SparkLit | Australian Christian Teen Writer Award
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Australian Christian Teen Writer Award

Entries for the 2020 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award close on 31 May.

Calling all quaranTEEN writers!

Entries close 31 May

 

The Australian Christian Teen Writer Award discovers and nurtures writers of the future. A $1,000 prize is given for the best unpublished manuscript by an Australian citizen under 18 years of age. The winning work will explore a Christian perspective or theme and incorporate, explain or encourage Christian life and values. Supplementary prizes may be awarded. Entries are judged with an eye to the:
Original nature and content of the work.
Literary style, including suitability for the target audience.
Contribution that the work makes in meeting a need for Christian writing in Australia.

 

Entry form and conditions

Download entry form here

Write your way out!

We encourage writing that points people to Jesus in a way that is authentic and culturally meaningful.

The Australian Christian Teen Writer Award is given annually for the best unpublished manuscript by an Australian citizen under 18 years of age.

The award carries a prize of $1,000.

With the Australian Christian Teen Writer Award we discover and celebrate writers of the future.

Join us at the 2020 SparkLit Awards Night live stream!

 

The 2020 Australian Christian Book of the Year, Young Australian Christian Writer and Australian Christian Teen Writer Awards will be announced and prizes presented during this year’s SparkLit Awards Night at 7.30pm (AEST) on Thursday 13 August 2020. 

Join us from your own home to celebrate the courage and endeavour of our local Christian writers!

 

Register here to receive a link to this free event.

 

For more information, call us on 1300 13 77 25 or send us an email: admin@sparklit.org

Share this event on Facebook!

2020 Results

2020 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award Winner

 

Phoebe Worseldine from Victoria wins the 2020 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award with her composition Through Smoke and Flames.

 

This is what the judges had to say about Through Smoke and Flames

Will Jasmine’s trust in God’s faithfulness survive the furnace of fear and disappointment? This portrayal of a devastating bushfire through the eyes of a child is set in a convincing landscape of suspense and desperation. An encouraging and hopeful story for everyone who doubts and quails while waiting “for the wind to change”.

 

An extract from Through Smoke and Flames

Mick called to Belinda, “I think we’d better put some more things into the bunker.”

He paused for a moment as they watched the flames coming over the distant hills. It looked as if lava was spilling down the hillsides. They hurried into the house and started grabbing clothes, kitchen equipment and linen.

Belinda held her breath as huge flaming embers shot through the sky and landed in the dry paddocks behind their property. With shaking hands she wiped the dust and ash from her forehead.

Mick and Belinda emerged from the bunker. They were both horrified to see a red glow light up the sky behind their property.

“Those embers must have started another fire behind us!” Mick yelled. The noise of the wind and fire was so loud they could hardly hear each other.

Flames roared across the dry paddocks, trees were alight and embers were landing everywhere. Mick was trying to put out the spot fires as they started, while Belinda kept grabbing more things from the house and throwing them down into the bunker. She felt sick and exhausted. The air was unbearably hot. She could hardly breathe.

Mick came running towards her. “Quick! We’ve got to get in the bunker now!”

Belinda took one last look. The house looked tiny against the red sky. Her heart nearly stopped beating as she watched flames lick the weatherboard walls of their home.

They hurriedly shut the bunker door behind them.

2020 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award Second Prize

 

Claudia Anthony from Victoria wins Second Prize in the 2020 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award with her composition Hopefully Happy.

 

This is what the judges had to say about Hopefully Happy

Finley’s struggle with depression during quarantine is punctuated by a growing trust in God’s sovereignty as she reaches out to others online. The author deftly tackles the challenge of writing about a singular protagonist in a digital environment. A mature reflection on the power of writing to foster healing and forge connections.

 

An extract from Hopefully Happy

The change in me is not drastic, but it is immediate. I begin to notice myself feeling differently about things. Not mania, I know how that feels and this is certainly not it. 

This emotion is more subtle – a quiet contentment. I know I can face anything that gets thrown at me because I have an outlet. For the first time in forever, I finally have something to look forward to.

And just like that— it happens, a single moment, suspended in time that I’ll never forget. A two-toned chime which can only mean one thing: my first comment. 

‘Thank you.’

It’s not much, but it’s definitely a start.

A week passes and day and night blend together like some sort of Renaissance painting where you can’t quite tell what time of day it’s meant to be. 

And I write. More and more until the words are spilling out of the crevices of my mind and into actual sentences. I write about mental health and body positivity — for we are made in his image. I write about my disorder, and how to live with something you can’t change — Finley’s Top Tips for Dealing with Anxiety. 

I share my faith with whoever cares to read about it. In His word I hope.

2020 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award Third Prize

 

Evelyn Poyitt from New South Wales wins Third Prize in the 2020 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award with her composition Some People.

 

This is what the judges had to say about Some People

What impact will your life have on the world? Like the Parable of the Sower, this poem poses a gentle but clear challenge to every reader. The metaphor is well developed and delivered with balanced rhythm and meter.

 

Some People

People are like snowflakes.
Beautifully intricate, every one.
Stunning and striking,
Yet frail as thin glass.

 

People are like snowflakes.
Each perfectly crafted in heaven,
Sent down to bless the earth,
Lasting only the blink of an eye.

 

People are like snowflakes.
Some rush through the land, blizzard-borne,
Their presence fleeting, Causing strife.

 

People are like snowflakes.
Some fall on the cold ground,
Trampled and unnoticed,
Melting away, as if they never were.

 

People are like snowflakes.
Some fall yet never reach the earth, disappearing.
A makeshift cross marks the
Ice-burned hole left in someone’s heart.

 

People are like snowflakes.
A very few settle purposefully,
So tenderly, and soaking deeply.
A touch never to be forgotten.

 

People are like snowflakes.
So I wonder

Who

Are you?

2019 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award Winner

 

Kristen Koon wins the 2019 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award with her composition Spread Your Wings, Songbird.

 

This is what the judges had to say about Spread Your Wings, Songbird

Lark got straight A’s at high school but struggles to make the transition to adulthood. Music becomes an avenue for progress, purpose and love. This story is hopeful and has enough latitude to engage the non-believer.

 

An extract from Spread Your Wings, Songbird

For the first time in my life, I was scared. My restless fingertips met the hem of my red plaid skirt. I sipped the cherry coke that was placed invitingly in front of me.

“Next we have Lark Blakely performing a few songs on the piano.”

Grunts, accompanied by a smattering of applause jolted me back into my surroundings. The paint chipped walls accompanied by the dim, vintage lights was not a pleasant setting.

Although I had played the piano all my life, and aced every exam without nerves, doubts swirled, my palms felt unusually sweaty and I could feel beads of perspiration on the back of my neck.

Silently cursing myself for signing up to play my first ‘gig’ in a dingy bar, my feet found their way up the small steps. As I settled onto the smooth, leather seat, my eyes searched for the manager of the bar. He gave me a half-interested thumbs up. My nerves leapt when I realised how many people were in the bar.

I held my hands over the piano, willing my fingers to plonk down on the keys and play the tune I had played a million times before.

Seconds passed, maybe a minute, but for me time had stopped. All I could feel was the slight quiver of my hands. All I could hear was the soft sound of my shallow breathing. Why wouldn’t my hands play what my brain was telling them to?

Defeated, I stood up. The seat flew back as I rushed off the stage straight towards the manager, mumbling apologies and that I wouldn’t need to be paid.

My cheeks burned with humiliation. I choked back tears. Whipping my coat around my shoulders, I stepped out into the wintry evening and strode away without sparing a single glance back.

2019 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award Second Prize

 

Sharon Jeikishore wins Second Prize in the 2019 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award with her composition Hope in the Unseen.

 

This is what the judges had to say about Hope in the Unseen

Annabelle learns to trust God while coming to terms with an alien country, an acquired disability and an annoying little brother. This story is plausible, fluent and empathetic.

 

An extract from Hope in the Unseen

Dad chuckled and ruffled William’s hair and placed him on the foot of the bed. I smiled, happy to see my family again.

“Did you sleep well, Annabelle?” A William question. His inquisitiveness getting the better of him once again.

I smiled and nodded. That settled him for a bit and he slid off the bed to play with his toys.

Dad sighed and sat down. “Well, I’m going to assume that you want to know what happened before you ended up here.”

I carefully swallowed and quietly said, “Yes”.

“The crocodile attacked you when you rescued William. It bit your right arm and your left leg. The doctors say you lost a lot of blood but you will be able to walk again.”

Dad paused. Tears gathered in his eyes and he took a shaky breath. I realised there was something he didn’t want to tell me. “But, your hand … ”

He steadied himself and continued. “You won’t be able to use your right hand again.”

My world came crashing down. I was numb. But I knew one thing. The only stable thing in my world, the only connection to my mother was severed. Art was no longer a part of me. I was crushed. Internally screaming. My mind a jumbled mess. I was lost. I couldn’t see the meaning of anything anymore.

It took weeks to get out of hospital, and months to start walking again. I was confined to bed until my body was capable of performing normal functions again.

A verse caught my eye. Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

I scoffed. Hope was something I lost the day I lost the use of my hand.

Psh, if he knew how much painting meant to me, there was no way a God who cared would have let me lose my right hand.

2019 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award Third Prize

 

Lwendyl Anderson wins Third Prize in the 2019 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award with her composition The Days and the Years.

 

This is what the judges had to say about The Days and the Years

A daughter of an asylum-seeker in detention struggles with the effects of separation from her father. The use of poetry to express emotion and prose to tell the story is effective. The writing is personal and haunting and the author displays a profound understanding of the way memory works.

 

An extract from The Days and the Years

They had waved goodbye to him as the bus crossed the border. She had run to try to catch it but the wheels span faster than her short legs could carry her and he hurtled away through India, and then on a plane to Indonesia and a boat to Australia.

They were so hopeful those first few years, as her father completed the journey, calling every night to tell them that he couldn’t wait to see them again, that soon all three would be reunited in that far, distant country of which she had only heard bright tales.

But the days wore on and still he hadn’t left the detention centre. And slowly they realised that it would be years before they could make their own way to Australia. And as the years wore on it seemed they would never be allowed to go.

As court case after court case came to a disappointing ending, as more and more refugees found themselves deported, they found themselves losing hope.

He stayed, for four more years, working one job and then another, overworked and underpaid, paying high rent for cramped, dirty and depressing lodgings.

He stayed and he saved and he sent home gifts: boxes so big he could have fit half of himself inside, which, in a way, was his aim.
He lovingly packed the boxes with chocolates and toys for his daughter, jewellery and crockery and clothes for his wife. Over land and over sea the boxes would travel, passing through so many pairs of hands to arrive at the doorstep he used to know so well. And from that doorstep they would call him, and thank him for each gift. Gently unpacking each item he had packed weeks before was the closest they came to touching one another.

And it seemed to the girl that her father was fading away, and no matter how hard she tried to remember him, the distance between them was growing ever wider. How could a father stay away for so long?

 

In a lonely home
as the sounds and smells of frying roti filled the air,
a comforting replacement for the sun which was nowhere,
a mother and daughter offered up their prayer.

 

Together at the table
to the Lord they gave their plea:
“Let the third of our three
pass his journey safely over land and over sea.”

 

As they bid one another goodnight:
the girl clinging to her teddy bear,
the woman alone, in a bed too big not to share
Perhaps he could see the sun somewhere?

Award criteria

 

With the Australian Christian Teen Writer Award we discover and encourage writers of the future. A $1,000 prize is given for the best unpublished manuscript by an Australian citizen under 18 years of age. Supplementary awards may be made. The winning work will explore a Christian perspective or theme and incorporate, explain or encourage Christian life and values. Entries are judged with an eye to the:
Original nature and content of the work.
Literary style, including suitability for the target audience.
Contribution that the work makes in meeting a need for Christian writing in Australia.

 

Entry form and conditions

 

Download entry form here.

 

Results

 

2020 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award
Winner. Phoebe Worseldine for Through Smoke and Flames
Second Prize. Claudia Anthony for Hopefully Happy
Third Prize. Evelyn Poyitt for Some People

 

2019 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award
Winner. Kristen Koon for Spread Your Wings, Songbird
Second Prize. Sharon Jeikishore for Hope in the Unseen
Third Prize. Lwendyl Anderson for The days and the Years

Open 2019 awards results and judges’ comments.

 

2018 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award
Winner. Jessica Dinning for The Mirror
Second Prize. Abigail Hewagama for Bella’s Story
Third Prize. Sharon Jeikishore for  Impossible Made Possible

Open 2018 awards results and judges’ comments.

 

2017 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award
Winner. Tanya Strydom for ‘Sir Tain and the Peasant’s Sword’
Second Prize. Caylie Ellen Moore for Tethered
Third Prize. Jessica Dinning for Deserted

Open 2017 awards results and judges’ comments.

 

2016 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award

Winner. Annie-Jo Vogler for ‘All the Ways We Are’
Second Prize. Elizabeth Stinton for Meeting
Third Prize. Obed Wallis for Bellum Ex Animo

Open 2016 awards results and judges’ comments.

 

2015 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award
The award was withheld in 2015.
Open 2015 awards results and judges’ comments.


2014 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award

Winner. Annie-Jo Vogler for Ellesmere Road
Open 2014 awards results and judges’ comments.


2013 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award
Winner. Alex Chi for Hello God … It’s Me
Second Prize. Caroline Dehn for Stage Left
Open 2013 awards results and judges’ comments.


2012 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award
Winner. Daniel Li for A Short Walk
Second Prize. Amber Holmes for The Mask
Open 2012 awards results and judges’ comments.


2011 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award
Winner. Amber Holmes for Sunshine
Second Prize. Christy Tobeck for Who are you anyway?
Open 2011 awards results and judges’ comments.


2010 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award
Winner. Sarah Longden for Choices
Open 2010 awards results and judges’ comments.