The entries are in and the winners decided in our Young Writer of the Year Award for 2021.

Judges had an incredibly difficult task deciding on the winners because of the high standard of all the entries, with so many young writers sharing their imaginative work. 

The annual award has run for the past two years in the Hinterland Times, with the Sunny Coast Times this year partnering with its sister paper to present the competition.

We received entries from students aged 10 to 17 all across the coast and hinterland, including Nambour State College, Mountain Creek State High School, Caloundra State School, Pacific Lutheran College, Nambour Christian College, Maleny State School, The River School and Montville State School. Thank you to the schools for encouraging your students to fire up their imaginations and take part – it’s heartwarming to have your support. Thanks also to all the home-schoolers and those who decided to write from home independently of their schools.

The subject was ‘2020’ and the judging panel was made up of writers and editors from the HT and SCT. Entries were judged with no names or ages attached, to avoid any bias, and they chose their favourites in order of preference. 

Our winner, Year 6 student Diya Joy, hails from Maleny, and we had to choose three runners-up, rather than two, as it was too close to call. (Unfortunately, one of our runners-up was away during our photo shoot.) 

Diya, who reveals she’s been “getting into Jane Austen”, says her story was inspired by her interest in history.

“It came to me because I’ve always been studying the Black Plague, and coronavirus and the Black Plague seemed similar to me,” she said.

She says she has no plans to make writing into a career, but she still loves creating stories.

“Because it’s fun, because I can improve on it, because I can sharpen the skill,” she said.

Competition judge and HT writer Gay Liddington said: “I was impressed at the high standard of creative concepts, imagery and writing skills. Entering competitions encourages us to meet deadlines and be the best we can be at that time. 

“Those who enter show courage, belief in themselves and a willingness to learn and grow their craft.”

More than $1000 of prizes were awarded. A big thank you to Western Avenue Floral Design for its generous donation to the prizemoney and the beautiful flowers for our winner; to The Little Book Nook in Palmwoods for the four book vouchers, and to Montville Coffee for the barista experience our winner and runners-up will receive.

The Sunny Coast Times will feature the work of the runners-up in coming months.

Roll on the next one – and keep writing!

WINNER

How History Repeats Itself by Diya Joy 

RUNNERS-UP

Covid Convenience by Jenna Walker 

The Plan by Imogen Piercy 

2020 by Bo Wulf Scott 

HIGHLY COMMENDED

Lost Vegas by Gudrun Harris Rosenfeldt

The Voices That Spoke Back by Hayden Elliott 

SPECIAL MENTIONS FROM ONE OR MORE OF THE JUDGES

Journey to Espher by Jackson Wilson; Covid’s Here by Lucia Gollan; Ginny’s Creativity Spike by Elissa Cathro; The Power of Imagination by Isabella Kosch-Coyne; 2020 by Jayda Cox; and Levvi’s Rollercoaster by Jessica Skye Fitzgerald