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2018 Newcastle Short Story Award prizewinners

By | Newcastle Short Story Award, News, Uncategorized

The 2018 anthology is now on sale

Congratulations to all the prizewinners:

First Prize – sponsored by the University of Newcastle, awarded to Shaynah Andrews (pictured R with Prof Darrell Evans and Ryan O’Neill, judge)

Here is an excerpt from her winning story ‘Not for Me to Understand’:

My blood feels too hot. I want to beat my fists against Dad for treating me like a kid. I smash a cup on the kitchen tiles, half on purpose. There are little bits of glass all around me. Dad and Linda rush into the room.

‘I’m sorry, it was an accident,’ I say.

‘It’s OK, possum,’ says Dad. I want him to yell and scream at me but he is gentle. ‘I’ll clean this up darlin’, just get away from all the glass. Careful now.’

Dad and Linda hover over plastic dustpans. I walk out the front door and ride my pushie to the beach with Ellie behind me.


Cassie Hamer (R) won second prize donated by Newcastle Law Society represented by Sally Davies (L)

L to R: Megan Buxton, HWC President, Ryan O’Neill, judge, Kate Griffith from sponsor Westfield Kotara

Shawn Sherlock, Foghorn Brewhouse donated the Highly Commended awarded to Jane O’Sullivan

Amanda Shirley from MacLean’s Booksellers donated the Highly Commended awarded to Tanya Vavilova

Author Ryan O'Neill and prizewinner in the Newcastle Short Story Award

M.J. Reidy (pictured here with judge Ryan O’Neill) won a Commended award donated by Dymocks, Charlestown. 

Derice McDonald from Macquariedale Organic Wines donated a $120 wine pack awarded to Rhona Hammond, local writer’s award.

writers - local winners within the Newcastle Short Story Award 2018

Local Award Winners Shaynah Andrews, Edyn Carter and Stephanie Holm

About the Newcastle Poetry Prize 2018

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About the Newcastle Poetry Prize

The Newcastle Poetry Prize is a significant cultural achievement and is a testament to the commitment of its sponsor – the University of Newcastle –

 to celebrate literary excellence in Australian poetry. In September 1980, Peter Goldman stood in the middle of Civic Park, Newcastle, during the Mattara Festival and handed out an A4 photocopied

 anthology of poetry to passers-by. The collection featured poems from local Hunter writers, with contributors ranging in age from six to eightyone. This humble anthology paved the way for the first official Mattara Poetry Prize in 1981, which has gone on to become the most prestigious poetry competition in the country, and is now known as the Newcastle Poetry Prize. Today the Newcastle Poetry Prize is one of the major events on the literary calender in Australia, bringing entries from across the nation.


Each year, local and national poets compete with internationally recognised names and no less illustrious has been the list of judges casting their eye over the entries. The association with Newcastle is no accident. The Hunter Region has a long history of fostering poetry and an active community of local poets who punch above their weight nationally in awards, publication and events. In the words of the late Novocastrian poet, Bill Iden, “Newcastle’s environment makes its poets”. Co-ordinated by the Hunter Writers Centre (a not-for-profit organisation since 1995), the Newcastle Poetry Prize is one of Australia’s

 oldest and most important literary competitions in Australia. This is made possible through the generous provision of the prize money by the

 University of Newcastle and through funding from Create NSW.

Love Is Where You Find It

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By Julie Suna

If you exclude parents, my first real love was my first husband. If you exclude children, my second real love was my second husband. Then, at the age of 52 came my third real love…Betty.
    Full of energy and drive, great to look at and how she loved to share the good times with me. 250 cc, shiny and all mine, Black Betty became the object of my desires. I kept her clean, I kept her polished, and after a bike maintenance course for women, I checked her tyre pressure every week. But as sometimes happens in relationships, the attention slipped and she started to feel less cared for. One day, a red light at the top of a steep hill threw up a new challenge. Then came our first argument. Still in the early stages of love, she protested by throwing herself on the ground. A passing policeman settled the dispute. He picked her up, and after a quick chat, she came back home with me. However, as a result of her increasingly languid demeanor, we drifted apart.
    I sought company elsewhere; 650 cc, bright yellow and exciting, Sunshine had me from the very first ride. We travelled everywhere together, sometimes just the two of us, other times in a group. Once a month we would get together with the Girls Ride Out women. Ah, the adventures we had with them. We were rained on, hailed on, and almost blown away by wild wind gusts, but I enjoyed all 100,000 kilometres with her. Our early days together changed me. At 20,000 km’s, we went away to…I guess you would call it a relationship course: Superbike School. We learnt to take the corners well, that’s where I lost my chicken strip. My tyres never looked the same again. But, though we were good together, we too drifted apart. Maybe it was our one and only argument. On our way to Mt. Victoria, she slipped in the gravel. A passing policeman (yes that’s right a passing policeman) saw us. He picked her up but forgot to put down the stand. She fell over again! I don’t think she ever forgave me.
    I wasn’t looking for a new love, but apparently that’s when it happens. I saw Blackie. We were a wonderful fit and she brought out the best in me. Tall, dark, beautiful, and a little on the racy side, I introduced her to the Old Pacific Highway, and several times a week we would ride through the exquisitely predictable 45’s, holding the line on one corner before swaying into the next. When they lowered the speed limit to 60 kilometers per hour, we were both devastated. Old habits are hard to break and we still took the corners at a faster speed than was recommended, staying just under 90 to avoid a possible loss of licence.
    We’ve been together now for 93,000 kilometres. We still enjoy the wonderful times and I would like to spend the rest of my life with Blackie, but I fear the age difference could become a problem. I know the statistics for 3rd time marriages aren’t great, but so far, we’re holding up well.