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30 Years of Award-Winning Short Stories

Press Release

26th November, 2014

30 Years of Award-Winning Short Stories

A Norwegian Church, a concrete cherub and a rose garden were the winning themes in the 30th annual Sunday Star-Times Short Story Awards, won across three categories - Open Division, Non-Fiction Essay and Secondary School Division.

The Sunday Star-Times Short Story Awards are a literacy institution designed to inspire great writing and promote New Zealand authors.

This year’s competition was judged by Sarah Quigley, Emily Perkins and Sunday Star-Times Editor Jonathan Milne. Perkins was struck by the wide variety of settings and styles. “It’s impressive to see how many writers we have who are unafraid of experimenting with narrative voice, structure, or both. The gritty humour and realism for which Kiwi filmmakers are renowned are clearly strong elements in our fiction too,” says Perkins.

The competition has helped launch the careers of many well-known New Zealand writers including Eleanor Catton, Owen Marshall, Carl Nixon, Sarah Laing, Norman Bilbrough, Judith White, Barbara Anderson, Linda Olsson, Sarah Quigley and Andre Ngapo.

“Literary competitions are always something of a lottery, but winning a prize – especially a prestigious and longstanding one such as theSunday Star-Times – can give a significant boost to a writer’s career and confidence, regardless of whether he or she is just starting out or is already well-established,” says Quigley.

“It’s been difficult to select the category winners. But a few were really ‘stand-out’ stories that not only stayed in my mind, but also remained fresh and striking no matter how many times I read them – which is probably one of the most important hallmarks of good writing,” adds Perkins.

Tracy Farr won the Open Division, Suzanne Takiwa won the Non-Fiction Essay and Amelia Kendall won the Secondary School Division.

Tracy Farr authored ‘Once Had Me’ which came out of the process of writing for her first novel. The idea didn’t quite belong in the novel, and seemed to stand on its own two feet as a short story. Tracy has entered the Sunday Star-Times Short Story Awards for many years but this is the first time she’s won.

Suzanne Takiwa, a Papatoetoe local, created the story ‘Cherubs in the Garden’ based on her experience growing up in a mixed family in South Auckland, the story is dedicated to her late mother. This is the first time Suzanne has ever entered any awards and it was her tutor who encouraged his students to push past their fears and share their writing.

Amelia Kendall, a 17 year old from St Cuthbert’s College, won with her piece ‘The Rose Garden’ based on her perception of her grandparents. Amelia’s English teacher encouraged her and other students to enter the awards to further develop their writing talents.

The winners took home some fantastic prizes, including $2,600 worth of cash, Kobo eReaders, Paper Plus vouchers and $2,000 worth of books for the school libraries of the Secondary School Division winner and runners up.

More information about the Sunday Star-Times Short Story Awards can be found in the upcoming edition on Sunday 30, 2014. The winning short stories will be published in full in upcoming Sunday Star-Times editions.


Open Division
Winner: Tracy Farr, ‘Once Had Me’

1st Runner Up: Alice Miller, ‘Once Removed’

2nd Runner Up: Eileen Merriman, ‘Pieces of You (In No Particular Order)’

Non-Fiction Essay
Winner: Suzanne Takiwa, ‘Cherubs in the Garden’

Secondary School
Winner: Ameila Kendall, ‘The Rose Garden’

1st Runner Up: Lucy Bennett, ‘What Lies Within’

2nd Runner Up: Shoshanna Faaita, ‘A New Home’


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