Winners announced of second Sutherland Shire Literary Competition

Sutherland Shire Council

The 2020 Sutherland Shire Literary Competition winners have been announced as the competition concludes successfully for the second time since it began in 2018.

Four hundred entries were received from nearly every state and territory with writers from NSW, Queensland, Victoria and South Australia taking out prizes in all four categories.

The traditional verse and free verse poetry categories received 217 entries, the short story category and newly introduced themed short story category received 183 entries and 27% percent of entries were submitted by residents of the Sutherland Shire, confirming the need to promote and nurture local literary talent.

Mayor Councillor Carmelo Pesce congratulated all winning and participating entries.

“Now in its second year, our Literary Competition and the presentation of prizes is the culmination of our vision to nurture, promote and celebrate literary creativity in Sutherland Shire and I’ve been extremely impressed with this year’s entries and would like to congratulate all of our winners and those that participated,” he said.

All winning entries—including first, second and third places, Shire Resident’s Prizes, and highly commended and commended entries—were published online on Friday 17 April, 2020.

This year the special category with the theme 2020: Looking Back, Moving Forward was added to acknowledge the 250th Anniversary of first contact between the Gweagal Clan and the crew of the Endeavour ship on the southern shores of Kamay Botany Bay, Kurnell in 1770.

Leone McManus, of Como, won first prize in the themed short story category for her story, ’29th April 1770′ about 13-year-old Endeavour crew member Isaac Manley encountering an Aboriginal boy for the first time.

Bangor resident Claire Riley won second prize for her short story ‘Old School’, set in Casuarina High School where students learn how First Nations people cared for the environment.

“It is so helpful to writers to be given an opportunity like the Sutherland Shire Literary Competition,” Claire Riley said.

“It lends purpose and validation to the act of writing, and provides the honour of having an audience.

“Entering a local competition is a privilege, and I am grateful to the Sutherland Shire Council for supporting writers and poets in the local area.”

Shire Resident’s Prizes were awarded to Tiarne Szemenyei, of Gymea, for her free verse poem ‘I am Australia’, and Kate Herring, of Oyster Bay, for her short story ‘The Bay’.

“It’s been really good to participate in,” Tiarne Szemenyei said.

“I study science, so this was a great way to rekindle a love of writing.

“Something like this in my local area is a great and unintimidating way for writers to get their work out into the community and get feedback.

“Having people read it and feel something has inspired me to keep writing.”

Kate Herring is thrilled to have received her award.

“I’m thrilled and this has been a great encouragement to a 60-year-old infant writer,” she said.

“I hope that this story, the final chapter of an unpublished memoir, illuminates the role that a special place such as Oyster Bay can have in humanity’s connection with the transformative power of nature.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, awards, prize money and the published Literary Magazine were sent to all winners in lieu of an Awards Presentation. The generous prize money was made possible by sponsors Tradies, Moran Aged Care, the University of Wollongong, Club Central Menai and the NSW government.

Winning entries will be published online:



First Prize A Precious Chance – Shelley Hansen, Maryborough QLD

Second Prize Ghost Child – Brenda-Joy Pritchard, Charters Towers QLD

Third Prize From Gallipoli With Love – Tom McIlveen, Port Macquarie NSW

Highly Commended Old Man Drought – Tom McIlveen, Port Macquarie NSW

Commended Bushfire (The Dragon from the West) – Kay Gorring, Morayfield QLD

Commended To Trash the Terrors – Robyn Sykes, Binalong NSW


First Prize Botany Bay – Penny Lane, Nelson Bay NSW

Second Prize Still the Rain Kept Falling – Denise O’Hagan, Northbridge NSW

Third Prize East Coast Blues – Penny Lane, Nelson Bay NSW

Shire Resident’s Prize I am Australia – Tiarne Szemenyei, Gymea NSW

Highly Commended I will never hurt you again – Damen O’Brien, Wynnum QLD

Commended Where Once She Danced – Anne Casey, Northbridge NSW

Commended Love You to Death – David Terelinck, Biggera Waters QLD


First Prize Jeff and Jill – Rachel Flynn, Fitzroy North VIC

Second Prize Motel – Beverly Lello, Yackandandah, VIC

Third Prize Bleeding – Anthea Fraser Gupta, Fairy Meadow NSW

Shire Resident’s Prize The Bay – Kate Herring, Oyster Bay NSW

Highly Commended Catching Crabs – Yihong Gao, Campbelltown NSW

Commended The Stars, Millie – Helen Meany, Stanmore NSW

Commended Traumerei – Paulette Gittins, South Yarra VIC

Commended Educating Radwa – Alice Mantel, Concord West NSW


First Prize 29th April 1770 – Leone McManus, Como NSW

Second Prize Old School – Claire Riley, Bangor NSW

Third Prize Clay – John Scholz, Willunga SA

Highly Commended The 987 – Tylissa Elisara, Mount Peter QLD

Commended Our Destiny – Marie Clear, Wagga Wagga NSW

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