The Good Oil Young Writers’ Award, an initiative of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan in 2017 to celebrate the 160th anniversary of their foundation, seeks to encourage and support the development of young writers interested in exploring ideas, issues and stories about people and happenings from a contemporary Christian perspective.
Entries for The Good Oil 2017 Young Writers’ Award were received from all states and territories in Australia – except Tasmania and the Northern Territory – and internationally, from the Philippines.
Entrants were invited to submit a piece of writing, between 750 and 1,000 words, adopting one of the following writing styles:
- journalistic feature writing (e.g. profiles of people or issues-based articles based on interviews);
- opinion writing;
- creative writing or first person reflective writing.
In their chosen writing style, entrants were asked to explore the theme “Who is my neighbour?”
Ashleigh Green, Evan Ellis and Alice Priest, all published writers who have written for The Good Oil, formed the judging panel this year. They based their decisions on the entries which best explored the theme “Who is my neighbour?” in their chosen writing style. In particular, the judging panel were looking for writing that was topical, engaging, accessible, creative, original, and well written.
Congratulations to all the winning entrants!
Post-School (18 to 35 years of age)
First Place awarded to Victoria McGlynn, age 25, from Queensland, for “All things at once”, a first person reflective article. Victoria will receive $500 and a certificate.
What the judges said about Victoria’s article:
“This is a powerful and well-constructed article which authentically engages the reader, inviting us into the very personal experience of a young person grappling with the news of a parent’s terminal illness. The article highlights the reciprocal nature of being neighbour; it is not a one-way experience. As the author says: ‘I reflect on the parable of the Good Samaritan and feel as if I have become both the Samaritan, caring for my dad, and the man fallen to thieves, so alone, powerless and vulnerable. Is it possible to be both at once?’ And the author concludes: ‘We are all things at once’.”
Joint Second Place awarded to Beth Doherty, age 34, from the Australian Capital Territory, for “Of friends, faith and fellowship”, a first person reflective article AND Naomi Currie, age 21, from South Australia, for “Snails make good neighbours”, an opinion article. Beth and Naomi will each receive $300 and a certificate.
What the judges said about Beth’s article:
“Through first person reflective writing, this article addresses the question – Who is my neighbour? – in a multicultural, interfaith Australian landscape, and highlights the mutuality and richness of ‘neighbour’ experiences. The author takes the reader on an evocative journey of personal discovery exploring deep human and theological themes with great insight.”
What the judges said about Naomi’s article:
“This thought-provoking and well-researched opinion article engages with the question – Who is my neighbour? – in an original and creative way. The author conveys the complexity and the challenge of being a neighbour in today’s world. Highlighting the sacrificial aspect of being a neighbour was insightful.”
Secondary Student (Years 10 to 12)
Giving careful consideration to the criteria and guidelines for the award, the judges did not award first, second or third place in this category.
Highly Commended to Eoin Garton, age 17, from St Francis Xavier College, Florey, in the Australian Capital Territory, for “Neighbours: The gateway to the human experience”, a first person reflective article. Eoin will receive $100 and a certificate.
What the judges said about Eoin’s article:
“This article explores the experience of a young person growing up with a sibling who has ‘an extremely rare, severe disability that has no diagnosis’. The author speaks from personal experience with honesty, sensitivity and maturity about the cost and the blessings of ‘being a neighbour’ and ‘being neighboured’.”
Secondary Student (Years 7 to 9)
First Place awarded to Abrafi Owusu-Mensah, age 12, from Good Samaritan Catholic College, Hinchinbrook, in New South Wales, for “Grey”, a first person reflective article. Abrafi will receive $500 and a certificate.
What the judges said about Abrafi’s article:
“This artfully-composed article explores the question – Who is my neighbour? – through the lens of a grandchild living in Australia and grappling with the familial legacy of apartheid. It is an authentic intergenerational reflection; a mature and insightful piece, especially for one so young.”
Second Place awarded to Georgia Rice, age 15, from St Francis Xavier College, Florey, in the Australian Capital Territory, for “To testify”, a creative writing piece. Georgia will receive $300 and a certificate.
What the judges said about Georgia’s article:
“This is a strong creative writing piece which demonstrates a mature understanding of compassion. The article teases out the relationship between mercy, forgiveness, compassion and freedom.”
Third Place awarded to Grace Hawkes, age 13, from Our Lady of Mercy College, Burraneer, in New South Wales, for “My neighbour, the good Samaritan”, a first person reflective article. Grace will receive $200 and a certificate.
What the judges said about Grace’s article:
“This is a highly engaging first person reflective article that is authentic, fresh and lively. With striking honesty, sincerity and warmth, the author reminds us that our neighbours are those who literally live in the homes next to us.”
Look out for a more detailed news report about the award in tomorrow’s (August 16) edition of The Good Oil, where we’ll also be publishing the winning entries in the post-school (18 to 35 years of age) category.
Winning entries from the other categories will be published in forthcoming editions of The Good Oil.
Thank you to all entrants who submitted entries. You will receive a certificate of participation in the near future.