The University of Newcastle, Australia

UON creative writing student wins prestigious prize

Monday, 10 April 2017

University of Newcastle undergraduate student Alison Kelly competed in a field of over 700 national entries to take out the Hunter Writers Centre 2017 Newcastle Short Story Prize.

Alison Kelly, winner of the 2017 Newcastle Short Story Prize
L to R: Maria Takolander, judge; Alison Kelly, winner; Professor John Germov.

Alison’s story, "The Blink Response," was written as part of her ENG1201: Creative Reading and Writing Class – the first creative writing class she’d undertaken.

Dr Michael Sala, Lecturer in Creative Writing, identified his student’s talent early on: "Alison's award winning story was submitted to me as an assignment in a first year creative writing course. When I read it, I was stunned by the voice and the texture of the writing. It was assured, it was brilliant,” he said.

With the first prize proudly sponsored by UON, this is one of the richest short story competitions in Australia, with a prize pool of over $6000.

Awarded at the Newcastle Writers Festival on opening night, Alison was presented with her $3000 winning prize by Professor John Germov, UON’s Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education).

Blind-judged by prominent short-story authors Peter Goldsworthy and Maria Takolander, the 33 finalists proved a strong field with a mix of quirky, eclectic and sombre short stories.

“Alison is an incredibly gifted writer with a bright future. I advised her to enter this piece into a short story award because I felt it would do very well, and I'm thrilled to see that the judges felt the same," said Dr Sala of the win.

The anthology, featuring all thirty three finalists, is now on-sale from the Hunter Writers Centre.

** Photograph by Morgan Hardy-Bell **