Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Members statements

Nillumbik Prize for Contemporary Writing

Nillumbik Prize for Contemporary Writing

Ms WARD (Eltham) (10:01): Thank you to Nillumbik Shire Council for again running the Nillumbik Prize for Contemporary Writing. This prize builds on the long-term successes of the Alan Marshall Short Story Award and the shire’s ongoing tradition of supporting contemporary Australian writing. The Alan Marshall Short Story Award is in its 37th year and has continued to attract interest from authors and creatives across the country. Almost 500 entries were submitted this year. Authors across age groups have covered an amazing array of topics from family resilience to hopes, relationships and the impact of the pandemic.

The Nightingale, a short story by Meredith Tucker, was the overall winner. Congratulations to ‘fiction award: local’ winner Anastasia Warmuth for her story Goodbye Stranger. The judges were also incredibly impressed with the quality of entries in the youth category. I make special note of the winner of the youth poetry category, Willem van Hasselt, for his poem Dog Brodie, and the winner of the youth fiction category, Eve Ballard, for The Kindergarten Train. They managed to convey intense emotion and complexity through their words. Here is Willem’s poem, Dog Brodie:

The dusty track

And that Jeep you used to like

The yellow grass

The soil so fertile

Beneath which you lie

Companion for life and death

Your endless smile

Dog Brodie.

Your cheerful arf

Your fierceness

Remember the day you went swimming

Or your first ride

On the noisy diesel train

Old Bob is getting old without you

Dog Brodie.

Remember that cocky you scared

What a funny bird

Remember your bravery and heroism

Old Bob would be dead in desert

Without you

Dog Brodie

And the taipan you fought off

Even though you were bitten

Dog Brodie

Tears filled my one working eye

As you lay down to die

Venom overtaking your will to live

Dog Brodie

Still I hear your cheerful arf

And I want to laugh

My Dog Brodie.