Competition

@@@@@@@@@@The new deadline for all categories is 6 July 2020@@@@@@@@@@@

Terms and Conditions

 – The theme for all entries is ‘Land/marks’. Interpret it anyway you like, and use it however you want – as a title, words in the text, inspiration for the idea . . . the possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Alot has happened in the past six months. Use it.

– Primary students in Year 1- 6 can enter stories of up to 150 words

 – High school students can enter stories of up to 500 words

 – Open section stories can be up to 2,500 words

  – The closing date for entries is 11pm July 6th, 2020. Late entries will not be accepted.

 – The shortlisted stories from each category will be collected in ‘Stories from the Clarence Valley 2020 – Land/marks.’ Due to the pandemic, we are not sure yet if we’ll be publishing online or producing a print book. We will try our hardest to send the stories into the world in the best way available to us.

– Primary school students: Each story must include: the author’s name, the title of the story, word count, year at school, name of school, teacher’s name, and the category (Primary). If home schooled, please include home school contact details.

– High school students: Each story must include a cover page with: the author’s name, the title of the story, word count, year at school, name of school, teacher’s name, and the category (High School). If home schooled, please include home school contact details. Write the title on each page of the story. Your name only goes on the cover page.

 – Open category: Each story must include a cover page with: the author’s name, the title of the story, word count, the category (Open), and email address or postal address. Write the title on each page of the story. Your name only goes on the cover page.

– The winner of the open category will receive a $100 cash prize. High school and primary school students placing first, second and third will be awarded book vouchers.

 – The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Work will not be returned.

 – The author owns the story, but in entering the competition, the author gives permission to The Long Way Home to publish the shortlisted stories once, in the annual anthology, under the author’s name.

 – Stories can be emailed to cvshortstories@gmail.com Or you can post us a flash drive with your story to the Long Way Home at PO Box 604, Yamba, 2464 . Or post us a hard copy. We prefer digital copies.

Frequently asked questions

Am I eligible to enter?

If you live in the Clarence Valley, or you have lived here in the past, you can enter. Students need to attend a school in the Clarence Valley, or be of school age and have an address in the Clarence Valley.

What are the judges looking for?

We are looking for well crafted, powerful, original stories that move us. We look for authentic voices – with a touchstone of your own culture, your own experience, enlivened by your own imagination. Everyone has a story – leave it for Aboriginal people to tell their own stories.

Can I enter more than one story?

Yes. But make sure any story you send is the best it can be. Read it at least ten times, keep improving it, make every sentence work. Then send it.

Do I have to pay to enter?

No. Entry is free.

How will I find out if my story will be published?

We’ll contact you. The results will also be posted on this website, and on Facebook. We expect judging to be complete by August.

How should I format my entry?

Use a plain, 12 pt typeface such as Arial or Times New Roman. Use double spaces between the lines. If hand-written, it must be legible. Please number the pages, and include the title on each page.

Previous results

2019

Cathy Callaghan won the 2019 open section with her story One Last Dream. Set on an island in the Clarence River, Cathy’s story paints the final strokes of a beautiful picture of friendship between an odd four – Mira, Tom, a pelican and a big old cat.  Gaye Sprenglewski won second prize for Under the Sun, unravelling the mystery behind a teenager’s teacher-crush and the repercussions felt decades later. Third prize went to Gra Murdoch’s Bec, a story set in a future where sea level rise has drowned the floodplains of the Clarence Valley.  Bruce ‘Fed’ McPherson’s highly commended The Big Green Wave is Fed’s firsthand account of a tragic trawler accident on Yamba Bar in 1979 that changed his life forever.

The winner of the high school category was Kaia Mercy, Year 8, from Maclean High School. Her story To The Island tells of Kaia’s yearning and connection to Ulgundahi Island, an island in the Clarence River where her grandfather grew up. Shaan Singh from Grafton High School came second with To the Island, a story following the fate of a refugee family coming to Australia and Stella van Leest from McAuley Catholic College was third with her story, Aunty Island.

Tayla Willis from Grafton Public School took out the primary school category with My Island, a beautiful descriptive tale about travelling home from Susan Island, only to find she’d left something behind. Second place went Tayah Cole from St James Yamba for The Macca Mystery. Annabel Dungey from St Mary’s Grafton was third with To the Island, and Alice Gunn of Yamba Public was highly commended with To the Island

2018

The judges’ unanimous choice was It’s Not Me, It’s Her, by Kelly Harrison. Told from three different points of view, it builds a picture of the complicated relationships that can envelop mothers, daughters and sisters.  It’s a perfectly formed story that resolves itself into a strangely satisfying ending. Coming second was Bethany McAlpine‘s Broken Glass. The judges were all moved by this story’s emotional depth. Using second person, Bethany takes us closely into a grand-daughter’s careless relationship with her ageing grandmother. . Third on the shortlist was A Picture of Home, by Gaye Sprenglewski, a sensitively told story of a friendship between an ill woman and her carer.

Seremi Gorogo-Rawson, a year six student from Copmanhurst Public School, won the primary school category with her story, Until Now. This gently haunting story has a unique reflective voice which tells us volumes about the narrator’s inner life in just a few words, using lovely imagery. In second place was Lani Cole of St James Primary School Yamba, with She Runs Deep, a story which carried a powerful environmental message while being presented in an original, quite mystical way. Highly Commended prizes were awarded to Brooke Chapman from St Mary’s Primary School Grafton for Surprise, Declan McKone of St James Primary School Yamba for The Ocean and the Seas, Ruby Donnelly of Baryulgil Public School for The Old Aboriginal Woman and Sharlee Cook of St Joseph’s Primary School South Grafton for Resurrection.

The winning story of the secondary school’s category was The Long Way Home, written by Nadia Smith of Grafton High School. The judges described this story as emotionally intense, building up to an inevitable but devastating ending. Runner up in the secondary school’s category was Eden Annesley from Clarence Valley Anglican School, with the fabulously imaginative story, Hiraeth.