Calling all writers, it’s time to start thinking about those winning words you know you can put together. Our 2017 short story competition has just opened and you have until November 30th to create and polish you entries, which for the first time we are accepting by email. If you don’t enter you won’t win. Simple really. So get writing and do look at our competition page for more information and to download the entry form. Good luck.
takahē magazine is delighted to announce the winner of our inaugural essay competition 2017.
The team would like to thank all entrants for participating. We acknowledge the high standard of entrants and wish them well in their future endeavours.
It’s Not a Life by Robyn Maree Pickens
The winning essay will be published online in takahē 90
Highly commended: Canoeing to Jerusalem by James Ackhurst
Special mentions: License to Laugh by Emer Lyons, and Tūrangawaewae by Nadine Millar
Judge’s Report – Erin Harrington, Lecturer in Cultural Studies at the University of Canterbury and emeritus takahē Essays Editor:
This is the first time takahē has run an essay competition off this type, and it was interesting to note a few prevailing trends in the pieces submitted. Many entries were personal essays or works of memoir. Certain themes dominated, especially issues surrounding belonging, nationhood, whakapapa, history, memory, and identity. Some stayed quite close to home, while others looked further afield, offering intriguing perspectives on topics as varied as everyday items, crime and punishment, geology, and infrastructure. It was heartening, too, to see a genuine variety of perspectives, with Māori, Pākehā, Pasifika, and immigrant points of view all present. This made for some very entertaining and enlightening reading.
The essays that most caught my eye were those that demonstrated a flair for language and prose, put forward a clear argument or point of view, and exhibited a degree of sophistication in the way that they explored their chosen topic. While many of the best retained a first-person perspective, they used this as a point of departure; they generally looked out, rather than in. In doing so, these essays were successful in exploring sometimes weighty and complex topics and ideas with a combination of thoughtfulness, wit and insight.
The winning essay, “It’s Not a Life”, starts with an anecdotal account of the author’s experiences in the sort of draughty, damp, mouldy houses that characterise New Zealand’s shameful housing stock, and then uses this as context for a perceptive account of power, poverty and art. This is a well-considered and detailed essay that demonstrates a flair for language and a dry sense of humour. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.
While there is only space for one winning essay, I would also like to particularly congratulate the authors of three other essays: “Canoeing to Jerusalem”, a piece about James K. Baxter, poetry, and national literatures; “Licence to Laugh”, which interrogates sexism and the representation of women (and men cross-dressing as women) in theatre, comedy and television; and “Tūrangawaewae”, which explores the importance of stories and storytelling in our personal and national histories.
I appreciate the efforts of all those who entered work. Ngā mihi nui.
Sun shining, birds singing, and keyboards clattering.
Nineteen sleeps to go.
Plenty of time to spit and polish.
Winner gets the money ($250) and publication, not to mention – glory. What a brilliant start to the new year.
Made any writing resolutions? Not too late!
Sharing from my own extensive list: finish what I start; try something new; challenge myself to write out of the comfort zone, be brave.
There are more but I don’t want to overload.
Looking forward to opening all the essay entries – it will be like Christmas all over again (without the expensive and heart-burn). You don’t have to restrict yourself to one entry.
2016 Poetry competition is now closed and following on from Joanna’s blog: I’m singing the praises of poets.
What an outstanding effort:
Three hundred and thirty seven (337) poems have been subjected to a rigorous administrative procedure (can’t divulge sensitive details, but a hot soak and a few peeled grapes will go along way to restore my equilibrium). They have been parceled and are now winging their way, via pigeon post, to our judge. When I told him how many poems to expect, he was absolutely delighted and can’t wait to read them all.
As for the results, they will be published on the website in December, when the next issue of the magazine comes out. All poems entered into the competition will be considered for publication, and any selections notified by the end of November. Please note that all poems entered are free to be sent out elsewhere after 1 December 2016.
Thank you all for your entries and I wish each and every one of you the very best for the competition. Take care and keep writing.
Short Story Competition 2016 Short List:
We are thrilled to offer a big congratulations to those of you who have reached the short list.
In no particular order:
Kokako – Hamilton
Helicopter – Dunedin
The Girl with the Spoon in Her Eye – Dunedin
Family Likenesses – Wellington
The Dead Man – France
Happiness – Auckland
Doling Out Dad – Dunedin
Blue – Christchurch
Names and final placings will be revealed along with our Judge’s report in August. It is great to see stories from such a broad regional and international spread.
A huge thank you to each and every writer who made the effort, wrote, polished and sent us stories. Without you this competition does not happen. You are all stars.
It is never easy choosing and our judge has said that she has been impressed by such a wide and interesting range of topics and approaches.
I read a good piece of advice for writers the other day, apparently we should read twice as much as we write. So if the sun won’t shine and the washing won’t dry, at least I can console myself that reading a chapter or two is NOT wasted time. Happy reading, happy writing, happy days!