Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Sunday Star-Times Short Story Award Winners Announced - cause for celebration

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.
The Sunday Star-Times received a record number of short story entries this year with more than 1400 New Zealand writers submitting pieces into the open division, and nearly 300 in the secondary school division.
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.
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.
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.
Some of this country's leading writers, including Norman Bilbrough, Judith White, Barbara Anderson, Linda Olsson and Sarah Quigley, have achieved success in the competition.

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.
This was indeed a grand evening and The Bookman went home with a sense that all is well in the NZ world of short fiction.
One especially nice touch was having popular tv/radio personality Jim Mora read aloud from each of the four winning stories.
Warmest thanks are due to the Sunday Star Times and Random House NZ for their generous sponsorship and support of this major award. And of course our heartiest congratulations to the Award winners.


James Power said...

Sounds like a great night out.
I want to say to you Bookman Beattie that you are a shining star in the world of books in NZ. You are a huge and positive force for authors and publishers and booksellers and for ordinary library-using readers like me.
I hope your work is appreciated widely. Certainly this rural reader is most appreciative.Thank you.

TK Roxborogh said...

Here, hear? hair? (Just been doing phonetics with my seniors - sorry)

I tell my students you (Graham Beattie) and your blog is the OPRAH of the NZ Publishing scene.

No getting up in arms people - I love Oprah and feel she has the power to show the world things they would not normally see.

Every one of my writing group consistently check Bookman's blog. A lot is over their heads (bless them) but they hang in there and every week we have a wonderful time discussing, not only our on efforts, but the screeds and screeds of links and opinions from around the world associated with writing.

Give this man a Knighthood!

Oooh, my word verification is: girre heheheh as in GRRRRR

Beattie's Book Blog said...

James Power & TK Roxborogh - thank you so much, you make me blush, but I am greatly chuffed to know how useful you find my blog.
Thank you, thank you.You make the long hours and effort (but great fun too)all worthwhile.

Andre Ngapo said...

Yes a great night out indeed!

As last year's winner, and as a prejudge this year, I have to say I am extremely impressed with The Sunday Star Times/Fairfax Media crew, and also with Random House, regarding their championing of short fiction in Aotearoa NZ. And I cannot overstate how grateful I am for the fine running of the awards ceremony.

I can attest to the fact that shortlisted contestants and prejudges are thoroughly cared for throughout the entire process, from selection in the top three and prejudging panel selection, to the ceremonies, the valet parking and comfortable beds at the accomodation, and the tour of Random House.
Thanks Juliana, Cherie, Josh, Donna, Harriet, Jennifer, and all the crews from the SST and Random House Publishers for your manaakitanga/hospitality and generosity over the last two years.

This competition is such a motivation to writers, to meet that deadline and let the creative spirit soar.

It was heartening news for the future of NZ short fiction to hear a major managerial representative of Fairfax Media pledge the organisation's ongoing support to the future of the competition.

Here's to another 25 years!

Andre Ngapo said...

Oh yes - and BIG UPS to the Bookman...I could almost be addicted to your blog!!!