The Good Oil 2023 Writers’ Award was launched by the Sisters of the Good Samaritan with the dual purpose of supporting and encouraging the development of emerging and published writers.
Entrants were asked to explore the theme Finding my voice in their chosen writing style:
- Reflection – creative writing, including poetry, or first person reflective writing
- Opinion – first person personal opinion
- Profile – profile of a person based on an interview and research
- News feature – issues-based article written in journalistic style
The judging panel of Monica Dutton, Penny Edman and Geoff Orchison brought their considerable experience as writers and editors to the task. They based their decisions on the entries that best explored the theme, Finding my voice. They looked for writing that was topical, engaging, creative, original, and well written.
The judges awarded first prize ($600), second prize ($400), third prize ($200), and two highly commended ($100 each).
Congratulations to John Haren for his winning entry, Finding my voice. John is engaged in the community sector, previously as CEO of the St Vincent de Paul Society in South Australia working with the homeless, refugees, people with disability, and those with mental health challenges.
Second prize was awarded to Catherine McAleer for her entry, I’m listening.
Third prize was awarded to Marie Sørensen for her entry, Not all that I am.
Highly commended were Kim P Sami for On Finding My Voice and Marie Casamento for Still standing.
What the judges said about John Haren’s winning entry:
“The piece was tightly written, and its style and pace match the urgency of the message that is timely and topical. For me, this was the stand-out piece of the competition.”
“The author explores the need for immediacy in responding to contemporary issues threatening our world. It offers considered and practical ways we might each find our own voice in responding to these issues in our own time and place.”
What the judges said about Catherine McAleer’s entry (second prize):
“A morning walk sets the scene for this evocative, beautifully written piece which uses the lyrics of You’re the Voice in exploring the need to listen to the cry of the earth and to commit to ecological conversion.”
“I was taken by the writer’s clever and thought-provoking use of John Farnham’s song and, of course, its topicality. Easy piece to read with a good infusion of scripture. The author painted the picture well. Perhaps its different presentation just nudged it across the line in my eyes.”
What the judges said about Marie Sørensen’s entry (third prize):
“This touching poem about losing one’s voice to dementia uses short, fragmented sentences and a structure to enhance the sense of confusion. Repetition and sensory details add depth to the portrayal. The reader is immersed in this experience of dementia.”
John Haren’s winning entry, Finding my voice, was published in this month’s edition of The Good Oil. The second and third prize-winning entries and both highly commendeds will be published in future editions of The Good Oil. Thank you to everyone who submitted entries.
The Good Oil’s editorial vision is to nourish the spirit, stimulate thinking, promote social justice, and encourage reflection and dialogue about issues of the day from a Christian, Catholic, Good Samaritan perspective.
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This article was published in the September 2023 edition of The Good Oil.