2023 E.M. Fletcher Writing Competition

Every family has a story – write yours now!

The 2023 writing competition is open from 15 February 2023. Competition closes on 15 July 2023. For general information about the E.M. Fletcher writing competition and to see extracts from previous winning entries, please click here.





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Entries for the best short story of 1500 – 2000 words on a family history or genealogy theme will be in contention to win:

The entry fee is $20.00 for FHACT members and $30.00 for non-members.

Please read the competition Terms and conditions.

The entrants checklist is an aid to inclusion of commonly missed requirements.   Download entrants checklist

Please direct any enquiries and requests to the Writing Competition Committee.

Download the 2023 E.M. Fletcher writing competition poster and share it with your friends and networks. Download Poster

Judges for the 2023 competition

The judges for the competition are as follows.

Heather Garnsey, M.Litt, BA, Dip FHS, FSAG, FSG (Assoc), Hon FHGSC

Hesther Garnsey

Heather is best known for her 35 years working with the Society of Australian Genealogists (SAG). She retired from this very full-time position in February 2020 hoping to finally spend more time on her own family history.

She’s spoken at webinars, conferences, seminars, and congresses throughout Australia and overseas, edited the SAG’s journal Descent and jointly runs the Sydney Benevolent Asylum website to help researchers unlock the mysteries of its records.

Her contribution to Australian family history was recognised as Joint winner of the AFFHO Award for Meritorious Service to Family History in 2015, she’s an Honorary Member and Fellow of the SAG, an Honorary Fellow of the Heraldry & Genealogy Society of Canberra Inc. and an Associate Fellow of the Society of Genealogists in London.

Jenny Higgins

Jenny Higgins

Jenny has been researching family history for over forty years, working as a private researcher, volunteer at local family history libraries, and a family history librarian at the National Library of Australia.  She is a long-term member of Family History ACT. Jenny is currently employed as a family history researcher at the Australian Dictionary of Biography at ANU.

Whilst she still aims to write “the book” of her own family history, she has written a number of articles for journals on her own ancestors and other family history subjects. She looks forward to enjoying and learning from the variety of skills and styles presented in the submitted entries.


Bernadette Thakur

Bernadette Thakur

Bernadette’s interest in her family history goes back many years. After completing her first degree at Flinders University, Bernadette set off to see the world. Her first stop was Ireland where she lived in Dublin for several months in 1972.  Bernadette travelled to Canada where she completed an MA degree from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario in 1974. As well as Ireland and Canada, she has also lived in England, Fiji, India, Japan, New Zealand and the United States.

Bernadette joined Family History ACT in 2015 and served on Council in 2016. The support and encouragement she received from the Writers Special Interest Group and the Irish Special Interest Group were invaluable to her when researching her family history.

In 2021, her book Irish Settlers in South Australia: the Hayes and O’Toole Families was awarded the TT Reed Family History Book Award for 2019 and 2020. This Award is made annually by the South Australian Genealogy & Heraldry Society to the person producing the best family history in a given calendar year.