The 36th Newcastle Poetry Prize has opened for entries.

Hunter Writers Centre invites any Australian poet (living here or overseas) to submit a poem up to 200 lines. The competition will close on 30 June 2017.

The Newcastle Poetry Prize is one of the most prestigious in the country with a total prize pool over $22,000. First prize is $15,000 – for one poem.  Second prize is $5000, third prize is $1000. There are also awards given to a poet who resides in the Hunter Region (the Local Award), and The Harri Jones Memorial Prize award ($250) for the best poem by a poet under the age of 35.

History here: http://www.hunterwriterscentre.org/history-of-theprize.html

The Newcastle Poetry Prize is unique among Australian poetry prizes for producing an accompanying anthology that provides a rare opportunity for poets to be published outside of the literary journals and internet magazines.

The Newcastle Poetry Prize has been coordinated by the Hunter Writers Centre since 2002 and is proudly sponsored by the University of Newcastle, which provides the prize money.

Past winners have included John Watson, Brook Emery, Dorothy Hewett, Anthony Lawrence, David Musgrave, Patricia Sykes and Mark Tredinnick.

The 2017 competition will be judged by Professor Kevin Brophy and Eileen Chong. Kevin Brophy is the author of fifteen books of poetry, fiction, and essays.  His latest books are Misericordia (2016) and This is What Gives Us Time (2016).  Eileen Chong’s books are Burning Rice (2012), Peony (2014) and Painting Red Orchids (2016). Her work has been shortlisted for the Anne Elder Award, the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards, the Peter Porter Poetry Prize, the Newcastle Poetry Prize, and most recently, for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.

Full entry details can be found on HWC’s website: http://www.hunterwriterscentre.org/newcastle-poetry-prize.html

The Hunter Writers Centre was established in 1995 and is a leading writers centre in Australia now offering three major contests with more than $35,000 in prize monies. It administers the prestigious Newcastle Poetry Prize, the Newcastle Short Story Award and the Grieve Writing Competition. The centre also provides access to professional development through workshops, writing groups and seminars.

The University of Newcastle was established in 1965 and is internationally recognised in research, teaching and learning, environmental sustainability, and equity and diversity.

My object was a rock

So back in September I went to a ‘Writing for the Young Adult’ workshop ran by the Hunter Writers Centre. Talks were given by the wonderful Kaz Delaney, Lizzie Wilcock and Amy Lovat. It was fascinating and insightful, I found these three women to be lovely, with a wealth of knowledge between them.

For a bit of fun the ladies gave us two random photos and an object, we were then asked to write an opening line for a story and a scene of dialogue using the photos and item as a prompt. I got a photo of a river and a male teen wearing a leather jacket while playing the guitar, my object was a rock.

I thought I’d share what I came up with – I even made Genie a name plaque picture thingy, not at the time of writing, but last night when re-reading and deciding to share her with you.Genie

 *     *     *     *

Billy was going to be a star. Then Billy drowned when I crashed my car.

My bedspreads covered in glass. One of locals has thrown another rock through my bedroom window. It has been happening regularly since I crashed my car in the river. I’d just picked Billy, my boyfriend up from band rehearsal when a bright light exploded across the road in front of us. I freaked and swerved hard. My car rolled and ended up in the river. The next thing I knew I was laying soaking wet on my bed at home with no explanation as to how I got there.

 *     *     *     *

He looked at me, pain crinkling his already wrinkled old face.

I sighed “I’m sorry granddad, I just can’t”

“Darling, you haven’t left the house in months”.

He just doesn’t get it, no body gets it.

“I’m sorry” is all I can manage before slamming my head face first onto my pillow.

“Please Genie, life must go on”.

Right then another rock sails through my bedroom window, smashing the newly replaced glass.

I sit up to see my grandfather hot footing it down the stairs “see it’ll never be ok, I can never leave” but I’m screeching at empty air. I can hear my grandad out on the front lawn yelling.

*     *     *     *





Writing Workshop

Today I attended a Newcomers Writing Workshop run by The Hunter Writers Centre. We talked a lot about different forms of writing, finding our own voice, practice exercises and ways to improve our writing.

We did a Memoir Exercise in which we had thirty minutes to write out a memory, then we read them aloud and dissected them as group. I really enjoyed hearing all the different things we’d all dredged up from our memories. The memory I picked out, well I’ve just posted it as its own post – http://sarahalison27.org/2014/02/01/learning-to-drive/

We did a Random Photo Exercise where a bunch of photos were spread out and we had fifteen minutes to write a short piece drawn from one of the photos. It took me awhile to pick a photo. The photo I did go with was of a man wearing a hat in a 1950’s style convertible automobile. I just focused on the guy and his hat >>>>

I slid down and slumped back into the cars seat. I was wearing a black bowler hat pulled down to partly obscure my face, but not so far down that I couldn’t see. I has hiding out in an anonymous looking black sedan with out of town number plates.

I was keeping tabs on a young girl named Audrey for my boss, she was his daughter. She didn’t like her father interfering with her life, so I was tasked with the job to tail her from time to time and keep tabs on who she was hanging out with

He was at her place again, that boy named Bob Brown. That filthy no good rat was harassing her again. I could see him through the window. I drove off. I’d report what I saw to my boss later tonight.

She was a lovely young girl, but she had terrible taste when it came to men. Her last boyfriend had put her in hospital, then my boss and I had put him in an underwater grave.

My boss was a powerful guy, not a fella to be messed with.

<<<< And that’s as far as I got.

I really did enjoy myself today and everyone there seemed to get something out of the workshop. Now I’ve just got to sit down and write out the scribbled notes and advice I took down and look into some of the things we talked about. I think I’ll definitely be joining the Prose group run by the HWC. Today was a fun, entertaining and interesting day :-).

Life Lately

I haven’t had time to post much lately, things have been rather hectic.

I’ve lost many hours and been through a great deal of stress trying to get everything organised for my son to start day care next week. So I’m already upset at the fact that I’m losing my baby boy to strangers, then I get dicked around by the government over child care rebates – NOT HAPPY JAN!!! Anyway I got it all sorted today finally, but DAMN why does everything have to be so hard!

I’m constantly on edge at the moment and it’s really starting to get on top of me – I NEED A BREAK – but as a mum I’ll never get one again. Just when I think I’m at my lowest point, in the darkest frame of mind I’ve ever been in, I get lower and it gets darker, I’m swinging like a god damn chimpanzee.

I did have a high light on Tuesday, it was my son’s first swimming lesson. I was really nervous, but Riley seemed to have a good time. He loves the water, he was one of the few babies who didn’t cry. When he was supposed to be floating on his back he kicked his legs and when he was supposed to be kicking he was just staring at the ceiling or watching the other babies – Yep that’s my boy easily distracted and doesn’t do what he’s told (sounds just like me all the way through school).

Tomorrow is February first so I’m going to get back on the band wagon with the 365 post challenge, I haven’t managed to do it for a few days now.

Also tomorrow I’ll be attending a day course on creative writing run by the Hunter Writers Centre. Really the last thing I feel like doing at the moment is going to a course in town, I’d rather stay in bed for a month straight in a dark quiet cave, but I know I’ll enjoy myself one I get there. I hope! I’m going to have to try a shut the real world out for the day.