Banjo's birthday marks launch of 2024 writing awards

Orange Council

This year marks 160 years since Andrew Barton 'Banjo' Paterson was born and Central West Libraries will launch entries for the 2024 Banjo Paterson Writing Awards on his birthday, Saturday 17 February.

Established in 1991, the awards honour Andrew Barton "Banjo' Paterson, acknowledged as a great writer and favourite son of Orange, with a competition encouraging Australian content. However, entries do not have to be written in Banjo's style of bush writing.

Orange City Council's Services Policy Committee Chair, Cr Mel McDonell encouraged aspiring authors to enter their work and showcase their writing.

"The Banjo Paterson Writing Awards not only attract writers from across our region but across the country, which is a testament to its popularity as well as showing how Banjo's work continues to inspire new generations of writers," Cr McDonell said.

Adults can enter the competition in two categories, with a first prize of $2000 up for grabs in each section. The categories are:

  • Short Story with a maximum word limit of 3,000 words.
  • Contemporary Poetry not exceeding 200 lines.

Last year's Short Story winner was Timothy Guy of Cowra for his work Anna, a story about two young children who encounter bushranger Ben Hall. The Contemporary Poetry prize went to Jonathan Cant, of Sydney, for Thunderstorm at Newton Boyd, an emotive and powerful reflection on the experiences of war.

Other past winners include David Astle, Barry Divola, Heather Bird, Angela Malone, Kit Denton and author of crime novel Pine Creek, Kamille Roach.

Young people aged 16 and under can enter the children's section for their chance to win a first prize of $200. Children are asked to submit a Short Story no longer than 1,000 words or a poem no longer than 30 lines.

Entry costs $15 per entry for adults and $5 per entry for the children's section.

Entries close on Friday 10 May and winners will be announced at the annual Orange Readers and Writers Festival to held on Saturday 3 August. Entrants can email their entries, as well as post, by the due date.

For entry forms with all the details go to the Central West Libraries website or visit your local library at Blayney, Canowindra, Cowra, Forbes, Manildra, Molong or Orange to pick up an entry form.

Previous winning entries can be found at Central West Libraries' online resource Recollect to provide you with inspiration.

The awards are supported by Orange City Council, Central Western Daily and ABC Radio.

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