The Footpath Library and Macquarie Banking and Financial Services Group launch a new Short Story Competition

The Footpath Library and Macquarie Banking and Financial Services Group have joined forces to launch an exciting new short story competition which opens on 5 March and closes 5pm Sydney time on 3 May 2013.

The Footpath Library aims to make books more accessible to the homeless and disadvantaged members of our society, change our attitudes to these people and encourage literacy. The Footpath Library Chair, Jaqui Lane, said: “The inaugural theme of the competition is homelessness. We hope that through the competition the public gains a greater understanding of what homelessness is in our community, the causes of homelessness and what it means to be homeless.”

The competition is for short stories of 2000 words. The prize money is $1500 for first place; $350 for second place and $150 for third place. At the launch Jaqui Lane said: “The support of Macquarie Banking and Financial Services Group, in contributing the prize money, has made this competition possible.”

Macquarie Banking and Financial Services Group Head, Peter Maher said he was pleased to be a supporter of both The Footpath Library and the Australian writing community.

He said Macquarie Banking and Financial Services Group had a long history of supporting literacy and literary endeavours across the broader community.

“The Footpath Library is dedicated to bringing books to the most disadvantaged in our community and both the Macquarie Banking and Financial Services Group and the Macquarie Foundation, are great supporters of many initiatives that help the most needy in our community. This competition is exciting for us because it allows us to actively support Australian writers and literacy. We have been long term sponsors of the Sydney Writers’ Festival, the Byron Bay Writers Festival and our voluntary work in bringing literacy programs to disadvantaged schools in inner city regions. As a result we see strong synergies between our 2013 Sydney Writers’ Festival sponsorship and our support of this worthy competition”.

The competition judging panel is chaired by The Footpath Library director, and well known ABC radio journalist Richard Glover. He is joined by exciting young indigenous author – Anita Heiss and Zora Sanders, editor of the prestigious literary magazine Meanjin.

Richard said:“The Footpath Library is built around the idea that writing and reading can make a difference; that good writing is a gymnasium for empathy. With this competition we hope to bring a deeper understanding of homelessness, in all its guises, and give an opportunity to Australia’s short story writers. I’m particularly delighted that Anita Heiss and Zora Sanders have agreed to join me as judges, and also with the involvement of Meanjin, one of Australia’s oldest and most respected literary magazines.”

The winners will be announced during the Sydney Writers’ Festival week (May 20- 26 2013). The winning entries will be published on- line in Meanjin, and the first prize winning short story will appear in the September issue of the magazine – an exciting opportunity for authors.

This is the first initiative between The Footpath Library and Macquarie Banking and Financial Services Group. As Jaqui Lane commented: “It’s wonderful that Macquarie Banking and Financial Services Group has taken an interest in The Footpath Library. They are also providing us with additional support to help us with the valuable work we are doing.”

The charity takes its name in part, from the wonderful ‘libraries’ it opens once a week on a Martin Place and at Manly. Books donated by publishing companies and the general public are casually laid out on the footpath and the homeless help themselves. No bookshelves, no Dewey system, no library card, no return dates, in fact no returns at all.

The Footpath Library operates currently in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and is hoping to open in Perth by 2014. With the generous support of the publishing industry and donations, over 2000 new and high quality used books a month are provided to the homeless and disadvantaged through footpath libraries, refuges and shelters.

Media contacts:

The Footpath Library:

Jaqui Lane, Chairman: Mob: 0400 800 056;
Sarah Garnett, Founder: Mob: 0400 816 402;

Macquarie Banking and Financial Services Group:
Irene O’Brien
Head of PR, Communications and Online
Macquarie Banking and Financial Services Group
Tel: 61 2 8232 3241
Mob: 61 417260309