Last year seemed to be a year of change. The youth got organised and rallied people across the world to protest to their governments on climate inaction. Many were inspired by one girl in Sweden who somehow generated fear and hate among keyboard warriors and men in high places.
2020 is only half way through but it has possibly been a year that has produced more writing material than any other year in our lifetime. Drought and bushfires across Australia were more devastating and widespread than the country has ever seen. But this was followed by the most amazing generosity with millions of dollars raised and donated to assist victims.
Even before donations could be distributed came Coronavirus pandemic. We all coped with this in our own ways and the word “unprecedented” was used in unprecedented frequency. Just as cafes and restaurants started to limp back, school children returned to classrooms and numbers of guests for weddings and funerals gradually rose – a black man dies in unthinkable circumstances and a show of anger, disbelief and outrage has flooded across the world. While not unprecedented, somehow this death was different.
If you’ve never written poetry, there’s no shortage of inspiration and material right now and perhaps there never will be again. If you are a poet and haven’t been moved to write something about the past few months, it may be because there is so much to write about that it is taking longer than expected.
That’s why the closing date for the Woorilla Poetry Prize has been extended until Friday July 31st.
The Woorilla Poetry Prize is a national poetry competition that is based and coordinated right here in the hills. It was established in the late 1980s as the joint initiative of Woorilla literary journal founder Maria Millers and her journal poetry editor Louise Rockne.
The annual awards soon resumed as a coveted literary prize of some renown.
When the Woorilla literary journal ceased publication, the popular poetry prize went into recess. A hiatus of a few years followed. Then in 2015 Maria Millers proposed restoration of the prize in partnership with Emerald’s annual Performing And Visual arts in Emerald (PAVE) festival., auspiced by Emerald Community House Inc. 2020 represents the sixth round of the Woorilla Poetry Prize as part of the PAVE annual program.
This year marks some notable changes. With the sad passing of long time judge Judith Rodriguez and more recently co-founder and last year’s youth judge, Louise Rockne, both sections have been re-named to honour these important women.
The open section is now called the Judith Rodriguez Open Section (first prize $1,000) and the youth section is now called the Louise Rockne Youth Section (First Prize $200)
In addition a sub-section has been introduced for each section, allowing people for whom English is not their first language. There is no extra work in submitting for this sub-section but those eligible will be judged in both the main section plus the sub-section.
Organisers are delighted to introduce this year’s judges:
Nathan Curnow is an Australian poet and spoken word performer who has been writing and performing for twenty years with his work featured widely around Australia and overseas. He’s had his words projected onto buildings, performed on stage, inscribed on park benches, turned into song and visual art and published in beautiful books. Nathan was a student and friend of Judith Rodriquez and returns for a second year to judge the open section now named in her honour.
Emilie Zoey Baker is an award winning poet and spoken word performer who has toured internationally including being a guest at Ubud Writers Festival, The Milosz Festival Poland and was the winner of the Berlin International Literature Festival’s poetry slam. She was a Fellow at the State Library of Victoria, poet-in-residence for Museums Victoria and coordinator for the National Australian Poetry Slam. She teaches poetry to both kids and adults and was core faculty for the spoken word program at Canada’s Banff Centre. We are delighted that Emilie will be judging the Louise Rockne youth section this year.
Entries into the Louise Rockne Youth Section are free and anyone between the ages of 12-18 can enter. This is a great extra curricular activity or a way for young people to capture their feelings and try to make sense of these extraordinary times.
Entries into the Judith Rodriquez Open Section are $10 per poem or 3 poems for $25. There is no limit on the number of poems each person can enter and full terms and conditions can be found at www.woorilla.org.au
To keep up to date with announcements on the Woorilla Poetry Prize and awards go to www.facebook.com/woorillapoetryprize/
Woorilla Poetry Prize Coordinator
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