The Sunny Coast Times is partnering with its sister paper the Hinterland Times to present the HT/SCT Young Writer of the Year Award for 2021.

The annual award has run for the past two years in the Hinterland Times, showcasing the writing talents of the region’s young scribes.

More than $1000 of prizes are on offer. The winner and two runners-up will claim a Montville Coffee one-on-one barista training session and book vouchers from The Little Book Nook, Palmwoods.

All three stories will be published in both papers, and the Sunny Coast Times will feature the winner and two runners-up inside the paper.

The judging panel will be made up of writers and editors from the HT and SCT. Entries are sent to the writers with no names or ages attached, to avoid any bias, and they choose their favourites in order of preference. They are then returned to the editors who will also list their favourites and ascertain the most popular stories.

Interestingly, in previous years, most of the judges had a different number one favourite.

We make the final decision based on the number of votes for each chosen piece. (No correspondence will be entered into regarding the votes.)

There will be one winner, two runners up and five highly commended.

The age range is 10 to 17 years. Due to the differing ages, the overriding criteria is how imaginative, descriptive and evocative a story is – essentially, how a piece made us feel, rather than the grammar and punctuation.

The subject is ‘2020’. You can write about your experiences, or about someone you know, or make something up completely with characters from your imagination, from any point in time looking at the past year.

The word limit is 600 words, but we have accepted pieces running slightly over this.

Entries close on July 31.

The six chosen writers will be announced in the September editions of the Hinterland Times and Sunny Coast Times.

We believe awards can be helpful to galvanise and encourage people to step outside of their comfort zone and to put their work ‘out there’ – but they don’t label your worth as a writer if you don’t ‘win’. Creativity is personal and subjective, and another set of judges may choose completely different stories. We really look forward to reading your ideas.

Send submissions to editor@sunnycoastmedia.com.au for Coast submissions, and editor@hinterlandtimes.com.au for Hinterland entries. Include your name, age, contact details and story title on page 1, with the story on page 2 onwards.

The Sunny Coast Times and Hinterland Times would like to say a big thank you to our generous sponsors this year, supporting creativity in our younger generations with their donations to the award: Montville Coffee, Western Avenue Floral Design and The Little Book Nook.