$1100 Mentorship Up For Grabs In The Young Writer Story Competition


Closing soon! (30 June)

Young writers should be putting the finishing touches to their manuscripts with the deadline for the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival, Young Writer Story Competition, Heading North, closing soon.

With a mentorship valued at $1,100 up for grabs, Siboney Duff, Writer Development Manager, believes this is a unique opportunity for young writers living in the Northern Rivers region: “The competition is a rare chance for budding authors in our area to take part in an event that is gaining serious literary status.”

The competition also provides the winner with the opportunity to showcase their talent to the wider literary community. “The winner will not only receive a complimentary day pass to the Festival, but will have the chance to participate in a Festival panel discussion as well as having their story published in the Northern Rivers Writers’ Centre member’s magazine northerly,” says Duff.

Daniel Ducrou, ex-Byron writer (The Byron Journals) and the judge of the 2010 Heading North competition, recommends young people consider entering competitions if they are serious about writing. “You are not going to win every competition you enter. But like playing an instrument, it takes practice and hard work,” says Ducrou.


This year’s competition will be judged by last year’s winner, Alexandra Neill who, at just nineteen, is already writing for Channel Ten’s Good News Week. “Having the chance to attend the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival and read part of my winning story on a panel was amazing,” Neill says. “People came up all weekend to congratulate me. I met some wonderful people and opened some quite exciting doors.”

Duff encourages young people who are interested in writing, or passionate about reading, to visit the Festival, particularly on the Sunday. “A major part of the Sunday program is the Youth Day which will be packed with readings, panels and performances interspersed with the opportunity to participate in book signings,” says Duff. “There is also the chance to get up close and personal with Amberley Lobo and Kayne Tremills from ABC3 who will be MC’ing in the Youth Tent.”

Amberley and Kayne will introduce a variety of international and Australian writers including America YA writer Maria V Snyder; Australian writers and illustrators Alison Lester and Martine Murray; actor, presenter and writer Tristan Bancks of Nitboy and Mac Slater fame; picture book writer Tony Wilson; the Gold Inky, Teenage Choice Award winning writer James Roy; Charlie Pickering from TV’s Your Generation and Wendy Harmer with her delightful Pearlie series of books.

Open to writers aged 16-25 and who are living in the Northern Rivers Writers’ Centre catchment area – north to Tweed, south to Taree and west to Kyogle – the Heading North competition is now in its fourth year. The winner will be announced on Sunday, August 7 at the Byron Bay Writers’ Festival.

Heading North is generously sponsored by Byron & District ADFAS and Bangalow Lions. “The prize is up there with the biggest awards for young writers,” Neill says.

Duff advises that manuscripts are to be no more than 1000 words and applications close June 30: “So if you haven’t started, get writing.”

The Festival – Feel the Passion – is being held August 5-7. To purchase tickets www.byronbaywritersfestival.com.au or call 1300 368 552. To download a competition application visit www.nrwc.org.au.

Bio – Alexandra Neill

Alexandra Neill (19) won the Heading North Short Story Prize in 2010. She has written for Good News Week and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Great Debate and is one half of the NSW Ambassador for National Young Writers Month. She shares her head with a cast of imaginary people and dreams of one day writing a television miniseries. In the meantime she spends a lot of time on Twitter.

She blogs at adventures-in-tv-land.blogspot.com