The first week of September every year is History Week in NSW and Hunter Writers Centre is proud to partner with Lake Macquarie libraries to present a wonderful program of local, national and global history. Talks, presentations, interactive displays and interviews are delivered at Toronto, Speers Point and Belmont libraries. Click here to view the 2018 program held 1-9 September and mark your diaries for another informative, fun-filled week in 2019.
Mark your diaries for Friday 6th April at 5.30pm – the eve of the Newcastle Writers Festival – to hear competition judge, Ryan O’Neill, discuss short story writing and his experience judging the competition. Following this live chat, we will announce the prizes: $3000 – first prize (University of Newcastle); $1700 – second prize (Newcastle Law Society); $1000 – third prize (Westfield) plus 2 highly commended awards, 2 commended and several local awards and we will launch the 2018 anthology.
Short story writing is a demanding craft. There are several key aspects you must focus on due to the restricted length. For example, the opening line must grab the reader’s attention and this is a consistent feature of the finalists’ works that have been selected over the past years of the Newcastle Short Story Award. The opening line does not need to be comedic and entertaining, although that is one way to engage, but it should arrest the reader’s attention and pull them in. Starting with a description of the weather, or a similar scene setting that plods towards the action of the story can disengage the reader before he/she has read very far. Here we have assembled a collection of Newcastle Short Story finalists’ opening lines that make the reader ‘sit up’ and want to read on:
You can drive a pretty hard bargain with a socket wrench. – from ‘Wrench’ by Rafael S.W
Jeff spent sixty years trying to kill me. – from ‘Heart Murmurs’ by Joanna Nell
She truly thought she was better, but after she decided to rescue that stupid dog she realised she wasn’t. – from ‘Mad Dog Woman’ by Marcelle McDonald
It makes one feel differently about the beginning when one already knows the end to be a failure. – from ‘The Red Wallpaper’ Elianna Han
‘You know, I was an immortal once,’ said Grandfather. – from ‘The Land of Always Living’ Claire Bradshaw
“You shouldn’t name something you’re intending to eat.” – from The Names of Things Angus Gaunt
The house should be empty. – from ‘The Remains’ Karen Whitelaw
When the taxi arrived, Eileen was grumbling to her mute budgerigar. – from ‘A Silver House’ Joseph Sexton
My neighbour is sick. I hear him coughing at all hours, especially in the middle of the night. I am not sure if he sleeps. He must, I suppose, or he would be dead. I have heard you die faster from not sleeping than from not eating. Thirst will always get you before hunger or tiredness, but lack of air will kill you before anything. – from ‘The Man Next Door’ by Johnathon Hadwen