The verdict is in . . .

The Long Way Home writing competition – the verdict is in. We had a fabulous bunch of poignant, hopeful and quirky stories to read. A few made us pause while they gestured quietly to something deep and ineffable. They are the winners.

Maggie McDade wins the open section for her story ‘Neighbour.’ Grafton High School’s Nadia Smith wins the high school section. Aidan Menzies (also Grafton High) is highly commended. Jacquiline Diaz, who is home schooled, is highly commended. The winner of the primary school section is Evie Rae from Gulmarrad Public School. Highly commended for their stories are Oscar Woods from Grafton Public, Alyssa Dixon from Tucabia Public, and Locklen Baker from Harwood Public.

Congratulations to all!

The judges were Roweena Shakespeare and Jacqui Hinshaw of Clarence Regional Library, Janelle Brown, Ilana Kaplin, Kathryn Goldie and Claire Aman.

The stories, along with shortlisted stories, will be published in November in The Long Way Home’s new collection: Stories from the Clarence Valley 2022 – Let Go.

The Long Way Home is a community project, open to anyone with a connection to the Clarence Valley. We don’t get paid or make a profit, so we’re grateful for the generous support of South Grafton Community Bank, and also First National Real Estate Yamba. We thank Grafton Book Warehouse for their support.

Announcing the shortlist!

Thank you to everyone who wrote a story for the 2022 Long Way Home story competition. There were so many good stories and poems jostling for the shortlist, too many to fit into one book. There’s been a lot to write about. Dramatic times call for brave story-telling, and nothing can stop a writer.

These 65 shortlisted works will be published in Let Go – Stories from the Clarence Valley 2022, with the book going on sale in early December. The winners will be announced in September. Judges were Kathryn Goldie, Ilana Kaplin, Janelle Brown, Roweena Shakespeare, Jacqui Hinshaw and Claire Aman.

We take our hats off to everyone who wrote a story. To bring a short story from idea stage to deadline, takes imagination, effort and courage. We hope everyone keeps writing. We appreciate the South Grafton Community Bank Branch of Bendigo Bank for their generous support of this community project.

Here are the shortlisted authors:

Open category

Jan Booth, Letting Go of Joy

Jo Parry, Two Worlds

Karla Hubbard , The Rains

Loueen Winters, My Nephew

Maggie McDade, Neighbour

Meg Rowe, Ant

Sarah Rose-Cherry, Letters to Georgia

Stephanie Haines, Hold On

Zach Jones, Changing Tides

High school category

Aidan Menzies, Paddlin’ the Zambezi, Year 7, Grafton High School

Ada Hitchins Sage, Move On, Year 9, Home School

Brooke Chapman, Unreal, Year 9, McAuley Catholic College

Matilda Neal, Round One of the 2022 Floods, Year 10, Clarence Valley Anglican School

Elsie Stewart, Lockdown, Year 7, Grafton High School

Harmin Singh, Camping, Year 8, Grafton High School

Jacquiline Diaz, Let Go! Year 7, Home School

Lotte Pereira, Grief, Year 9, Grafton High School

Nadia Smith, Facing the Forest, Year 11, Grafton High School

Syian Thompson, The Slam of the Door, Year 10, Clarence Valley Anglican School

Primary school category

Alyssa Dixon, The Spider, Year K, Tucabia Public School

Alva Eastwood, Flooded Soil, Year 6, Grafton Public School

Ashton Rainbow, An Adventure, Year 2, Ulmarra Public School

Autumn Enns, The Flood, Year 5, St James’ Primary School, Yamba

Buddy Walker, Catching Bingiing, Year 6, Baryulgil Public School

Chainey Gosper, My Life So Far, Year 6, St Mary’s Primary School, Grafton

Chloe Edwards, Let Go, Year 6, St James’ Primary School, Yamba

David McLean, Let It Go! Year 1, Baryulgil Public School

Dusty Ellem, Invisible, Year 1, Copmanhurst Public School

Ellie Denem, Let Go, Year 5, Ulmarra Public School

Ember McKittrick, Unicorn Mystery, Year 2, Copmanhurst Public School

Emily Archer, Gone Too Soon, Year 5, St Mary’s Primary School, Grafton

Emmitt Caldwell, Petie, Year K, Cowper Public School

Evie Rae, The Tale of a Dandelion, Year 5, Gulmarrad Public School

Felicity Causley, Let Go, Year 6, Iluka Public School

Isobel Keane, The Memory, Year 5, Grafton Public School

Jaali Walker, Let Go, Year 3, Baryulgil Public School

Jamieson Allen, The Falls, Year 5, St Mary’s Primary School, Grafton

Jonah Plummer, Let Go, Year 6, Iluka Public School

Joseph Hartley, Corn Crows, Year 6, Nymboida Public School

Kaden Burnside, Cutie The Elephant, Year 1, Tucabia Public School

Locklen Baker, Bob and the Megalodon Tooth, Year 2, Harwood Public School

Luke Sanna, My Dog, Year 2, Cowper Public School

Lyla Woodlock, Duchess, Year 3, Copmanhurst Public School

Mia Quelch, Learning to Let Go, Year 6, Pacific Valley Christian School

Noah Robinson, My Dog, Year K, Baryulgil Public School

Olive Pereira, When the Seasons Change, Year 6, Grafton Public School

Oscar Woods, First Day of School, Year 6, Grafton Public School

Pippa Brown, Two Hands on the Wheel, Year 5, South Grafton Public School

Pippi Short, Let Go, Year 5, St James’ Primary School, Yamba

Rhys Staples, Lacher Prise, Year 6, South Grafton Public School

Scott Halls, Let Go, Year 2, Cowper Public School

Stella Skeels, The Forest Shadows, Year 6, St Mary’s Primary School, Grafton

Willow Seivers, The Sandon River Bay, Year 5, St James’ Primary School, Yamba

Zoe Cameron, The Eagle Soars, Year 6, South Grafton Public School

Zoe Commerford, Free Fall, Year 5, Westlawn Public School

The Long Way Home Writing Competition 2022 is now closed. Watch this space in early August to see the list of stories we’ll publish this year.

The judges are Kathryn Goldie & Claire Aman (open section), Ilana Kaplin & Jacqui Hinshaw (high school section), Roweena Shakespeare, Janelle Brown & Claire Aman (primary school section). The winner of the open category will receive a $100 cash prize. Winning high school and primary school students will be awarded book vouchers. In entering the competition, the author gives permission to The Long Way Home to edit and publish the shortlisted stories in ‘Stories from the Clarence Valley 2022 – Let Go’ under the author’s name. The author owns the story. The Long Way Home does not make enough income to pay authors, but each author will receive free copy of the book.

The Long Way Home thanks South Grafton Community Bank branch of Bendigo Bank for their major sponsorship in 2022. We are a small non-profit collective, working for love of writing. We deeply appreciate our sponsors.