MEDIA RELEASE - Celebrating top writing talent: 2023 Sutherland Shire Literary Competition winners revealed

Sutherland Shire Council is delighted to announce the winners of the 2023 Sutherland Shire Literary Competition. Last night’s awards ceremony was a celebration and gathering of literary luminaries, with winning poets and story tellers from all corners of the nation coming together to celebrate the power of words and unique works of the triumphant entrants.

Organised by Sutherland Shire Council Libraries, this biennial competition encourages passionate writers to put pen to paper and contribute original works that inspire, offering entrants an invaluable platform to exhibit their talents and receive insightful feedback from esteemed independent judges.

Sutherland Shire Mayor, Councillor Carmelo Pesce, extended his heartfelt congratulations to all the winning and participating entrants.

“Our Literary Competition awards recognise and reward talented and aspiring writers, both locally and from across the nation, for their exceptional poetic and storytelling abilities,” Mayor Pesce said.

Run for the fourth time, the Literary Competition attracted distinguished, independent judges to evaluate the entries. The poetry category was evaluated by the award-winning poet writer and editor, Tricia Dearborn, while the short stories were artfully appraised by the award-winning novelist and nonfiction writer, Mandy Sayer, with Mayor Pesce highlighting their efforts in assessing the huge volume of entries.

“I’d like to extend special thanks to this year’s judges for their unwavering encouragement and commitment to the competition. Considerable time and effort went into meticulously reviewing numerous entries and providing their valued expert commentary,” Mayor Pesce said.

Submissions presented were of the highest calibre, across the competition's three categories; traditional (rhyming) poetry, free verse poetry and short story writing.

Mayor Pesce further acknowledged the crucial role played by this year's sponsor – Tradies, Southgate, and WMD Law – whose unwavering support and contributions were pivotal in making this competition not just possible but an astounding success.

Literature plays an important role in the lives of all individuals, whether for educational enrichment, personal growth, or professional endeavours. The art of literature is warmly embraced by Council Libraries, which offer an array of services, a diverse collection of free books, audiobooks, and a host of events and workshops that inspire.

“It is great to witness how this competition has motivated individuals with a passion for literature to share their exquisite words and creative prowess with others who hold an equally profound appreciation for the art of writing,” Mayor Pesce said.

Full list of 2023 Sutherland Shire Literary Competition Winners:

Traditional Verse

  • Winner: Emerging Shadows by Tom McILveen, Port Macquarie NSW
  • Shire Resident’s Prize: The Moment by Michelle Garbutt, Oyster Bay NSW

Free Verse

  • Winner: When the frozen streets impose upon my slow-flow yoga class by Sharon Rockman, Elsternwick VIC
  • Highly Commended: Stilled Life by Sue Lockwood, Eltham VIC
  • Shire Resident’s Prize: Emerging vol. 1 Butterflies and Moths by John Burns, Engadine NSW

Short Stories

  • Winner: The Guest by Rachel Flynn, Fitzroy North VIC
  • Highly Commended: The Stories We Tell by Freya Cox, Blackmans Bay TAS
  • Shire Resident’s Prize: Out of the Woodwork by KT Major, Jannali NSW
  • Shire Resident’s Highly Commended: Muses of the Council Pickup by Jacinta Frawley Werger, Sutherland NSW

The winning entries and judge’s comments can be read at Literary Competition.