Newcastle writer Leanne Paine has been awarded the 2023 Fresh Ink Emerging Writer Prize, which includes $5000 for professional development and a week-long residency at Varuna in the Blue Mountains.
Leanne is a student at TAFE NSW Hunter Street and will graduate with a Diploma in Screen and Media in December. In 2024, she plans to complete an Advanced Diploma and find entry-level employment in film and TV. “Having written some short stories, I’m wanting to write longer prose,” she said. “Thank you to the sponsors and the festival for this prize. I’m overwhelmed.”
This is the third year of the prize, which was established by Newcastle Writers Festival to support emerging regional NSW writers.
Leanne’s entry Lemons tells the story of “a teenage girl who travels by train to Sydney with her sister. Next day she visits her grandfather at hospital”. Judge Wendy James said: “The extract is equally concise, in fact the shortest of all the entries, but the writing is raw and real — and the voice is one that isn’t easily forgotten. This remarkably compressed piece shows considerable narrative skill: the adolescent’s-eye view is utterly believable, the narrator is sharp and observant and manages to move us without ever veering into the sentimental, and the control of tension and mood is impressive. The author’s professional development plan for training in film looks great—and achievable—but we’d love to see a novel, even short stories!”
Congratulations to the shortlisted writers Anne Greenwood (Tamworth), Christine Johnson (Wyoming), Acey Monaro (Newcastle), Briony O’Hara (Kurri Kurri), and Holly Trenaman (Woonona).
Thank you to the judging panel – Wendy James, Amal Awad, and Chris Flynn – and to Elephant in the Room wine label for providing the prize money, Varuna, and Create NSW.
Submissions for the 2024 prize will open in July.