New Zealand’s best short story was announced tonight at the Sunday Star-Times Short Story Awards ceremony held at the Auckland City Gallery Art Lounge at a lavish literary affair under the control of MC Finlay Macdonald.
Supreme Award for the open division went to Waimate writer Sue Francis for “The Concentrators”, who struck gold with her third entry into the competition.
Head judge of the Awards’ open division Elizabeth Smither says “The Concentrators” has all the right ingredients for a winning short story – engaging characters, similies and subversive humour.
“The Concentrators” is a small town New Zealand story about an unlikely friendship between two young women who meet every Friday night over a game of tennis.
“Sue Francis’ story is fun, interesting and yet it still has something to say,” says Smither.
Francis has won $5000 in cash, publication of her story in the Sunday Star-Times as well as $500 worth of books from Random House.
This year the Sunday Star-Times Short Story Awards invited the public to vote for their favourite short story. Palmerston North’s Thom Conroy was the People’s Choice award winner with several hundred people placing their votes online. Conroy was also runner-up in the open division.
Conroy’s story “The Open Well” is a story about a woman’s journey to recovery after a traumatic incident.
Conroy’s story “The Open Well” has won the published author $750 cash, publication of his story in the Sunday Star-Times and $250 worth of books from Random House.
Third prize in the open division went to Emma Gallagher from Wellington.
Open division head judge Elizabeth Smither said the selection process was difficult due to the high calibre of entries. “All of the stories on the shortlist are there simply because of the quality, and are all, in their own way, entertaining.”
Smither was joined by Fleur Beale, head judge of the secondary school division, plus eight judges who are all professional writers or book editors.
Now in their 25th year the Sunday Star-Times Short Story Awards, in association with Random House, encourage and recognise the talents of published and unpublished New Zealand writers
The awards are nationally recognised for championing and showcasing New Zealand short fiction.
First prize in the Secondary School division went to Rangitoto College’s Anna Krepinsky for her story “Gardening Lessons”. Krepinsky went home with $1000 cash, $500 worth of books from Random House for her school and publication of her story in the Sunday Star-Times.
The winning stories will be published in the Sunday Star-Times on Sunday 1 November. The Sunday Star Times photographers and reporters were busy moving amongst the large and happy crowd so look out for pics in the paper this coming Sunday.