John Marsden Awards Preview

Award patron John Marsden

Award patron John Marsden

Tonight Express Media will announce the winners of the John Marsden Prize, one of Australia’s top writing prizes for young people.

According to Express Media’s artistic director Bel Schenk this year the prize is bigger than ever. “The Prize gained a record number of submissions this year, with 648 entries from across Australia covering everything from death, sex and war to aliens, office cubicles and candy rain.”

With writers as young as 8 years old and others pushing the age limits at 24, there’s a great variety in the shortlist. The youngest entrant was 8-year-old Harry Hagop, shortlisted for the under 18 poetry prize for his poem I am an Alien (sample text: “I am an alien, I come from outer space, I have a giant space ship and I never want to race.”)

Also on the shortlist for tonight’s award is 22-year-old Queensland Kirilee Barker for her short story The Unreality House. Here’s a sample:

Most people believe the best way to forget someone is to throw them down a well. Or lock them in a room with eight keys, or bury them at a crossroad in the thirteenth hour. But they’re wrong. The best way to forget someone is for them never to have existed in the first place.

The winners of the awards will be announced tonight at the Express Media Extravaganza with a presentation by John Marsden, along with the winners of Write Across Victoria, a competition for high school-aged writers.