SparkLit | Young Australian Christian Writer Award
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Young Australian Christian Writer Award

2021 SparkLit Awards Night

 

This year’s SparkLit Awards Night will be livestreamed on Thursday 2 September at 7:30pm (AEST). Join us for the presentation of the 2021 Young Australian Christian Writer Award, as well as the Australian Christian Teen Writer Award and Australian Christian Book of the Year Award.

 

Register now to receive the livestream link (free of charge). Prepare to be encouraged by shortlisted authors, young writers and SparkLit’s overseas project partners!

2021 SparkLit Awards Night

You can rewatch the presentation of the 2021 Young Australian Christian Writer Award:

Put your words to work!

 

SparkLit nurtures writers that engage meaningfully with culture, bringing the Word of God into conversation with current local needs. The Young Australian Christian Writer Award encourages emerging Christian authors.

 

Award criteria

 

A $2,500 prize is given for the best unpublished manuscript by an Australian citizen under 30 years of age.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

 

Entries for next year’s Young Australian Christian Writer Award close on 31 May 2022.

Download entry form here.

2021 Results

Winner

2021 Young Australian Christian Writer Award

 

Rémy Chadwick from Victoria won the 2021 Young Australian Christian Writer Award with Creativity and Faith in Postmodern Australia: Selected Writings.

 

Rémy invites you to read and engage with his work.

This is what the judges had to say about Creativity and Faith in Postmodern Australia

The author employs a wide range of styles and genres—essay, homage, homily, literary criticism—to explore the ways in which the crucified and resurrected Christ challenges our fickle and competitive consumer culture. He is insightful, polemical and persuasive, and his voice is versatile and resounding. An effective apologist for his generation.

An extract from Creativity and Faith in Postmodern Australia

Beauty is evidence of premeditated grace. It is the joy of God materialised.

 

In the Book of Job, when God finally responds to Job’s cries for an explanation of his suffering, he offers no theological argument, nor explicit sympathy, nor reference to Job’s circumstances. Instead, he uses poetry.

 

God sings of what he has created: the humble and the great, the gentle and the terrible. Have a read of Job 38–41. God stops to pay tribute to his design for the weather. He casts the constellations—which men like Job named—as living creatures ruling the Earth in a firmamental drama. God’s theodicy includes even the wild donkey.

 

Job cannot argue with such a performance. He remains in silent awe, in ashes, humbled beyond even his sufferings. I wonder what Job must have felt in that moment? Perhaps a sense of limitless love. A sense that not even his ruin can blemish the indestructible joy God has poured out in all things. A sense that he is no longer himself, having witnessed in a fraction of time the torrential majesty of his Maker’s hands.

2020 Results

Winner

2020 Young Australian Christian Writer Award

 

Daniel Li from Victoria won the 2020 Young Australian Christian Writer Award with his manuscript Being Mulaney.

This is what the judges had to say about Being Mulaney

Our spiritual leaders care for us. But who cares for them? What does it mean to share the weight of ministry? In this honest and gentle narrative, a young Christian confronts the loneliness of leadership, burnout and a family history of suicide. The writing is tight yet intimate and poetic. A timely reminder to bear one another’s burdens and point each other to the grace and peace that surpasses understanding.

An extract from Being Mulaney

The room was so impeccably clean.

Michael walked over to the boxes. Thousands of letters in all different sizes—some written in blue, red, purple ink—all dated like a macabre time line. “These are …”

Sarah nodded. “Letters to himself. He’d never let me read them. Nobody knew him. Maybe I will now.”

Sarah stood alone and vacant. The boys shut the door behind her. It was 1:48 am.

They lay on the floor of the lounge room. They thought they would hear muffled tears. But there was nothing. Not even the shuffling of paper. They heard only the churning clockwork of Sarah’s heart.

Michael looked at Charles with eyes deeper and wearier than any boy should have. “I’m scared.”

“What of?”

“It’s like my blood is calling to me. All the men in my family have found their answer in swinging from trees.”

“And you think you will too?”

“I can’t—” he looked around wildly, “I can’t say.”

Second Prize

2020 Young Australian Christian Writer Award

 

Caroline Dehn from Victoria won Second Prize in the 2020 Young Australian Christian Writer Award with her manuscript The Birdkeeper, and Other Forms of Myth.

This is what the judges had to say about The Birdkeeper, and Other Forms of Myth

If we keep saying “no” to love and hope, how many more times will it come knocking? How can we recognise freedom when we are used to living in chains? This collection of myth-like stories explores the supernatural anxieties and supernal fantasies of childhood where beauty, love and hope do battle with fear and darkness.

An extract from The Birdkeeper, and Other Forms of Myth

This time, the quiet settles in. We do not speak for a long time, both of us staring out at my back garden. 

I can’t see to its end for mist. I haven’t been able to for years. But I try assertively to preserve the memory of what that was like: to sit and gaze from one end of the garden to the other through unobstructed air. In the same way, I remember the walls, towering high, presidential. Most of them lie in piles, now. They have for years.

Jonah straightens suddenly. I hear what he has heard: a sound, strange and unfamiliar, half melodic and half talkative.

“Listen,” he whispers. 

The sound rattles on in a joyous little chaos of noise.

“What is it?”

I am startled, amazed.

“It’s a bird.”

Third Prize

2020 Young Australian Christian Writer Award

 

Stephen Reed from New South Wales won Third Prize in the 2020 Young Australian Christian Writer Award with his manuscript The Cartographer’s Presence.

This is what the judges had to say about The Cartographer’s Presence

Arcos grapples with the oppression and suffering he witnesses as he journeys through a fantastical world not so different from our own. The narrative is well-paced and complemented by excellent drawings. This tapestry of
biblical allegories prompts us to look anew at our own lives and aspirations.

An extract from The Cartographer’s Presence

He has mapped it all out. Sketched the long and twisting coastlines, the far reaching deserts, the high and lofty mountain ridges.

But the most amazing part, my son! The Cartographer is not a distant Map Maker. He is close! 

He made a path for them to follow, and guided them along it. Our ancestors had the Cartographer with them, my son, but they did not have a land. 

They lived like nomads, roaming the wilderness, climbing the mountains, traversing the valleys, carrying their tents wherever they went. Setting up their shelters wherever the Cartographer led. 

They were always on the move, ever searching, ever journeying. Never staying in one place. 

That is why we live in shelters this week, my son. To remember our mothers and fathers and the way they lived in times long passed. How the Cartographer faithfully guided them.

For he had a destination in mind for them, a land where they could build lasting homes. 

2019 Results

Winner

2019 Young Australian Christian Writer Award

 

Eden Annesley wins the 2019 Young Australian Christian Writer Award with her manuscript Tom and Eva.

This is what the judges had to say about Tom and Eva

Suspicion and hatred envelop a small town following the death of two women. The humour, tension and bullying among the teenage protagonists is real and topical. From beginning to end this narrative is strong, nuanced, unpredictable and engaging. As the mystery unfolds, God’s love and care are gradually revealed.

An extract from Tom and Eva

She suddenly jumped up. “Movie marathon tonight! Popcorn, cheesy horror and ice cream sundaes.”

“Like when we were kids?”

“No,” smiled Eva. “Like we are now.”

Tom pretended to consider it. “I have a lonely father at home.”

“He can come,” offered Eva. She was popping a little now, the excitement in her eyes invigorating.

“I suppose,” sighed Tom. “For old time’s sake.”

“Indeed,” she said with a smile. She raised her plastic cup in a mock toast. “To friendship.”

“Freedom,” echoed Tom as the plastic clunked.

“And to Tom and Eva,” she concluded.

All Results

 

2021 Young Australian Christian Writer Award

Winner. Rémy Chadwick for Creativity and Faith in Postmodern Australia
Honourable Mention. Tanya Strydom for The Watch Collector

 

2020 Young Australian Christian Writer Award

Winner. Daniel Li for Being Mulaney
Second Prize. Caroline Dehn for The Birdkeeper, and Other Forms of Myth
Third Prize. Stephen Reed for The Cartographer’s Presence
Open 2019 awards results and judges’ comments.

 

2019 Young Australian Christian Writer Award

Winner. Eden Annesley for Tom and Eva
Second Prize. Zoe Boyle for La Monde
Open 2019 awards results and judges’ comments.

 

2018 Young Australian Christian Writer Award

The award was withheld in 2018.
Open 2018 awards results and judges’ comments.

 

2017 Young Australian Christian Writer Award

Winner. E P George for The Bidura Effect
Second Prize. Rachel Sharp for The Unhumans
Open 2017 awards results and judges’ comments.

 

2016 Young Australian Christian Writer Award

Winner. Miriam Dale for The Weight of Hope
Second Prize. Rebecca Lang for The Sprinkling of Unforced Rhythms
Third Prize. Jim Schirmer for The Way of the Rabbi

Open 2016 awards results and judges’ comments.

 

2015 Young Australian Christian Writer Award
Winner. Tim Sharp for Undying
Second Prize. Trudy Adams for The Sunshine List
Third Prize. Sarah Backholer and Rebecca Nisbet for Seasons of Grace

Open 2015 awards results and judges’ comments.


2014 Young Australian Christian Writer Award

Winner. Heidi Waddell for The Bridge
Second Prize. Joshua Maule for Isesomo
Third Prize. Chantelle Pitt for Loving Floyd

Open 2014 awards results and judges’ comments.


2013 Young Australian Christian Writer Award
Winner. Matthew Pullar for Imperceptible Arms: A Memoir in Poems
Open 2013 awards results and judges’ comments.


2012 Young Australian Christian Writer Award
Winner. Claire van Ryn for Faith Like a Mushroom
Second Prize. Miriam Dale for Sugar and Salt: Honesty in Faith
Third Prize. Darren Wright for St Patrick’s Church. Part Two
Open 2012 awards results and judges’ comments.


2011 Young Australian Christian Writer Award
The award was withheld in 2011.
Open 2011 awards results and judges’ comments.


2010 Young Australian Christian Writer Award
Winner. Jack Burnham for Held in his Hands
Open 2010 awards results and judges’ comments.