4 July 2023

Eurobodalla Mayor's writing contest is back to showcase kids' ways with words

| Claire Sams
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man and girl

Eurobodalla Mayor Mathew Hatcher with last year’s writing competition winner, Bella Morris from Batemans Bay High. Photo: Eurobodalla Shire Council.

Young people in Eurobodalla Shire are being invited to share their writing talents as an annual competition returns for 2023.

Mayor Mathew Hatcher said the Mayor’s Writing Competition was designed to keep kids creative.

“It’s a long-standing competition that’s always focused on encouraging kids in the shire to continue writing,” he said.

“As we transition everything in our lives across to digital, there’s a worry creative writing can be lost, so we want to encourage it.”

Entries can be in the form of poems, essays or short stories.

“We just want people to be creative – that’s what this is all about,” he said.

“We really want to see the kids getting creative and deliver whatever it is that they want to talk about.”

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In 2023, the theme is Change – something Eurobodalla youths have had to accept a lot of in recent years.

“In picking the theme, I really try to reflect something that’s been around in the last year, and the lives of young people have had to change with the pandemic,” Mayor Hatcher said.

“For this, we want them to think about how characters in a story change, how the seasons change, and so on.

“What in their lives has changed over the last 12 months?”

The overall winner will take home the Syd Hayes Creative Writing Award, a handcrafted pen by artist Richard Turvey and the Mayor’s Writing Competition Perpetual Shield to display at their school.

The competition is open to students aged five to 18 who live or attend school in Eurobodalla Shire.

“I think it provides the chance for some healthy competition,” Mayor Hatcher said.

“That’s between classmates, between classes within the same school and then school-on-school as students compete for the win.”

Bella Morris, a Batemans Bay High student, took home the trophy in 2022.

“Hopefully the competition creates a bit of rivalry and encourages more students to enter and get the shield at their school,” Mayor Hatcher said.

Additionally, all finalists will receive a copy of the Mayor’s Writing Competition Anthology 2023 with their work.

“There is also a presentation day, which is always a great day,” Mayor Hatcher said.

“It brings all the finalists from the different schools together with their parents for an awards presentation and also promotes writing in the shire.”

Other prizes include book vouchers, family passes to Mogo Wildlife Park, and stationery.

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For students unsure of what to write, Mayor Hatcher said they should head to their nearest library branch for some tips.

“I would lean on your teachers as well,” he said.

“That’s what they’re there for.”

While entries dipped during the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Hatcher said they picked up in 2022 and the council was expecting a strong showing this year.

“I think that decline was because the kids weren’t in school and they weren’t always being encouraged to be creative, to get involved in creative writing,” he said.

“We really want to push hard to get the competition going again.”

Entries close at 5 pm on 25 August and can be submitted online, by email or by post.

Further information, including an entry form, is available via Eurobodalla Shire Council’s website or by visiting a library branch.

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