25th October 2023
By Gina Tooke
The winner of the 2023 E.M. Fletcher Writing Award was announced at a special event on Saturday 7 October.

E.M. Fletcher Award – WINNER ANNOUNCED

And the winner is …… congratulations to Glynis Cummins, winner of the 2023 E.M. Fletcher Writing Award.  Glynis takes home a prize of $1,000 for her story Standing on New Ground, a compelling story based on the author’s 3xgreat grandmother who faced poverty, imprisonment, transportation, childbirth and marriage before arriving in Brisbane Waters in 1831.  In conferring the award judges Heather Garnsey, Jenny Higgins and Bernadette Thakur said, ‘the story beautifully captures the loneliness and hardship that so many women faced in the remote Australian bush and the language is simple and effective’.

The runner up prize of $500 sponsored by the University of Tasmania was awarded to Mandy Gwan for her story Butterflies based on her grandparent’s wedding day in 1940 and the prejudice they faced as a mixed-race couple.  The judges said, ‘this story beautifully captures the young bride’s excitement while also allowing us to share in her anguish at memories of an earlier unpleasant scene with her parents, effectively told through a flashback.’  Congratulations Mandy.

Two highly commended awards were given to Giselda Bannister for her story One Man’s Life, the reminiscences of an old man as he lays dying and Robyn Heitmann for her story Honouring Introdacqua recounting an episode in the life of Pietro, a recent Italian emigrant to Australia.  Congratulations Giselda and Robyn.

A joint Family History ACT prize was awarded to Jo Callaghan for her story Lucy Dorney’s Waterloo, a story depicting the life of a woman and her family during the depression in the streets of Waterloo in Sydney and Margaret Mackenzie for her story Passage, the story of a Tasmanian returning home after years of living overseas and his rejection by his family for embracing Catholicism.  Congratulations Jo and Margaret.

All short-listed entries will be published in the December 2023 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 collected from the FHACT Library.  Pre-order your copy today through the FHACT online bookstore.

2023 E.M. Fletcher Writing Competition – Short-List:

Family Secrets by Kerry Anderson

One Man’s Life by Giselda Ruth Bannister

A Terrible Silence by Catherine Bell

Lucy Dorney’s Waterloo by Jo Callaghan

Standing on New Ground by Glynis Cummins

Butterflies by Mandy Gwan

Honouring Introdacqua by Robyn Heitmann

Grave Journey to Latvia by Ilse Jamonts

Passage by Margaret Mackenzie

Distorted Memories and Documents by Ashlea Masters

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