Best Australian Yarn - First Nations Storytelling Prize
[by Emma Garlett]
The search for Australia’s best short story is on again with the return of The Best Australian Yarn, the world’s richest short story competition for published and unpublished writers.
Submissions are now open for this annual celebration of creative writing and the arts, which first launched in 2022, attracting close to 5,000 entries.
This year, The West Australian, in collaboration with new major partner, leading education provider, Navitas, has increased the total prize pool to $75,000, and introduced two new categories – the Navitas ESL Prize and the First Nations Storytelling Prize, while the Department of Education WA is sponsoring the GenWest Youth Prize, which has expanded to recognise two age groups – 12-14 year olds and 15-18 year olds.
The West Australian’s Editor in Chief, Anthony De Ceglie, said: “This year’s competition will be more accessible to all Australians, helping us to unearth exciting new talent and amplify voices from far flung corners of the country.
“As well as providing prize money to the winners, The West Australian is keen to once again showcase a multitude of outstanding short story entries on both our print and online platforms, that combined, reach 4.4 million readers each month. To augment the reading experience, we will again be designing bespoke illustrations to complement and elevate the stories.”
Navitas’ Chief Executive Officer, Scott Jones, said: “We are excited to launch the Navitas English as a Second Language Prize, which encourages authors from non-English speaking backgrounds to share their stories and experiences through the written word.
"Navitas embraces diversity in all its forms, and we are passionate about connecting cultures and transforming lives through education. We have provided students across our network of colleges and campuses with language support for decades and to now be able to offer an English as a Second Language (ESL) individual the opportunity to showcase their writing talent and be recognised and rewarded for their personal development is a privilege."
Indigenous Affairs Advocate and The West Australian columnist, Emma Garlett, has joined the prize jury this year to judge the new First Nations Storytelling category, saying: “We want to encourage and celebrate our young Indigenous authors by providing a platform for them to share their stories, culture and perspective in the First Nations Storytelling category.
“There is a rich history of storytelling in Aboriginal culture. This Prize provides the opportunity and incentive for Indigenous Australians to share their stories with the wider Australian audience.”
Minister for Education, Hon Dr Tony Buti MLA said: “The Best Australian Yarn provides a fun and creative way for students to get involved and expand their skills and writing experiences. It’s so important that we continue to provide engaging and exciting opportunities to inspire a love of reading and writing in young people.”
Perth Festival and Writing WA, two of Western Australia’s leading arts and literature organisations, have provided invaluable guidance on the competition, and will be closely involved in the judging process.
Writing WA’s Chief Executive Officer, Will Yeoman, said: “The Best Australian Yarn competition is now the richest short story prize in the world. If this is not yet another example of Western Australia punching above its weight in terms of the value placed upon literature and its practitioners at every level, I don’t know what is.
“As the state’s peak body for writing and associated activities, Writing WA is proud to be associated with such a bold initiative – one that continues to help foster a unique and diverse literary ecosystem.”
Perth Festival’s Head of Programming, Rachael Whitworth, said: “At Perth Festival, we believe that storytelling is a powerful tool for building understanding and empathy. By supporting The Best Australian Yarn, we hope to provide a platform for diverse voices to be heard and to inspire new perspectives that will enrich our community and beyond.
“Fostering and promoting local talent is crucial to the growth and development of our artistic community, and we are committed to providing opportunities for emerging artists to shine.”
The Best Australian Yarn is open to all Australians aged 12 years and over. Entries must be between 1,000 and 2,500 words long and can cover any genre.
The total prize pool of $75,000 is split across the below categories:
• Overall Winner - $50,000
• Runner up - $3,000
• Navitas ESL Prize - $3,000
• First Nations Storytelling Prize - $3,000
• Regional Prize - $3000
• GenWest Youth Prize - $3,000 ($1,500 each for entrants aged 12-14 and 15-18)
• The West Reader’s Choice - $2,000
• Eight shortlisted overall winner finalists - $1,000 each
Entries are now open and close Tuesday, 1 August 2023.
Further details can be found at bestaustralianyarn.com.au
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