2021 E.M. Fletcher Award – WINNER

9th October 2021
By Gina Tooke
9 October : Winner of the 2021 E.M. Fletcher Award announced at a special FHACT event

The winner of the 2021 E.M. Fletcher Award was announced at a special online event on Saturday 9th October. Eighty-eight participants were online to hear the announcement including special guests Anne, John and Robin Fletcher, children of Eunice Fletcher, for whom the competition is named.  John spoke about Eunice’s passion for family history and his memories of visits with his mum to the many aunts to record oral histories about the family, pestering all the vicars in the Hunter Valley to scour the church records and numerous visits to Kent Street in Sydney to trawl the archives.

Our Judges Dr Erica Cervini, Kathryn Coughran and Pennie Pemberton had a difficult decision in selecting a winner from the 124 entries received across a variety of topics and styles. During the assessment, the judges read over 235,000 words, many times over, and enjoyed over 80 images.  

As a previous winner of the E.M. Fletcher award, Kathryn Coughran spoke about the competition’s uniqueness in the way it draws together two distinct disciplines, writing and family history, each with its own conventions.  Former archivist, Pennie Pemberton spoke about the world of libraries, archives and records that help us piece together our family trees.  A transcript of Kathryn and Pennie’s talks can be found here.  Dr Erica Cervini was unable to be with us during the presentation.  However, Erica was interviewed by Michael Mackenzie from ABC Radio in January 2021, for the Life Matters program.  Listen to Erica’s interview How your Family History Could Enrich us all here.

Twelve stories were short-listed for the 2021 E.M. Fletcher Award, but there could only be one winner.

AND THE WINNER IS …… congratulations to Denise Newton, the winner of the E.M. Fletcher Writing Award.  Denise takes home the winner’s prize of $1,000 for her story The Bitterness of their Woe, a compelling story of a family lost in the Windsor Flood of 1867.  In announcing the award, one of the judges Kathryn Coughran said the story has universal appeal and is an excellent example of the fusion of facts and human experience.  Congratulations Denise.

The judges also presented two equal highly commended awards and three equal commended awards, a testament to the high standard of entries.

In addition, a HAGSOC member prize was awarded to Margaret Clough for her story Tell me Again, Dad, a poignant story about a daughter reconnecting with her ailing father.  Congratulations Margaret.

 All short-listed entries and the member awarded story will be published in the December 2021 edition of The Ancestral Searcher. Copies of the journal can be pre-ordered at a cost of $3.50 (GST inc) plus postage or alternatively collect from the FHACT Library.  Pre-order your copy today through the FHACT online bookstore.

2021 E.M. Fletcher Writing Competition – Short-List:

Congratulations to our winner and placegetters. 

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