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Saturday, June 18, 2011


The eleven finalists have been announced for the Peter Cowan 600 Short Story Competition and it’s the experienced writers who have excelled according to the President of the centre, John McMullan.
‘This year we promoted the competition to universities that have Creative Writing Departments because in 2010 two West Australian university students made the final eleven. In the first semester there are many stories of 500 to 600 word length written by students in the creative writing departments and I thought we might see them do well,’ Mr McMullan said today. ‘Next year the judge will come from an east coast university and it will not only make this competition truly Australia wide, but it ought to stimulate further interest among the creative writing section of universities.’
The final placing will be announced at the Monthly Meeting of the Peter Cowan Writers’ Centre on July 3rd. The contenders are:

Sarah Evans with ‘The Fishing Trip’ is a former journalist who now writes fiction across various genres. She is published in Australia, UK, US and New Zealand with novels, novellas, short stories and poetry. She writes for the women's magazine market and has had stories broadcast on ABC Radio. She has won many writing awards and currently has a crime novel under consideration with an Australian publisher. Her lifestyle/recipe book 'Seasons and Seasonings in a Teapot' is an amusing account of her home-schooling family's attempt at self-sufficiency in the Southwest. Sarah gives talks and teaches creative writing. She edits for a children's publisher and is the organiser of Bridgetown's writers' festival 'Words in the Valley'.

Samantha Sirimanne Hyde
from Denistone, NSW with ‘The Gecko’s Fault,’ which was prompted by the intrinsic concept of karma. Samantha was born in Sri Lanka and migrated to Australia in 1990. She holds a MA in Creative Writing from Macquarie University, Sydney, has published a collection of short fiction called ‘The Villawood Express & other stories’ and her work has appeared in several anthologies. After working as a public servant and then operating a motel till recently, she is now enjoying a well-earned break.

Julie Jay is a Melbourne-based writer, editor and small-press publisher. She’s won the Local Writers section of the Alan Marshall Short Story Competition and her short fiction has appeared in Wet Ink, 21D and Award Winning Australian Writing 2009. She lives in an old house on a big hill with her husband and five children, and her story, ‘Nigel’s Soul’, is about every anxious first date she’s ever had.

‘Santiago Evening’ was written by Sean Adams who was born in Melbourne in 1960. He has published several poems and short stories in anthologies auspiced by the Prahran Mission, in an anthology published by Wombat Books (Qld) entitled "Unborn Beauty" and in Polestar Literary Journal (Also in Qld). He has studied Spanish and is planning a novel. He has recently discovered the joys of Scandinavian crime literature.

Karen Atkinson from Denmark, WA, entered 'The Nest'. Karen is currently working on a book about Anangu Teachers from the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Lands, and her first novel. She enjoys writing prose and poetry and has a story Myfanwy, published in Cat Tales with Spinifex Press. Once In Broome, published by Magabala Books was a collaboration between Karen and Broome artist, Sally bin Demin.

Janeen Samuel lives in South-West Victoria, dabbles in fiction and poetry, and occasionally manages to have her work published: most recently in 2010 a story in "Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine" #44 and a poem in the anthology, "Off the Path" published by Central Coast Poets Inc (NSW). Her stories often have an element of fantasy or science fiction, maybe because she's too lazy to do the research required for realistic fiction. Her entry ‘Dreamwater’ did indeed come out of a dream, though the ending for her (so far) is different.

‘Shalom’ is by Dave Bowen who is originally from Southampton, UK originally, and is now retired from the publishing business he started in Mandurah WA in 1996, the year he also took on the job of co-ordinator of Coastal Writers, a group still helping local people become published authors. *db publishing* produced over 100 titles for local writers and Dave has published 8 poetry, short story and crossword books of his own. Since the age of 15 he has won many awards and been part of several anthologies here and overseas. His favourite success was writing the winning poem for the inauguration of the Mandurah Performing Arts Theatre and having it performed at the opening ceremony by theatre historian, Ivan King.

Mark Edginton is a Senior Technician in Vegetation Mapping and Survey at the Queensland Herbarium, Brisbane. He produces vegetation maps, identify plants and curates a number of plant families and genera in the Herbarium collection. He’s made a couple of starts at writing novels in my early twenties, but at the time didn't have the life experience, focus or inspiration to complete the job. He finally became serious a few years back when he wrote Stone Fish, Texas, a humour/drama novel about an ex-Union Civil War veteran who becomes a sheriff in the fictitious town of Stone Fish, Texas. After reading online that publishers won't look at manuscripts from new authors unless they are brought to their attention by author agents, He soon discovered that most agents are so busy with their current clients that they don't have time to look at anything by new authors, unless they already have an impressive c.v. As a member of the Queensland Writers Centre, he discovered that one way to resolve this Catch 22 situation was to enter writing competitions, which he has only just started to do in earnest.

Yvonne Annette Elliot has two entries in the final eleven, ‘Barbara and the Shoplifters’ and ‘LUV’. Bio: I have written poetry for my own pleasure ever since I can remember. I always thought that I could not write fiction as I didn’t have a good enough imagination. I often wrote articles, and when the children were young, I wrote a lot of “Letters to the Editor” of Women’s Magazines, as the few dollars they paid made me feel good. Because I had left school at age 15, I always regretted not going to university. At age 47, I thought “why not”? I sat for the Entrance Exam, in English and in French, and graduated when I was 57 years old. It took me that long because I was working as well, my father was very ill, my marriage was ending, and I had a lot of other dramas in my life. As part of my degree I took Creative Writing, and had the most amazing Lecturer. One thing he taught me was how to write fiction. It was like releasing a demon inside me, now I write the most outrageous things. I can live a fantasy life in my stories. A pacifist in real life, I commit crimes, and get away with it, via a character I have created. I always said that when I retired I would write non-stop. I belong to the Great Lakes Fellowship of Australian Writers, and also a Creative Writing Group with U3A. I still write letters to the editor of magazines, and getting $50 for a couple of minutes work is very rewarding. I enjoy entering competitions, and it really stretches me, and I love it when I get feedback, so even when I don’t get a place, I learn something new.

Maggie Veness hails from Coffs Harbour, on the sunny north coast of NSW, and loves her fiction short and bitey, like a good espresso. Give her an idiosyncrasy or peccadillo and she’ll write you a story that reveals her quirky, raw, or irreverent sensibility. The inspiration for ‘Cold Meat’ came from secretly wanting to kill off some of her ex-husbands. Maggie’s award winning work has been published in the US, UK, Canada, Australia and NZ.

The judge, Shane McCauley, had his first short story published in Westerly when he was 20, and won the Tom Collins Short Story Prize a year later (1976). He has taught, among other subjects, Creative Writing for 35 years and was a TEE Literature examiner. For several years he reviewed books for 'The West Australian' newspaper. A graduate of the Universities of WA and Sydney (BA Hons, MA Hons), he currently teaches Creative Writing for Polytechnic West and the OOTA Writers' Group at the Fremantle Arts Centre.

Kind Regards

John McMullan
Peter Cowan Writers Centre

Office hours Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10am-3pm
Phone/Fax: 9301 2282

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