SWWV Writers Biennial Literary Award
(these awards are no longer in operation)

At the September 2000 SWWV Committee meeting, a new award was planned to mark the Society of Women Writers Victoria Incorporation. In 2001 the President Janet Howie initiated this competition comprising categories of Poetry, Short Story and Article. This competition was open to women and young female writers Australia-wide. In February 2001, the Biennial Literary Award details were advertised in the WriteAway Newsletter. Margaret Lewis was the Receiving Officer. Entry forms were sent to all interstate Societies of Women Writers, the Victorian Writers Centre magazine Write On, The Australian Writer (FAW) and educational institutes such as TAFE colleges and selected secondary schools.

There were a large number of entries. Poetry 98, Short Story 82, Article 22 and Junior 9.

The Biennial Award was a new beginning of our Society. Presentation of the first Biennial Literary Award took place on 27th July 2001. Phil Ilton judged the Poetry category, Professor Brian Edward judged the Short Story category, Jennie Howell judged the Article category and Helen Annad judged the Junior section.

The Kathryn Purnell Poetry Prize

In 2003 there were 130 entries in the Poetry category; 106 entries in the Short Story category, 31 entries in the Article category and 32 in the Junior section. Judging was carried out by Cate Kennedy, Garth Madsen, Joan Ackland and Justin Treyvaud. The awards were presented on 28th August.

By 2005, due to the low number of entries for the Junior Section, the committee decided that there would be no Young Adult Section. Poetry entries were judged by Dr Robyn Rowland; Short Stories by Dr Molly Travers and Articles by Helen Cerne.

The judges of the 2007 entries were Lorriane McGuigan, Wendy Orr and Michelle Hamer. 2009 judges were Kristen Henry, Molly Travers and Sharon Gray. The winners of the 2009 competition were: Karen Turner (Short Story), Elizabeth M Thompson (Article) and Joy Hooton (Poetry). In 2011, the judges were Ray Mooney and Maxine Beneba Clark. In 2013 Molly Travers judged Short Story and Article, and Maxine Beneba Clark judged Poetry.

Awarded for a poem of no more than 50 lines, this biennial award is named in honour of a much-loved member of the Society. Kathryn conducted poetry workshops in her home for members, who greatly benefited from her expertise and mentoring.

Kathryn Purnell was born in Canada and lived in France, England, Scotland, Egypt, Indonesia and Africa. When she married an Australian she moved permanently to Melbourne. Kathryn continued her education at the University of Melbourne and became a creative writing tutor. Her poetry and prose was published in many magazines and broadcast on ABC radio. She was an editor in the Luna collective and won many awards for her work.

After her death, the Society set up the Kathryn Purnell Poetry Prize in her honour.

The 2014 Kathryn Purnell Poetry Prize was won by Judith Green.

The Margaret Hazzard Literary Award

The 2016 Award is now open, closes Friday 5 August 2016.

Fees: $10 per entry, 3 entries for $20 Prizes: First $400; Second $200; Third $100

Margaret Hazzard Entry Form 2016

marghazzardawardThe winner of this biennial short story award becomes custodian of the Margaret Hazzard Trophy for two years. It was first presented to Barbara Ball in 1976. It is now open to members of all of the Societies of Women Writers in Australia.

The recipient of the award in 2014 was SWWV member Judith Green.

The Nance Donkin Award

Nance Donkin

Previous winners

2009 Dr Ruth Starke
2011 Isobel Carmody
2013 Cassandra Golds
2015 Roseanne Hawke

About the Nance Donkin Award

by Rebecca Maxwell

Nance_Donkin_awardThe Nance Donkin Award, a biennial award for a woman author in Australia who writes for children. Nance’s intention in offering this award was to encourage and make known a good writer for children deserving more recognition. The Society of Women Writers Victoria asks SWW groups in other states for their nominations and forwards the list to a literary judge. In 2015 the judge was Dr Pam McIntyre. Her speech, and the speech of the winner, Roseanne Hawke, can be found in the September 2015 issue of WriteAway.

SWWV offers the Nance Donkin Award biennially to perpetuate the memory of a benefactor to our branch, who was a dynamic and longtime member. Nance had expressed her wish that we validate authors of books for children.

Nance Donkin AM 1915–2008

by Errol Broome, SWWV Literary Patron and friend of Nance Donkin

Nance Donkin was a pioneer and leading light in the world of Australian literature for children. She played a prominent role, too, in many other fields of learning. Nance began her writing career at the age of sixteen as the Maitland Daily Mercury’s first female journalist. She continued in journalism on the Newcastle Herald and later, having married and settled in Melbourne, on ABC radio and television.

As president of the Victorian branch of the Children’s Book Council from 1967 – 1975, Nance initiated a period of development, pushing for travel grants to enable authors to visit country schools.

In 1986, Nance was made a Member of the Order of Australia for service to the community in the fields of children’s literature and adult education. Her series of CAE lectures on women in Australian history resulted in two books highlighting the roles of women. In 1990, she was awarded the Society’s Alice.

Nance was a reader who held strong feminist and political views, and opened her mind to all current issues. She also have a sharp spontaneous sense of humour. She is remembered by the Society of Women Writers Victoria for her long-time support as member and benefactor. The biennial Nance Donkin Award, a fitting memorial to Nance’s contribution to the children of Australia, was in planning before the time of her death in April 2008, was first presented in 2009, and, with the support of her family, will continue to validate the importance of writing for children, as Nance had wished.

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