years to come.”
‘Left of Centre’ by Amelia Mellor was awarded runner up in the short fiction category. “This story explores the relationship between mother and daughter. It also offers a nuanced consideration of autism that’s unlike others I have come across,” Edwards said.
A high commendation was also awarded to ‘Reel’ by Zoe Bradley, the judges noting its “measured and memorable rhythm.”
The Non-fiction category was judged by Liam Pieper, who noted “the very competitive and diverse field of entries.”
The winner of the prize for non-fiction was ‘A Year of Drawing Breasts’ by CB Mako. “This was the clear standout for its technical sophistication,” Pieper said. “The juxtaposition of an art class taken in pursuit of long-deferred ambitions is used as a framework for the slow revelation of a narrative of great emotional depth, which manages the neat trick of being profoundly moving on a personal level without succumbing to self-indulgence.”
‘Real Act’ by Anita Smith was awarded runner up for non-fiction. Pieper noted the piece for its “strong prose, with a genuinely engaging voice that delivers the heavier elements of the story with the lightest of touches.”
A high commendation was also awarded to Lawrence Barker for ‘Tough Love’, which impressed Pieper by “the way its tone and gentle humour are used to explore the singular joys and frustrations of parenthood.”
‘Price Check’, ‘Left of Centre’, ‘A Year of Drawing Breasts’ and ‘Real Act’ will be published in the Oct/Nov issue of ‘The Victorian Writer’ magazine (available 3 Oct).
Since 2008, the Grace Marion Wilson Emerging Writers Competition has aimed to support and profile emerging Victorian writers. The annual fiction prize is open to writers with no more than three stories or articles published in a recognised book, magazine or journal.