August 27 - September 2, 2023: Issue 596


Council's support for young writers produces 'promising' results in 2023 Competition 

Quest Haven Primary School, at Mona Vale during the 1930's - photographed by Max Dupain, courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of New South Wales

The winners of this year's Young Writers Competition were announced on Saturday 19 August at Dee Why Council Chambers.

Now in its fourteenth year, the challenge this year was to write a short story based on the theme ‘promise’… and the students certainly kept their promise rising to the occasion.

Northern Beaches Mayor Sue Heins presented the awards to the aspiring writers, encouraging a new generation to continue their commitment to writing in an increasingly technologically focused world.

“Writing is so important for children. It's the fuel that drives communication, and writing enhances problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

“I was so impressed by the depth of talent and passion of students from kindergarten to year 12. It was terrific to see such a diverse range of uplifting, and creative interpretations of the theme.

“Thank you to all the judges who had the very difficult job of selecting 24 finalists as well as the many teachers, school librarians and parents who inspire a love of literacy in our young people.

“Congratulations to all the winners and equally well done to all those who submitted entries in this year’s competition.

This year 400 entries from across 50 schools were received with 24 finalists selected. 

The winners are:

Year K-2

Olivia Pollrock “The Story of the Witch and the Broken Promise

Year 3-4

Ashley Smith “The Promise of Safety

Year 5-6

Frankie Boulter “The Last Promise

Year 7-8

Nico Clausen “Don’t Reach Me

Year 9- 10

Lillian Hamilton “Evening Rounds

Year 11-12

Quinn Campbell “Infallible Memories

All the finalists run below.

The students' compelling stories explore space, witches, astronauts and robots. They invoke feelings of family, safety, self-belief, love and heartbreak. From War to art theft and cuddly ninja penguins, the creative pieces capture a range of themes and adventures across this world and beyond.

The Young Writers' Competition is an annual competition open to students up to and including year 12 who live or go to school in our area and are members of the Northern Beaches Council Library Service.

Entries are judged according to characterisation, originality, plot and use of language. Stories are arranged into six different age group categories with highly commended, runner up and winner.

Congratulations to this year’s winners and finalists:

Kindergarten - Year 2, judged by Author Ashling Kwok:
Winner: Olivia Pollrock for The Story of the Witch and the Broken Promise
Runner Up: Isabelle Jones for Space
Highly Commended: Jasper Cook for The Missing Painting
Highly Commended: Teddy Brown for Revenge of the T-Rex    

Years 3 – 4, judged by Authors Beck & Robin Feiner:
Winner: Ashley Smith for The Promise of Safety
Runner Up: Lily Elliott for The Promise
Highly Commended: Ella Harding for The Promise
Highly Commended: Maya Gaffney for Prometheus

Years 5 - 6, judged by Author Deborah Abela:
Winner:  Frankie Boulter for The Last Promise
Runner Up: Anoushka Dymock for What Becomes of a Promise?
Highly Commended: Bronte McDevitt for The Endless Trek for Water
Highly Commended: Harriet Soper for A Dog’s Promise

Years 7 – 8, judged by Author Jeremy Lachlan:
Winner: Nico Clausen for Don’t Reach Me
Runner Up: Lauren Kuiper for I Promise
Highly Commended: Lachlan Kline for An Unexpected Battle
Highly Commended: Lam Nhi Catalinotto for It’s Me

Years 9 - 10, judged by Author Leanne Yong:
Winner: Lillian Hamilton for Evening Rounds
Runner Up: Lexie McCoy for Switch
Highly Commended: Annika Schulte-Paterson for To Heal a Broken Heart
Highly Commended: Laura Piper for All that I am

Years 11 – 12, judged by Author Gary Lonesborough:
Winner: Quinn Campbell for Infallible Memories
Runner Up: Otto Maxwell for Bronze Pocket Watch
Highly Commended: Jared Kimpton for The Farm at the Edge of Human Space
Highly Commended: Lachlan Ginger for Shadow

Coiuncil asked some of this year’s winners what they think makes a good story:

“A good story is something that anyone can see a part of themselves in” Quinn Campbell, Winner of Year 11-12 Category.

"A story needs a hooking start and emotion” Frankie Boulter, Winner of Year 5-6 Category.

Nine out of Council's 24 finalists this year have been finalists in previous Young Writers’ Competitions, demonstrating the student’s commitment to creative writing each year across multiple theme words and by different author judges.

All 24 finalists’ stories will feature in the 2023 Young Writers’ Competition ‘Promise’ e-book, which is available in the library’s collection.

Thank you to all the students who entered this year’s competition. For those interested in entering next year, this year's finalists have offered the following advice:  

“Choose your idea, write about your passion and make the theme fit it” Lachlan Kline, Highly Commended for Year 7-8 Category.

“Be brave and just keep going!” Ashley Smith, Winner for Year 3-4 Category.

“Just keep writing!” Annika Shulte-Paterson, Highly Commended for Year 9-10 Category.

Council look forward to seeing what wonderful stories next year’s competition brings!