Stories From the Clarence Valley 2022 – Let Go
The 2022 theme this year was ‘let go,’ prompting writers of all ages to come up with a fabulous bunch of stories – poignant, hopeful, quirky. In the end, the stories that stood out were the ones that made us pause while they gestured quietly to something deep and indefinable.
Maggie McDade won the open section for her story Neighbour. Maggie says the past few years she’s walked her neighbourhood a lot with her two girls, and has become quietly fascinated with the comings and goings of people exercising, familiar faces, action, extraordinary and ordinary events. The idea for Neighbour came from this place. Using beautifully crafted images of domestic life, Maggie brings us quietly to a powerful moment.
Grafton High School’s Nadia Smith won the high school section with Facing the Forest, a transcendent story with ancient books, a son’s deep love, a moment at the end of a life.
Aidan Menzies, also from Grafton High, was highly commended for Paddlin’ the Zambezi. This story seems simple at first but leaves you with your heart in your mouth every time.
Jacquiline Diaz, who is home schooled, was also highly commended for Let Go, a story that impressed the judges for its insight and honesty.
The winner of the primary school section was Evie Rae from Gulmarrad Public School. Evie’s The Tale of a Dandelion is beautiful, whimsical and embodies our theme of letting go. Reading it, you’ll imagine yourself as a seed floating through the landscape. Highly commended for his story First Day of School was Oscar Woods from Grafton Public. Oscar conveys all the terror and confusion of the first day of school. Alyssa Dixon from Tucabia Public was highly commended for The Spider, another magical, delightful piece from a very young writer. Locklen Baker from Harwood Public has written a story that made the judges laugh our heads off. It’s called Bob and the Megalodon Tooth, and we had to highly commend it.
Congratulations to everyone who transported us to other places, spaces and realms. Credit to all who entered their joyful and heartfelt stories.’
Stories From the Clarence Valley 2021 – Look Up
We picked ‘Look Up’ as a theme because it felt uplifting – and that seemed necessary after our collective experience of fires, floods and the ever-present pandemic. These stories have answered the call with heart. So what did these writers of 2021 see when they looked up? Millions of speckling stars, winking as if sharing a joke. The moon hugging you tight. Sunset, morning skies. Spaceships. Ancient fig trees. High windows. They looked up from their devices, from their books, to each other. They looked up with relief, with hope, love, dread, beauty and reverence. They looked up from ecological disaster, war, bushfire, flood and COVID-19, pausing to seek equanimity. They looked up as a sailor looks up, keeping their sights on the stars. A new baby looked up at a father. Wet and dripping, they looked up at the sky and laughed. Looking up, they discovered a new-found optimism, a second chance after hard times.
Stories by adults: Kathryn Goldie, Mark Shea, Bob Carnaby, Paul Gill, Ilana Kaplin, Bob Carnaby, Loueen Winters, Michelle Green, Norm Mjadwesch and Aaron Dewhurst.
Stories by high school students: Kiera Banfield, Grafton High School; Caleb Harrison, Clarence Valley Anglican School; Eli Butcher, Clarence Valley Anglican School; Harmin Singh, Grafton High School; Kate-Lyn O’Sullivan, Clarence Valley Anglican School; Annabel Dungey, Grafton High School; Alyssa Graham, South Grafton High School; Cody Lamberth, Clarence Valley Anglican School; Neve Rhodes, Grafton High School; Eve Lucock, Home school; Brooke Chapman, McAuley Catholic College; Nadia Smith, Grafton High School; Jacqueline Samms, McAuley Catholic College; Hayden Luxton, Grafton High School; Dean Chapman, McAuley Catholic College; Zoe Rayward, South Grafton High School; Daisy Ada, Grafton High School; Flynn Lovrekovic, South Grafton High School; Harmony Rose Swain-Davies, McAuley Catholic College; Jessie Pattison, Clarence Valley Anglican School.
Stories by primary school students: Lucy Smith, Gulmarrad Public School; Grace Jeffrey, Yamba Public School; Theo Symons, Grafton Public School; Cedriarna Daley, Baryulgil Public School; Solina Bendle, St Mary’s School; Stella Skeels, St Mary’s School; Tay Nagle, Grafton Public School; Callum Cameron, St Mary’s School; Elhi Laurie, Baryulgil Public School; Harlyn Walker and Jaali Walker, Baryulgil Public School; Eligh Reid, Copmanhurst Public School; Maggie Warbuton, Grafton Public School; Zoe Sonter, Gulmarrad Public School; Pippi Short, St James Primary School; Jamieson Allen, St Mary’s School; Parker Bancroft, St Mary’s School; Charlotte Cheng, St Mary’s School; Logan Farmer, Copmanhurst Public School; Kalani Moran, Tucabia Public School; Tessa Woodward, Gulmarrad Public School; Ahlia Hartley, Nymboida Public School; Xavier Chapman, Nymboida Public School; Olivia Peppernell, St Mary’s School; Joe Wrigley, Gulmarrad Public School; Sabrina Golding, St Mary’s School; Isla McIndoe, Tucabia Public School; Zoe Commerford, Westlawn Public School; Dexta Jones, St James Primary School; Joseph Lloyd, Grafton Public School; Tully Waghorn, St James Primary School; and Evie Rae, Gulmarrad Public School.
This year has etched its marks. There’s been plenty to write about. Bushfires, flood, pandemic, ecological decline. In the face of these things, writing can be the only way to respond, whether in grief, hope, humour or the great escape of fantasy. This heartfelt collection of stories traces our connections with each other across our beloved Clarence Valley landscapes.
Stories from Tommy Welham, Corrie Hayes, Kylie Fennell, Norm Mjadwesch, Caitlin Annesley, Cathy Callaghan, John Coleman, Jo Parry, Gaye Sprenglewski, Libby & Liza Robinson, Levi McInerney, Oliver Bolch, Miwanyo Afi Jongen Tsey, Ahlia Hartley, Ellie Grace White, Miller Greenaway, Taya Murphy, Lani Cole, Millie Day, Beau Edwards, Grace Finnegan, Finn Brossman, Elly Day, Lucinda Ryder, Alanah Pitt, Jack Cheney, Ivy Hiatt, Kane Patricks, Annalese McKee, Lachlan Passmore, Elsie Stewart, Poppy Ross, Taylor Joyce, Clementine Eaton, Tayah Cole, Damien Preston, Nina Bibby, Ryder Gorring, Alizandra McPherson, Savannah Cheney, Harmony Rose Swain-Davies, Jasmine Chellew, Corey Newbold, Jacqueline Samms, Jordyn Keefe, Eva New, Elisha Gavin, Melissa Meier, Lotte Pereira, and Laura Hoade.
Islands: enigmatic, beloved, dangerous or sacred. The Clarence River with its countless islands has always been a place for story-telling. This sparkling collection of stories has something for every reader as Clarence Valley writers of all ages unfurl their tales of escape, homecoming and deep water.
Stories from Bruce ‘Fed’ McPherson, Kylie Fennell, Stephanie Haines, Cathy Callaghan, Norman Mjadwesch, the Yaegl People (told by Uncle Ron Heron), Gaye Sprenglewski, Sarah McKenzie, Karla Hubbard, Gra Murdoch, Robin Hosking, E L Short, Brad Chapman, Kaia Mercy, Shaan Singh, Stella Van Leest, Nadia Smith, Kaylee Adamson, Eden Annesley, Laura Hoade, Jayden Laurie, Sharlee Cook, McKenna Wearing, Tayla Kane, Tayla Willis, Tayah Cole, Annabel Dungey, Alice Gunn, Aaliyah Mifsud, Alanah Pitt, Amber Powell, Brooke Chapman, Emily, Gus Lobsey, Hazel Golding, Ivy Hiatt, Jasper Whalley, Lani Cole, Leni Rush, Matthew Quiring, Pippi Short, Riley Newton, Tahlia Duckworth, Terrence Walker, William McSwan and William Tait.
Available at Clarence Regional Library. Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a copy.
The Long Way Home 2018 – Stories from the Clarence Valley
An anthology of the finest stories from the inaugural Long Way Home Short Story Competition 2018. All of the storytellers, young and old, call the Clarence Valley home. Together, their tales reflect life on a land where stories have flowed down the Clarence River for thousands of years.
Stories from Kelly Harrison, Margaret Staff, Penni Sharrock, Uncle Ron Heron, Gaye Sprenglewski, Sarah McKenzie, Stephanie Haines, Cathy Callaghan, Samantha Lovejoy, Bethany McAlpine, Nadia Smith, Eden Annesley, Seremi Gorogo-Rawson, Lani Cole, Brooke Chapman, Declan McCone, Ruby Donnelly, Sharlee Cook, Tayah Cole, Hazel Golding, Jorja Tasker, Imogen Lee, Charlie Imeson, Noah Smith, Daniel Gardner, Ashton Pullen, Sharlee Cook and Liam Perich.
Out of print, but available at Clarence Regional Library.