The National Year of Reading 2012 was given a grant by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations to run a writing competition as part of Adult Learners’ Week 2011. The aim was for the creation of exciting, inspiring and challenging stories to support and encourage adult learning, and to highlight the fact that “It’s never too late … to learn to read”.
New and established writers have won shares in a $45,000 prize pool and national acclaim in the short story competition for their compelling stories of the struggles and triumphs experienced by people learning to read as adults.
National Director of Writing Australia, Mary Delahunty, said the exciting new competition had set the stage for the National Year of Reading 2012.
“The competition was held to find and record stories, true or fictional, which would inspire adults to learn to read or improve their reading”, she said.
“There is an amazing range of settings and characters in the winning stories, which will be produced as recordings to help reach the 46 per cent of Australians who struggle with literacy.”
The 12 winners from the ‘published writers’ category are: Ms Jane Downing (NSW), Mr Matt Blackwood (VIC), Ms Amy Jackson-Shelling (VIC), Dr Maria Arena (QLD), Ms Jennifer Mills
(SA), Ms Philomena van Rijswijk (TAS), Ms Sophie Constable (NT), Ms Penny Gibson (VIC), Mr Tom Dullemond (QLD), Ms Melanie Joosten (VIC), Dr Ruth Starke (SA), Dr Tansy Rayner-
Roberts (TAS). The nine winners from the ‘unpublished writers’ category are: Mark Joseph, Steve Wilson, Cassandra Dickserson, Faten Chendeb, Kath Harper, Kerri Turner, Vanessa Jones, Kiralee Baldock, and Karen Eastwood.
Judges included Australian author Leonie Norrington, who herself returned to study literacy as an adult and went on to become an award-winning author.
The competition and prizes have been funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), through Adult Learners’ Week National Grant Funding.
The competition has been a partnership between the National Year of Reading 2012, the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), Writing Australia, the NT, and Queensland Writers’ Centres and writingWA.
Further information is available at the National Year of Reading, www.love2read.org.au.