Arts & Culture26 Feb 2022

Can you spin Australia’s best yarn?

A new short story competition gives Australians the opportunity to share in one of the world‘s richest prize pools for a competition of this kind.

Gillian O’Shaughnessy (Perth Festival), Nicola Forrest (Minderoo Foundation) and Anthony De Ceglie (The West Australian).

The West Australian in partnership with Minderoo Foundation is on the hunt to find the most creative wordsmiths capable of spinning The Best Australian Yarn.

The unique short story competition is open to both amateur and professional writers, giving Australians the opportunity to share in one of the world’s richest prize pools for a competition of its kind.

A total of $50,000 will be awarded across 6 categories, providing a genuine financial incentive — and a much-needed new opportunity — for writers, a further injection into the arts and culture sector so badly affected by the pandemic.

The competition will not only showcase the vital importance of arts participation, it will stimulate a conversation in our community and remind us all of the value of storytelling.

The West Australian’s Editor in Chief, Anthony De Ceglie said, “We’re really proud to offer a new competition that puts writing at the forefront of the country’s culture in an accessible way.

“We want to unearth raw talent, help inspire ambitious young writers and offer a genuine prize pool that can also support professional authors.

“The past two years have proven how important art and writing is for the nation’s soul — this is a chance to celebrate and embrace that.

“On top of the prize money, The West Australian will also be ensuring many of the entries are published across our platforms for readers to engage with and writers to share — these works will have specially designed artwork by our team to help the creations come to life.”

Minderoo Foundation co-founder Nicola Forrest AO said: “Arts and culture are integral to our economy and community, and storytelling is the cornerstone of human connection.

“Great stories entertain us, they teach us life-lessons and they can help us be better parents, friends and colleagues.

“By ensuring this prize is open to both amateur and professional writers, we’re hoping to encourage Australians from all walks of life to engage in creativity, helping to deepen the community’s connection with the arts.

“Minderoo Foundation has been a passionate supporter of the arts and creative sectors for many years, and we believe this is a unique opportunity for the writers of Western Australia, and across the country.”

Perth Festival’s Writers Weekend and Writing WA, two of Western Australia’s leading arts and literature organisations, have provided invaluable guidance on the competition and will be closely involved in the judging process.

“Writing WA’s vision is that WA should be the state of opportunity for writers and writing in Australia. That the Best Australian Yarn competition has emerged in WA is further evidence of this vision being achieved.

“The substantial prize money being offered for the Best Australian Yarn clearly communicates that writing is both a valued and valuable part of our national culture and heritage. We also expect to see this competition uncover new literary talents and bring those talents to a wide Australian readership,” said Sharon Flindell, CEO of Writing WA.

Perth Festival Writers Weekend Program Associate Gillian O’Shaughnessy said, “We at Perth Festival are delighted to support this wonderful new prize and to see the short story celebrated in its rightful place alongside the most prestigious of Australian writing awards.

“The short story represents everything that is exciting about modern fiction, offering windows into both vast worlds and ordinary moments; it allows for risk and demands an economy of expression. It is a genre for our times and it is tremendously exciting this award is born in the West, the home of such rich stories and storytellers.”

The Best Australian Yarn is open to all Australians aged 12 and over, potentially unearthing exciting new talent and amplifying voices from far flung corners of both city and country.

Entries must be between 1,500 – 2,500 words and can cover any genre.

The prize categories include:

  • Overall Winner – $30,000
  • WA Winner – $4,000
  • Regional Australia Winner – $3,000
  • Youth Winner – $2,000 + a mentoring opportunity
  • Reader’s Choice – $2,000
  • Plus the 9 shortlisted overall winner finalists – $1,000 each

The competition launched on February 26 at the Perth Festival Writers Weekend at Fremantle Arts Centre and is accepting submissions until May 31 2022.

Minderoo Foundation
by Minderoo Foundation

Established by Andrew and Nicola Forrest in 2001, we are a modern philanthropic organisation seeking to break down barriers, innovate and drive positive, lasting change. Minderoo Foundation is proudly Australian, with key initiatives spanning from ocean research and ending slavery, to collaboration in cancer and community projects.

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