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

Watch the 2022 SparkLit Awards Night!

 

 

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 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award, as well as the Young Australian Christian 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!

Don’t stop writing!

 

SparkLit encourages writing that points Australians to Jesus. The Australian Christian Teen Writer Award discovers and celebrates budding authors and creatives.

 

Award criteria

 

A $1,000 prize is given for the best unpublished manuscript by an Australian citizen under 18 years of age. Supplementary awards may be given. 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 this year’s Australian Christian Teen Writer Award closed on 31 May 2022.

 

Download an entry form here or use our online form here.

2022 Results

Winner

2022 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award

 

Rachael Board from Victoria won the 2022 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award with her composition To Be Like Him.

 

This is what the judges had to say about To Be Like Him:

Reeling from the loss of her twin brother, Georgia wrestles with her grief … and his faith. Can Blake’s God have anything to say to her now? Georgia tells herself she’s not having a bar of it! But sometimes people say one thing and mean another. The protagonist’s internal contradictions are realistic and the story’s tone is refreshingly raw. The gradual revelation of God’s loving and life-giving presence in the aftermath of tragedy is thought-provoking and hopeful.

 

An extract from To Be Like Him

I walked into the kitchen to find Ophelia, my divorced and not-so-commendable mum, working a piece of dough on the counter. She smiled up at me and beckoned me over to take a seat. My steps were slow yet determined. I walked away from the picturesque white counters, olive green splashback and pot plant-infested window and followed the wooden floorboards along the hallway into my bedroom.

I sat cross-legged on my bed and let the tears run down my cheeks. Emotions were strange to feel upon my face, after weeks of blank emptiness. I let the wetness wash the cracks and plaster I had endured for so long. In that moment I let everything peel off to reveal my true self. Broken and lost. Closing my eyes, I felt myself being pulled back to warmth and love. I opened my foggy eyes and fell back onto my pillows. Staring at the ceiling, I read the quotes Blake had often said, only now I knew these were the words of his God.

“I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”

“I am your fortress.”

“Be still, and know that I am God.”

I wrapped a blanket around my feverishly shaking body and rested among the pillows. I may have been there moments, or maybe hours, but when I opened my crusty eyes, I found Ophelia laying beside me, also wrapped in my blanket. My every instinct was to scream at her face but her comfort for my pain was long overdue.

Being loved was long overdue.

Second Prize

2022 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award

 

Melinda Herman from Queensland won Second Prize in the 2022 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award with her composition Of War and God.

 

This is what the judges had to say about Of War and God:

With surprising maturity and depth, this First World War narrative processes the futility of war and suffering. The historical rigour is impressive. Sights, smells, painful memories and rich inner monologue populate a German deserter’s mind as he questions everything, but insists on a righteous God.

 

An extract from Of War and God

They were all victims of a man’s war, soldiers forced into spectres; haunting the scorched earth, blinded by religious untruths, and lain to rest with nothing but the promise of a love guiding them to a world free of torment, of God’s love leading them into a brighter future. 

All the actions he thought too grotesque to return from, all the horrors wrought before his eyes, he shared with his comrades, even those on the opposing side.

All of them, all the innocent souls turned impure, could find absolution.

2021 Results

Winner

2021 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award

 

Megan Southon from Victoria won the 2021 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award with her composition Daisies in Winter.

 

This is what the judges had to say about Daisies in Winter

To escape her constant battle with crippling social anxiety, Daisy writes poetry. However, to be open to the prospect of love she must look beyond her secure and stagnant solitude. This mature and thoughtful story explores the internal dialogue of an adolescent on a courageous journey of self-acceptance. In Daisies in Winter, the struggle and the triumph is learning to reach out to God on a daily basis, even when all you can say is,  “God, why am I like this?”

 

An extract from Daisies in Winter

She was scared. Forced into a fork in a road. Two choices. Speak, and mess everything up. Don’t speak, and mess only a lot of things up.

Don’t speak, she chose. She wished she had the ability to express herself in prose as she did in poetry. No such luck, so it was better to keep her mouth shut.

The silence wove its way into her heart, slowing its rhythm. Into her mind, quieting the voices of failure. A welcome silence. Usually silence only turned up the noise in her mind.

Jack broke the silence. The unusual, awkward safety. “I wish you’d talk.”

His words drizzled down to the bottom of her heart. No-one ever wanted her to talk, to be herself. No-one ever thought there was more to her than meets the eye. He’d seen the real Daisy, somehow, and that unlocked all the doors in her heart.

That was what allowed her to be simply Daisy for the rest of the purposefully slow walk home. She talked. He listened. He talked. She listened.

Safe. It was a different kind of safe. It was beautiful. A daisy blooming through winter.

Second Prize

2021 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award

 

Anaya Rajaratnam from New South Wales won Second Prize in the 2021 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award with her composition A Lesson in Murder.

 

This is what the judges had to say about A Lesson in Murder

Marlene and her detective father are hot on the trail of a murderer, but that can’t distract Marlene from more insidious forms of violence among her own classmates. This exciting, defiantly comical tale confronts the true costs and rewards of imitating Jesus and letting the cycle of hurt end with you.

 

An extract from A Lesson in Murder

“So you’re telling me you won’t tell me why you were pulled out of class yesterday, and yet you still get an extension for the project?” Max was incredulous.

“Yep,” Marlene replied, a hint of sass present in her voice.

“Gosh, I wish my foster dad would do that. He never comes out for any of the school events because he’s always ‘working on a case’. He doesn’t know you or any of my friends exist. He even wouldn’t let me go out on my own, or let anyone in.”

“Trust me, Max, you really don’t want to know,” she reassured hastily.

“Well, despite that, you didn’t really miss anything, except…” His eyes travelled to the back of the class, where one student was making gestures.

“What?” Marlene asked.

“She wants me to join a revolt against Garth.”

“The bully that Mario—”

“Yes, him. She wants to get him expelled.”

“She thought humiliation and being stripped of a place in the football team wasn’t enough?”

Max nodded affirmatively.

“Be like Hosea, Max. Don’t be afraid to stand for what’s right.”

Third Prize

2021 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award

 

Joel Simmonds from the Northern Territory won Third Prize in the 2021 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award with his composition Evacuation Day.

 

This is what the judges had to say about Evacuation Day

What happens when going to church could mean losing the roof over your head? This gripping tale follows the struggle against homelessness and danger of three children in war-torn South Sudan. Evacuation Day is suspenseful, confronting and expertly placed in the Sudanese context.

 

An extract from Evacuation Day

Anger, like fire, it can make and break you. It makes you say reckless but honest words, and once you say them, you can’t unsay them. It all spills out, breaking those around you too. 

“YOU LIED!” David screams at me, Dahlia and Luke as soon as we walk in from church.

We’re busted. Again.

“You said going to church was a one-off thing, and now you’ve gone and done it again! You are all lying Christians! get out!”

“No, not me,” I try to reason with him. Honestly, I just hope that if I stay, then I can get him to let them back in.

“I’m not a Christian, I just got dragged along for the food, I promise.”

2020 Results

Winner

2020 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award

 

Phoebe Worseldine from Victoria won 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 and Belinda were 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.

Second Prize

2020 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award

 

Claudia Anthony from Victoria won 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.

Third Prize

2020 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award

 

Evelyn Poyitt from New South Wales won 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.

An extract from Some People

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?

All Results

2021 Australian Christian Teen Writer Award
Winner. Megan Southon for Daisies in Winter.
Second. Anaya Rajaratnam for A Lesson in Murder.
Third. Joel Simmonds for Evacuation Day.
Open 2021 awards results and judges’ comments.

 

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
Open 2020 awards results and judges’ comments.

 

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.