Congratulations to all our winning entrants in the Lionel Bowen Young Writers' Award 2016!
The calibre of entries for 2016 was outstanding! Judges had an incredibly difficult task to pore over 450 entries from 83 different schools, however were incredibly pleased to see the dedication of parents, carers and teachers in supporting an environment which encourages and nurtures a love of writing and literature.
It has been delightful to see so many talented young writers we have in Randwick City and would like to thank all entrants and award them with an official certificate of participation PDF, 2063.33 KB.
Randwick City Library, Juvenilia Press and the University of NSW are proud to be involved in this celebration of creative writing.
All winning entries have been published in a book by Juvenilia Press. The first print run of the book has already sold out; a second print run has been rushed to press and will be available for purchase at any of our three library branches in the coming weeks. Connect with us on Facebook to be the first to know when they're back in stock.
The winners are...
Poem – School years 3 – 4
Short story – School years 3 – 4
Poem – School years 5 – 6
Elsa Ray Lane
Short story – School years 5 – 6
Poem – School years 7 – 9
Deborah Carissa Indrawan
Short story – School years 7 – 9
Poem – School years 10 – 12
Erika de Leon
Short story – School years 10 – 12
Congratulations to St Bridgids Coogee for winning this year's school prize with 80 entries!
An excerpt from the Lionel Bowen Young Writers’ Award 2016 publication
Randwick City Library would like to share a piece of writing by Daniel Hu which judge Dr Roanna Gonsalves called an “outstanding work” as an example of the superb work we received in the Lionel Bowen Young Writers Award 2016.
Conformity. Equality. Peace.
By Daniel Hu
The lights flickered, casting ominous shadows throughout the tunnel. The moist darkness was enveloped by the sound of the canal pounding against the paving stones. The plip-plop of the water reverberated into the distance. Dragging my hand across the wall, I picked up dust and grime. I peered at the mangled track beneath my feet. The suffocating, putrid smell of the air pervaded the tunnel. I trudged, panting, to the ladder which collapsed against the crumpling walls.
One and a two. One and a two. I hoisted myself up to the locked door.
And I opened it.
It was still the same. A blanket of fog covered Sydney. It swooped in and skirted around the buildings, like a giant eraser moving to eradicate the spots of dirt and grime to no avail. I climbed out and peered down the street. Grey. Bleak. It was a vast monotony of ancient glass and steel, shaped by decades of destitution and chaos. Rays of light penetrated the city and cast squares on the dusty pavement. The overflowing filth encompassed the city, contaminating the streets.
They were still there. The machines were so human-like that you could hardly tell the difference between them and ordinary humans. They moved, talked and gestured like anyone else. They could even read your micro-facial expressions and alter their conversation accordingly.
They were everywhere.
I pulled out a worn handkerchief to block out the stench. The noises were getting louder. Sydney was always buzzing. Great white walls surrounded the entire city. A towering bird cage. Confined. Shut. The Government had erected the walls to block off every single exit of the city. The machines buzzed.
“Do not leave the city. The Government wishes everyone can be happy and healthy. Do not leave the city.”
The machines continued to drone.
“Do not leave the city.”
People thrashed against the city walls. Every time they reached the outskirts of the city, their footsteps were halted. Their screams were drowned out by the buzzing. Shouted and screamed. Like encaged apes.
The street before me was a skeleton, stripped of its flesh long ago. It was covered in the same dusty powder that was in my hair and clothes. Each patch of grass was a uniform square. Exactly ten by ten. Every tree was the same height. All that remained of the city was the concrete structures of the shops. Even the broken street-lamps had been knocked down and dragged away along with the stunted trees. As I walked down the side-walk, I pulled out a cigarette. I inhaled and blew out repeatedly. I smoked the cigarette until the white roll of nicotine turned to black ash. It really made no difference how many cigarette butts I consumed.
It was a dead world.
I flicked the butt onto the city street and looked into the distance. A child cried in the distance. It reminded me of home.
I closed my eyes and the green grass of my front lawn came rushing at me. A fountain lay in the middle, spurting silverly water, flowing with a musical sound. The sun was mellow, and the warm breeze blew at my face. There was the sound of laughter in the background. We would always go to the grass fields in the morning to bathe in the stunning, summer sunlight with the grazing cows and the cries of my children playing hide and seek for company. Following this, a picnic near the streams and the aroma of the sandwiches, strawberries, and the chocolate fudge cake always wafted out into the nearby farmhouse. The days came and went. Forward a few years into the future and the overpopulated world became overridden with poverty and inequalities.
Then the Government brought in the machines. A solution. A solution that only posed more questions. Each machine had a label carved on their metallic body:
I’m here to assist you. For your happiness and wellbeing.
Conformity, Equality, Peace
I quickened my steps. The sun was dipping beneath the horizon. There was news of a hidden exit to the outside world. I had to find it before the Government found out. It was the only way to get my family out of here. The government had issued an order just a few weeks ago for the machines to exterminate anyone attempting to leave the city. Their metallic voices echoed throughout the entire neighbourhood. There was no laughter here, only the sound of machines. The humans had to be controlled. We were all given roles. An eight hour working day. Same pay. Same rations. The humans who spoke too much were forced to wear headpieces that would emit loud shrieks every five seconds. The ones who committed crimes were eradicated. Those who rebelled disappeared and were never seen again.
Conformity. Equality. Peace.
No one was safe.
“Unauthorised object in view” a robot screeched.
I cursed my luck and darted behind a decrepit house. It came closer. And closer. Up close, the metallic features were unveiled. The bottom part was the larger piece, smoothly curved, but on the upper surface, the ridges were sharper than a set of claws. The top part was far thinner than any robot model I had seen before, no more than a centimetre in diameter but razor sharp with complementary ridges. The robot moved like a puppet- controlled, fluid and logical. It cocked its head, its red, laser-beam eyes scanning the house.
Its eyes skimmed through the outside of the house. Then the faint red light faded away.
With a dissatisfied hum, it moved away, returning to its duties. I let out a sigh of relief and steadied myself on my feet. I glanced to the left and right. Nothing in sight.
Reached into my pocket for another cigarette.
Puffed out the smoke with a shudder.
Shook my head.
I had to reach the exit. The living conditions were getting worse. It was only a matter of time until people would give up the rebellion. Then it will be too late to leave. Images of the conversation I had with one of the villagers flooded back.
“Where can we go to?”
“Many have spoken of a utopia that resides beyond the walls. The people get a say in society there. Their opinion are of importance.”
“How important?” I asked
“Important enough for them to vote.”
“Vote?” I furrowed my brow at this foreign word.
“Yes, vote. The Government listens to the people.”
Clenching my teeth, I quickened my pace. As I ran, a plethora of emotions raced through my mind. The fragments of my people screaming as they got tortured. The same people who had lived and cared for me for years. My family.
I continued. A path formed in front of me as I reached the entrance of the tunnel. The tunnel was covered by a layer of shrubs and bushes. The repugnant odour of mildew and mould surrounded the air around the tunnel.
There was a spec of light somewhere in the distance.
Narrowing my eyes, I crushed the cigarette pack.
This is a well-crafted story set in a dystopic future in Sydney. Its slice of life technique captures a brief moment in the life of the first person narrator as he walks through a claustrophobic locked- in cityscape.
This interior world is expertly rendered, especially through the distortion of language by the state, and the creation of an atmosphere rife with degradation and fear, through the use of unusual detail. This world is walled off from the outside world where “The Government listens to the people.” Numerous resonances with the work of great writers in literary history, from George Orwell to David Mitchell, add depth to this work, as does the refusal to capitulate to the expectation of a neat, happy ending. I was haunted by the aridity of the emotional landscape created in this story. It is an outstanding work.