Attention all local authors, there’s a new literature award on the schedule for 2023 and it’s been created right here in Armidale. The newly formed Australian Science Fiction Writers’ Foundation (ASFWF) is launching a science fiction short story competition and with big plans for the rest of the year, and the future, there’s still time to get on board.
ASFWF is the brainchild of Boobooks Bookstore and Coffee Shop Owner Yvonne Langenberg.
Ms Langenberg has been the owner of Boobooks since 2019 and says at this time there wasn’t much of a science fiction or fiction section in the store.
“Me and co-owner at the time Debby O’Brien realised that this was something the store was lacking, so we created a SciFi and Fantasy room within the store and it’s proved to be one of our most popular sections”.
When asked if SciFi or Speculative Fiction has been something she’s always been interested in Ms Langenberg says read anything as long as it’s well written but SciFi has something special.
“I feel that SciFi is a beautiful fit for modern life…we’re all concerned about the world, politics, technology and future consequences and the SF genre taps into all these things”.
“There isn’t currently a science fiction literature prize on offer in Australia, so this is an opening that clearly needed to be filled.”
“For the last 4-5 years I’ve had this dream in my mind then I met local university student Ash Taylor who basically said why not go for it…I really credit him with being incredibly pivotal in putting together the team that we have now, matching the particular skill sets required to make this a legitimate foundation and competition.”
Ash Taylor, who is currently studying Media and Communications at the University of New England (UNE), and has a passion for writing, now acts as the Creative Director for ASFWF.
“I met Yvonne through my club, the UNE Writer’s Society.”
“When she told me about her idea, I was really excited to get it up and running.”
“Armidale has such a strong and vibrant arts community and I think we should showcase it more.”
“I’m a big fan of science fiction, so being involved with something related to that is really fun for me,” he said.
For a dream that has been brewing for the last 5 years, once the wheels were set in motion the Foundation came together quickly.
The short story competition will be the Foundation’s launch event, and organisers are already thanking their lucky stars for having secured some exceptionally high-quality judges.
The entrants will be judged by Dr James O’Hanlon, Dr Sophie Masson, and Dr Ian Irvine, who are all very well-recognised and respected names in the writing and academic community.
Entry is open to any unpublished story written by an author who currently resides in Australia.
There are three age groups to be judged: adult writers over 18 years, youth writers between 11-17 years of age and primary school-aged writers between 7-11 years of age. There is even a colouring competition for the youngest enthusiasts.
Guidelines and entry requirements are all slightly different for each category so it’s best to hop on the website and familiarise yourself with the rules before putting pen to paper (or fingers to keys).
Prizes are also up for grabs with the adult winner to be awarded $300, the youth winner $150 and primary school writers winning a certificate and book.
The submission window will open on April 3 and will close on Friday the 26th of May with judging expected to take around 2 months.
Ms Langenberg has very big aspirations for this to just be the tip of the iceberg for ASFWF saying “there will definitely be a function towards the end of the year to celebrate the winners, but my dream is that we will eventually grow to something much bigger – hopefully a 4–5-day futuristic festival where we can talk about what the future means and looks like to the region and beyond”.
To find out more about the foundation or how to enter the writing contest visit the ASFWF website.
Like what you’re reading? Support the New England Times to keep providing hyper-local news, for the New England and by the New England, pay wall free. Make a small contribution today.