Arts / Collis writes a love poetry winner

Michael Pettersson with Paul Collis last night

A BOOK of love poetry has been awarded the ACT Book of the Year at the ACT Writers Centre awards at Ainslie Arts Centre last night.

Paul Collis, a Barkindji man from Bourke, NSW, and a PhD graduate from the University of Canberra, was on hand to accept his award from Michael Pettersson, Member for Yerrabi, deputising for Arts Minister Gordon Ramsay.

Merlinda Bobis was awarded the $2000 highly commended award for her poetry anthology, “Accidents of Composition” while shortlisted were also Jackie French for her fire story, “Facing the Flame”, Omar Musa for his book of love poems, “Millefiori”, and Rachel Sanderson for her novel, “The Space Between”.

“Love poems are the hardest kind to write”, Collis later told the crowd of more than 100 members of the arts, writing and publishing community, before reading from his winning work, “Dancing Home”.

The evening also featured the named awards and fellowships administered by the Writers’ Centre.

The June Shenfield Poetry Award was awarded to Natalie Cook, for her poem, “Incursion, Extinctions”.

The Marjorie Graber-McInnis short story award went to Amanda McLeod, for “Loyal Animals” and runner up went to Kerrie Nelson for the story, “Rollover”.

Highly commended was awarded to Pamela Blakely for “#CaraToo” and Maurits Zwankhuizen for “Shade”.

The Anne Edgeworth young writers fellowship was presented to Gemma Killen by the late Edgeworth’s son, Tony Godfrey-Smith, who will receive support from the Anne Edgeworth Trust to help her develop her craft and skills in writing for screen with a focus on comedy scripts about the everyday experiences of LGBTQI people.

The ACT Publishing Awards, which recognise, reward and promote writing by ACT region authors that has been published by small publishers or have been self-published:

The fiction winner was Kirsty Budding, for “Paper Cuts”.

Fiction highly commended: Stephanie Buckle, “Habits of Silence”, Catherine McCullagh, “Dancing with Deception” and Jennifer Shapcott, “Long Odds”.

The nonfiction winner was Robert Lehane, for “Verity”.

Nonfiction highly commended: Terry Fewtrell, George, “Elise and a Mandarin”, Jennifer Gall, “Looking for Rose Paterson”, and Peter Stanley, “The Crying Years”.

The children’s category winner was Maura Pierlot for “Trouble in Tune Town”.

Highly commended in children’s category: Tania McCartney, “George, This is Banjo”, James Sanderson, “Sherlock Holmes Case of the Stolen Crown” and “Sherlock Holmes Howl of the Baskervilles.”

The Poetry winner was Paul Cliff, “A Constellation of Abnormalities”.

Highly commended in poetry: SK Kelen, “Yonder Blue Wild”, Moya Pacey, “Black Tulips” and Sarah Rice, “Fingertip of the Tongue”.

The evening concluded with a round of farewells from newly permanent director of the Writers’ Centre, Paul Bissett, to retiring director, Sarah Mason, and staffers Elisabeth Howie and Sophie Mannix.

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