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Longlist announced for short story competition

Sunday 15 October 2006

Longlist announced for prestigious short story competition

The longlist for the Sunday Star-Times Short Story Competition has been announced. The list includes a previous winner, Richard Brooke, whose story Girls from Alaska won the competition in 1985.

Since its inception in 1984, the Sunday Star-Times Short Story Competition, now in partnership with Random House New Zealand, has become nationally recognised as both a champion of and a showcase for New Zealand short fiction. Amongst those who have achieved success in this competition are some of this country's leading writers, including Norman Bilbrough, Judith White, Barbara Anderson and Sarah Quigley.

This year, Owen Marshall, a master of the short story genre and a judge of the competition, said that the overall standard of the stories passed on to him by the preliminary judges was higher than in the last year or two, and that the very best were equal to previous winners.

The competition is judged in two categories - the Open Division, judged by Owen Marshall, and the Secondary School Division, judged by respected writer, Graeme Lay.

This year's finalists (in no particular order) are:

The Wrong Shoe by Sarah Laing Wilton, Wellington
Carly by Kerry Challinor, Green Bay, Waitakere
A Working Model of the Sky by Tracey Slaughter, Thames
The Slave of Bracelets by Sarah Line Letellier, Mt Victoria, Wellington
Shadows by Tania Hutley, Kingsland, Auckland
Cut by Mary Anne Bourke, Thorndon, Wellington
Transference by Jackie Davis, Gisborne
His Brother's Keeper by Richard Brooke, Titirangi, Auckland
Did Not Complete by Helen Lehndorf, Palmerston North
How the Internet Saved My Life by Jamie Standen, Upper Hutt, Wellington

Record entries were received in the Secondary School Division this year, with Wellington's Queen Margaret College, Wellington (38 entries) and Auckland's Epsom Girls Grammar (32 entries) topping the list in terms of numbers.

Graeme Lay said that some truly accomplished entries stood out this year. "Many stories," he said, "were sensitively written and deeply affecting. Their themes touched on the anxieties and tribulations of youth: peer rivalry, sibling spite, bullying and other cruelties, friendship, loss, partings, illness, the death of animals and the pain of parting. Family stories were common, with the theme of boys bonding with their grandfathers a recurring one. Not all the stories were bleak, but where there was wry humour, it was usually at parents' expense."

The Hare by Jaime Lee, Year 12, Aquinas College, Tauranga
Lonely Planet by Joseph Moore, Year 13, Wellington College, Wellington
Franklin Road by Raphaela Tippett-Power, Year 13, Michael Park School, Auckland
Indian Oranges by Lucy Revill, Year 12, Queen Margaret College, Wellington
Death of Innocence by Linda Campbell, Year 12, Waitakere College, Auckland
Friendship Bracelets by Rosemary Grant, Year 9, Diocesan School for Girls, Auckland
Pumice by Marita Hunt, Year 13, Whangarei Girl's High, Whangarei
Arrival by Dazhao Zhang, Year 12, Pakuranga College, Auckland
Ants by Miranda Cossar, Year 13, Epsom Girl's Grammar, Auckland
Robin's Blanket by Ruby Porter, Year 9, Northcote College, Auckland
Fall Like Rain by Mengyun Rao, Year 11, Epsom Girl's Grammar, Auckland
Grandmother's Garden by Hanne Nielsen, Year 13, Epsom Girl's Grammar, Auckland

A shortlist will be announced on Sunday 29 October. The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony at the Auckland Art Gallery on Wednesday 1 November 2006. Winners of the competition will see their stories published in the Sunday Star-Times, plus cash and book prizes.

The Sunday Star-Times acknowledges the generosity of their sponsors including Random House New Zealand, Sanford NZ Ltd, Auckland Art Gallery and the Stamford Plaza Auckland.


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