Way back at the end of 2014 when The Footpath Library Founder Sarah Garnett and I sat down to discuss the next EPIC! writing competition, the only thing we knew for sure that kids everywhere love stories. So providing Australian school children the opportunity to write a short story and win prizes had to be a winner, surely?
As we launched the competition at the beginning of Term One, we thought that we might get a hundred entries, maybe one hundred and fifty and that would be fantastic. As the weeks rolled by, entries began trickling in. A few here, a few there but every week a few more than the week before. By the time the competition closed on April 2, we had accumulated 383 entries—far exceeding our expectations.
Entries came from every State and Territory, from children in kindergarten all the way through to Year 12. The topics were equally diverse—from zombies, gremlins and vampires to shark armies and lone wolves. Stories were set in the here and now, in World War II and the Great War as well as in some dystopian future. Home was a space station, an underwater coral cave and sometimes the very real home of the suburb in which they were growing up.
Themes ranged from light hearted and fun to covering some very dark issues of emotional and physical abuse. What linked them all, was that they came from the heart. They were eloquent and profound, using the three hundred word limit to express how they feel about the world around them from the macro to the miscroscopic perspective.
The biggest challenge was narrowing down the Primary and Secondary categories to a mere 25 entries each. As one of my fellow preliminary judges said, “it’s always hard eliminating kids’ stories because I know they try so hard!” but in the end what we have is 25 terrific stories worthy of recognition. Our judging panel have the unenviable task of narrowing those 25 further to a shortlist of 10—but what a phenomenal ten they will be.
The shortlist will be announced on May 29 and the winners will be announced on June 12. I know I speak for all of us when I say, I can’t wait to share them with you!
Ambassador Program Coordinator