Chapter One is a publication pathway for emerging writers. The prize is open to authors who have written a poetry collection, literary novel, short story collection, or a hybrid work that crosses genre boundaries. The Australasian Association of Writing Programs (AAWP) is delighted to partner with University of Western Australia Publishing (UWAP) to provide this publication pathway for emerging writers. Heartfelt thanks to the judge for managing the judging process with such integrity—thank you for so generously donating your time in the interests of emerging writers.

This year, we have joint winners: A Book of Broken Pieces by Wendy Riley and The Whistler Calls by Greg Woodland.

Since the time of submission, Greg has been offered a contract with TEXT Publishing for The Whistler Calls. Warm congratulations, Greg. Wendy receives a $500 cash prize and both authors are entitled to fully subsidised conference fees, to attend the annual conference of the AAWP (November 2018), where they are invited to read from their work. The University of Western Australia Publishing agrees to assess Wendy’s manuscript as a matter of priority.

Judge’s Report: The Whistler Calls by Greg Woodland

The Whistler Calls (Greg Woodland) is joint-winner of the Chapter One prize in 2018. The submission is very well written, in a forceful and very down-to-earth style, which creates strong literary effects without being ‘literary’ in any precious or laboured sense. The writer offers many memorable images, many vivid descriptions, and the synopsis and first chapter indicate a very strong narrative drive-forward, a determination in the writer to tell a good story, as vividly and authentically as possible. The evocation of the Australian rural environment is very effective indeed, and the writer has superbly matched language, place and people.  I believe this story will find a keen readership both as an adult novel and as ‘young adult’ fiction, and in this latter category, would have a good chance of finding publication. The writer shows a very sure hand and the submission is characterised throughout by powerful language and very strong story-telling skills.

Judge’s Report: A Book of Broken Pieces by Wendy Riley

A Book of Broken Pieces is a short story collection. The short story, ‘Billy and the Sea Eagle’, one of a number of stories submitted by Wendy, characterises the wider range of her work. The story is a challenging exercise in cultural empathy—in moving ‘inside’ the world, the family, the environment of her central characters—and together with the other stories offers a remarkable conversation between cultures, likely to be controversial in some respects, with its bold imaginative incursions into the territory of others, but fulfilling, in doing so, one of the best and bravest ventures of which writing is capable. The writing broaches a series of subjectivities, intimately portrayed. She has a very sure hand—the writing is throughout beautifully crafted, evocative and intimate, and with a strong command of basic storytelling and with an impressive grasp of concrete detail. Her story-telling technique is highly sophisticated, and yet it results in inviting storytelling. One distinctive feature of the writing is that it invites a particularly wide readership, from late childhood through to adult. There is a strong and distinctive blend of fantasy and imagining, together with a very secure sense of physical location. Impressive throughout.

About Wendy Riley:

Raised in the UK, Wendy lives in Melbourne with her husband and son. Trained as a journalist and now working as a content writer, creative writing has always been her passion. Eleven of the twelve stories in her short story compilation A Book of Broken Pieces have now been recognised in national and international literary awards. Wendy also has a novel manuscript waiting in the wings.

About Greg Woodland:

Greg is founder-director of script development service Script Central. He’s been a script developer and consultant for Australian film funding bodies and the Australian Writers Guild for over 20 years. An award-winning writer/director, his films and documentaries have screened nationally and internationally at over 60 film festivals and numerous TV channels. His screenplays The Visitor and Pangs won several script competitions including the Inscription Open Script Award, Fellowship of Australian Writers Best Drama, an Eleanor Dark Flagship Fellowship and two Varuna Fellowships. Greg’s script editing credits include produced feature films: ‘Don’t Tell’ and ‘Broken’, ‘The Bet’, ‘Needle’, ‘Cold Turkey’ and indigenous documentary feature ‘Occupation Native’. He also script edited the 2016 AWG John Hinde Science Fiction Unproduced Script Award winner, the 2013 Tropfest Best Film Winner We’ve All Been There and many others. He’s taught Scriptwriting at UTS, NIDA, and AFTRS. Greg’s rural crime novel ‘The Whistler Called’ will be published in 2019 by TEXT Publishing