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Writers Given Chance to Become a Published Author

8 August 2005

Competition Gives Writers Chance to Become a Published Author

Writers hoping to launch or further their literary career should know that entries to the Sunday Star-Times Short Story Competition in association with Random House are now open.

Winning this competition has in past years propelled unknowns into prominence. Publishers sit up and take notice as do those who hand out the literary grants.

And this year for the first time in the competition’s 20 year history, the winning story will be published not only in the Sunday Star-Times, but in Random House’s special compilation of short stories due for release next year. The winner will also receive $5,000 cash and other prizes including a laptop computer and Random House books.

Editor Cate Brett said the newspaper is delighted to have Random House on board.

“This is the first year that we have joined forces with a publishing house and it has added another level to the Competition, with the guarantee of publication for the overall winner plus invaluable experience at Random House for two other winners.

“The increased cash prize pool this year should act as another incentive for people to enter.”

Predicting the winner of the Competition is impossible as not even the judge knows the identity of entrants until after the final selection is made. Big names regularly enter and often make the shortlist, as is to be expected, though they don’t necessarily always win.

Last year Berlin-based writer, Sarah Quigley, took top honours with her story “Breathing Out” 10 years after she first entered the Competition, and after coming runner up three times in 1994, 1996 and 2001. Judge of the Open Division is acclaimed writer Owen Marshall, also a previous winner of the Competition, who points out that there is no easy trick to writing, and different people succeed in different ways.

“Judges too have their own prejudices, backgrounds and enthusiasms. I tend to be drawn to successful characterisation: to those writers who have insights into human behaviour and the command of language, whimsical or serious, to give those insights emotional power and a sense of authenticity.”

In a first for the Competition two winners will get the chance to spend time at Random House. The best ‘unpublished’ writer in the open division will receive a Random House Experience spending time with fiction publisher Harriet Allan, while the Secondary School Division Winner, judged by Graeme Lay will win a Random House work experience day. In addition all winners and runners up receive cash and prizes.

Entry coupons to the Sunday Star-Times Short Story Competition in association with Random House are available in the Sunday Star-Times until September 11, 2005.

Full prize details: Open Division 1st Prize: Story published by Random House and Sunday Star-Times, $5,000 cash, Laptop computer and $500 of books from Random House. 2nd Prize: Story published in the Sunday Star-Times, $1,500 cash and $300 of books from Random House 3rd Prize: Story published in the Sunday Star-Times, $1,000 cash and $200 of books from Random House Best Unpublished Writer: Random House experience with fiction publisher Harriet Allan, $200 of books from Random House

Secondary School Division 1st Prize: $750 cash, $100 of Random House books for winner’s school, Random House work experience day 2nd Prize: $500 cash, $100 worth of Random House books for finalist’s school. 3rd Prize: $250 cash, $100 worth of Random House books for finalist’s school.

ENDS

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