Some of our services have different times over the holidays, including household bin collections previously scheduled for Christmas and New Year's Day. See all affected services.

2018 Boroondara Literary Awards winners

Congratulations to the winners of the 2018 awards. You can read the winners’ entries in the Boroondara Literary Awards Anthology, available from our libraries.

Open Short Story

Place

Name

Title

From

First

Imbi Neeme

Naamah’s Ark 

VIC

Second

Katherine O’Hanlon

Renaissance

VIC

Third

Natalie Evans

Lacrimosa

VIC

Highly Commended

Wendy Riley

Paka

VIC

Highly Commended

Anne Jenner

Hobbit Land

SA

Highly Commended

Alyssa Sbisa

The Shell

VIC

Highly Commended Dorothea Pfaff A Valley Beyond WA

Keith Carroll Award for best Boroondara entrant

Name

Title

From

Katherine O’Hanlon

Renaissance

Kew

Young Writers Competition winners

Junior Prose

Place

Name

Title

From

First

Lotus Das-Hyland

The Day the Unwanted Visitor Arrived

Ruyton Girls’ School

Second

Honey Garcia

The Water Watcher

Erasmus Primary School

Third

Juliette Meade

Tomorrow

St. Joseph’s Hawthorn

Highly Commended

Morgan Scarff

The Last Star

Genazzano FCJ College

Highly Commended

Adam Bleby

Trolley

Kew East Primary School

Highly Commended

Banjo Moses

Two Paths

Preshil

Highly Commended Felix Ivan Life in the Wild Ashburton Primary School
Highly Commended Lola Tsekrekos Asteroid Boroondara Park Primary School

Middle Prose

Place

Name

Title

From

First

Lottie Dalton

Milky Ways  

Ruyton Girls' School

Second

Hazel Pound

Wendy and the Wolf

Camberwell

Third

Minduli Weeraman

A Wrinkle in Destiny

Ruyton Girls’ School

Highly Commended

Angelina Liu

Small World

Balwyn High School

Highly Commended

Chuk Hang Timothy Kan

Escape to Freedom

Camberwell

Highly Commended

Charlie Parry-Jones

Why?

Genazzano FCJ College

Highly Commended Emma Haberfield Pig Tales Ruyton Girls’ School

Senior Prose

Place

Name

Title

From

First

Lucienne Bourke

Goosey

Ashburton

Second

Sam Pringle

They Say I Can Live Forever

Kew High School

Third

Harry Gill

Him/Her

Balwyn High School

Highly Commended

Shailee Carmeli

Respectful Communication

Bialik College

Highly Commended

Lara White

Pulled, Cut and Squeezed

Glen Iris

Highly Commended

Callum Robertson

How Nikolay Ukhov Quarrelled with Pyotr Morozov

Trinity Grammar School

Highly Commended Angela Lin All in a Day’s Work Ruyton Girls’ School
Highly Commended Vincent Wang Pantagruel Jam Carey Baptist Grammar School

Junior Poetry

Place

Name

Title

From

First

Itzy Kelly

Evolution

Boroondara Park Primary School

Second

Alexa Tricarico

The Mystical Box

St Dominic’s Primary School

Third

Linda Chen

Beautiful Mask

Boroondara Park Primary School

Highly Commended

Ella Haddy

I Tried

Ruyton Girls School

Highly Commended Heidi Slifirski-Krista Anzac Biscuits Hawthorn West Primary School
Highly Commended Sofia Sanfilippo Calling My Name Camberwell Girls Grammar School

Middle Poetry

Place

Name

Title

From

First

Odi Paatsch

Pocket Mirror

Balwyn High School

Second

Tia Poore

I Know

Methodist Ladies College

Third

Sebastian Parry

Morality?

Balwyn High School

Highly Commended

Sofia Morton

The Sea’s Bed

Methodist Ladies College

Highly Commended Isabella Gao Break Through Methodist Ladies College
Highly Commended Chantelle Lloyd-Shrimpton Fog Canterbury Girls’ Secondary College

Senior Poetry

Place

Name

Title

From

First

Clem McNabb

Aquarium

Methodist Ladies College

Second

Chloe Hannan   

She knows

Genazzano FCJ College

Third

Paul Huynh

Afloat

Xavier College

Highly Commended

Kirsten Tsan

Words Unspoken

Camberwell

Judges' reports

Open Short Story - Ilsa Evans

It was an honour to be asked to judge the open short story section of the Boroondara Literary Awards, and heartening – if a little overwhelming! – to see how popular these awards are. From 766 entries I chose a long list of ninety which was then whittled down to twenty-three and, finally, a shortlist of twelve. The task was a lengthy one but I appreciate that each of those 766 entries represented somebody’s story, imagination, and commitment. My job was to do each justice.

In the end, the hardest endeavour was not working my way through the impressive amount of entries but picking the actual winners. I would have liked to have given three times as many highly commended awards, and twice as many winners. Instead I called on the teacher in me and constructed a marking guide of sorts, which gave me a lens to examine language, description, creativity, story and structure. But it was still a challenging task, and this itself is a reflection on all those who submitted a story this year. You made my job extremely difficult, and that is how it should be.

So thank-you to everybody who took the time to both write and submit. The diversity of the entries was incredible. Rich with life, and death, with settings as varied as the stories they held. There were personalities that sang, memories that whispered, and mysteries that had me scratching my head. Many of the stories were multi-layered while others were deceptively simple, and still others contained a heartbeat that stayed with me for days. Humorous, fantastical, bemusing, confronting, nostalgic. Past, present and future. Thank-you again for opening this small window into your lives, creativity and imagination. It was a real privilege.

1st Place: Naamah's Ark

A deceptively simple and beautifully controlled short story where every word pays its due. Naamah’s Ark was a little like peeling an onion, where at first glance we seem to be merely skimming along the surface of an unexamined life before realising that there are more layers just biding their time beneath. These emerge slowly, almost teasingly, alongside a slither of humour that invites empathy.

‘She had a name of her own,’ Janice tells her husband as they discuss Noah’s ark and the murky existence of his wife. ‘Yeah, but the story in the Bible’s not really about her, is it?’ he replies flippantly. But although Naamah may have been denied a starring role in her own story, Janice is about to start reclaiming her own. A worthy winner.

2nd Place and Keith Carroll Award Winner: Renaissance

A pared back, well-crafted story that doesn’t rely on emotion to paint the picture. We meander through the morning alongside the unnamed protagonist before abruptly parting company at the climax. ‘A squelching sound comes from the bowl as the pressure of my hand presses out the air pockets between the pasta and the contours of his face. Pieces of hair are now commingled with the tagliatelle. It curls around asparagus like seaweed on flotsam.’

This is a tale of power and control, but the victim is better described as a survivor. Indeed there are occasional glimpses of steel, and lateral violence, that give rise to the notion that if there was to be sequel, it might well feature her holding her own in prison.

3rd Place: Lacrimosa

The word ‘Lacrimosa’ can mean many things: weeping, disambiguation, a requiem; each of which is fitting for this dystopian tale of unremitting retribution. The bleakness of the landscape is conjured up by the equally unrelenting use of metaphor, where we have ‘orange sands stretched before him – plains of ochre with the texture of crumbly spice. Sometimes one of the hot breezes would breathe onto the Earth and a few grains would fly into the air – dragon’s phlegm.’ Sympathy is not invited for the doomed prisoner though, not when he has little sympathy for himself, but we appreciate his honesty and are both appalled and fascinated by his fate.

Young Writers’ Prose - Lili Wilkinson

The journey from childhood to adulthood is one of the most confusing, profound and complex transitions that a human can make. It’s a time of great change, great emotion, great intensity. It’s also the time when many people begin to grapple with some of life’s biggest questions. Who am I? Am I normal? What does it mean to be a good person? How should I best use my time on this planet?

The entries I read this year proved to me that young people are doing a lot of thinking. They think about the environment, and how to make our planet healthy. They think about poverty and homelessness. They think about migration, displacement and refugees. They think about postnatal depression and domestic violence. They think about body image, gender identity, sexuality, disability and chronic illness. They think about where the materials to make our smartphones come from, and about the thoughts that might pass through an animal’s mind.

They think about loneliness, and the pain that can come with growing up, the pain that adults tend to trivialise in the same way we trivialise other things that we survived.

Most importantly, young people think about empathy. About listening, and being heard. About the importance of getting help when you need it. The importance of kindness and equality. And about hope.

Storytelling helps us to understand ourselves and others. Storytelling is brave, because it exposes our most vulnerable parts. Storytelling is hard, gruelling, exhilarating work. Congratulations to the storytellers featured in this years anthology – your work is exceptional, brave and beautiful. By sharing your stories with us, you make us better people.

Young Writers’ Junior Prose

1st Place: The Day the Unwanted Visitor Arrived

Growing up can be scary. Your brain is changing, your body is changing, and the world around you is changing. Reading about other young people going through the same kinds of experiences can be like a wayfinding beacon. But there’s one particular part of growing up that doesn’t get talked about much in stories, and that thing is periods. This story is important and brave, and will help young people of all genders understand themselves and each other.

2nd Place: The Water Watcher

The Water Watcher is one of many entries with a powerful environmental message. This one stands out because of its highly imaginative blend of fantasy and ecology, all focusing on the precious resource of water. We should all be Water Watchers.

3rd Place: Tomorrow

Imagine having a gift that allowed you to see the future. Little glimpses of how your actions will change the world. Would it change you? Would you behave differently? Or would you descend into madness and despair? This is a gripping, mind-twisting story about what happens when the future is closer than you think.

Young Writers’ Middle Prose

1st Place: Milky Ways

A massive, terrifying Siren with salt-caked skin and fishhook teeth, who leaves black holes and storms of stars swirling in her wake. This lyrical and highly imaginative story paints a vivid picture of a truly fantastic encounter.

2nd Place: Wendy and the Wolf

The problem with fairy tales, is that so often the girls at their centre have no agency. They don’t get to make their own decisions, they just get pushed around by evil stepmothers, fairy godmothers and handsome princes. In this retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, Wendy takes matters into her own hands, in the most deliciously satisfying way.

3rd Place: A Wrinkle in Destiny

Another powerful story about a girl taking charge of her own destiny. This one takes a well-worn YA trope – the teen with cancer – and breathes new energy into it. A beautifully written piece that is angry and active, full of agency and hope and life.

Young Writers’ Senior Prose

1st Place: Goosey

This is the story of a friendship between a young boy and his pet goose, and it is also much more than that. Exquisite world building paints in simple but powerful strokes the boy’s journey to adulthood, the bitter complexity of his family, the cold bite of poverty. The companionship, trust and love that is built between the boy and his goose is profound. Nothing can come between them… can it?

2nd Place: They Say I Can Live Forever

A complex and surreal piece told from the point of view of a lobster being experimented on by scientists. The despair of the lobster is compounded by detailed and visceral descriptions of the experiments, reminding the reader that despite the need for scientific advancement, we must never forget the importance of empathy.

3rd Place: Him/Her

What is normal? Am I normal? Can I be normal? These questions are at the heart of adolescence. This brave and raw piece explores the idea of gender identity, about not fitting into the narrow boxes that society expects us to inhabit. It’s a story that journeys through confusion and pain before finding hope.

Young Writers’ Poetry – Cameron Semmens

Wow. So good to see the poetic talent emerging from the youth in Boroondara. So many of these writers are so much better than I was at their age. Who know where you’ll end up when they’re my age – exciting! It really was a pleasure reading all these poems – especially the winning and highly commended ones. Good poems feed the soul – and these poems definitely fed my soul. Do yourself a favour and read these poems for yourself!

Yours poetically,

Cameron Semmens

Poet. Poetry Educator. Designer. Artist.

1st Place: Evolution

This is a top quality example of what poets call a ‘conceit’ – an extended metaphor. It is beautifully played out, inventive, emotional, creative and consistent to the metaphor. A joy to experience. I’d be proud to have written it.

2nd Place: The Mystical Box

I noticed in the entries there were a number of ‘mystical box’ poems. It’s a good structure to work in. I thought this was the best – with creative images that were clear and fresh. This poem really made me feel things and let me dream.

3rd Place: Beautiful Mask

I found this poem to be a really fascinating and mature poem. I love how the poem slowly unfolds. I didn’t know where it was leading – it was surprising and satisfying. I like how it said just enough – putting evocative images out there like burning embers.

Young Writers’ Middle Poetry

1st Place: Pocket Mirror

I re-read this a number of times because I found it just so intriguing. I love how it speaks from such a quirky perspective, and I love how the personification and imagery opens it up to so many interesting thoughts and implications around identity, mothering, lovering and narcissism. It is fresh, inventive and insightful – which is the definition of a great poem.

2nd Place: I Know

For me this is a beautifully painted experience of beach-life. I could so clearly imagine in my mind’s eye the waves, the sand and the crunchy toasted bread. Yes, ‘I know’ it’s a great poem… and now you do too.

3rd Place: Morality?

I thought this poem top quality in 2 regards: 1st – its rhyme and meter are executed really professionally – it’s consistent, with little contrivance; 2nd – it’s philosophical message that we are neither just good or bad, black or white, we’re all a bit of both. I thought this key message was thoughtfully and creatively argued.

Young Writers’ Senior Poetry

1st Place: Aquarium

This poem stayed with me. And for me, this is one of the key signs of a really good poem.

It exhibits a beautiful use of appropriate, and yet fresh metaphors. Also, the poem has a powerful sense of journey – across the teen years. It captures the strange-ness and estrangement that so many of us feel during those years. What a great poem.

2nd Place: She knows

I found this such a moving, powerful narrative poem. Beautiful in its minimalism and the way it suggests rather than spells out. It was a unique story to tell, and told from a unique perspective. Emotional!

3rd Place:  Afloat

A powerful political piece. I loved the way each word felt so considered in the flow of the poem and its place on the page. It really gives a kick in the guts – but it does it so artfully and meaningfully – I appreciated that kick.

How useful was this information?