Some of our best young writers have been officially recognised as part of the City of Darwin’s 2021 Young Territory Author Awards.
The awards are now in their 31st year, with 2021 attracting more than 200 entries.
Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis said it was unfortunate Darwin’s COVID lockout had seen the cancellation of the awards ceremony, scheduled for last Friday (5 November).
“But the show must go on. So, this year the award winners were announced in a virtual ceremony online today, with our winners being recognised at a special ceremony next week.
“When they were launched back in 1991, the idea behind the awards was to encourage and develop literacy among young Territorians. And we want to continue promoting that concept.”
While the awards are a City of Darwin event, they attract entries from around the Territory, including places like Alice Springs and Arnhem Land.
“This year’s crop of aspiring authors has again demonstrated the high levels of literacy and talent we have among young people here in the Territory.”
Among the entries was a book of short stories written by children from Alice Springs written in the Pertame language. It is estimated there are just 20 surviving Pertame speakers and the children’s short stories about super-heroes are part of an effort to keep the language alive.
“The awards are very much a celebration of language and I don’t think there can be any greater tribute to a language than working to keep it alive.
“Language, regardless of who we are, is absolutely central to our identity and our existence,” Mr Vatskalis said.
“These awards encourage young people to consider their language, it’s place in their lives, and how they can develop their ideas through the use of words.
“And who knows? These awards could prove to be the launch-pad for one, or more, of this year’s entrants to one day become professional writers, or maybe even full-time authors.
“And if that doesn’t happen, let’s hope the young people who entered never lose their connection with words and the joy of writing,” Mr Vatskalis said.
And the 2021 winners are:
2021 Young Territory Author of the Year – Rowan McGrath for A Frozen Flame
2021 School Winner – Pertame School for Pertame Ketyeya Mapa Yeya-iperra
CBCA Wow Award – Mai Morante for When the Suns not Shining
Alice Springs – Coriel Stay for The Legend of Phalanx Rilmont
Darwin – Mila Gusmao, Hannah Argoon & Mikayla Seden for Cat and a Pickle
East Arnhem – Zoe Pettiford for My Life in Yirrkala
Katherine – Abigail Grogan for Gold Magic
Litchfield – Lillian Ansell for The Tawny Frogmouth
Palmerston – Zara Gottfried for The Seeds I Plant
Wagait – Chay Keating for First and Foremostly
8 years and under
Winner – Lucinda Ronayne for Whoopsie
Highly Commended – Anastasia Banson for My Special Baby Brother
Encouragement Award – Haziq Ali for The Deep Blue Sea
Winner – Freya Galati for Starless
Highly Commended – Amy Elliott for Legend
Encouragement Award – Akein Udhaka Hikkaduwa for The Passing
Encouragement Award – Amy Devlin-Aylott for The Mystery at Number 19
Winner – Geliane Vergara for Elizabeth
Highly Commended – Olivia Wall for God’s Sacrifice
Winner – Elizabeth Mullavey for The World That Cannot Be Seen
Highly Commended – Jules Gabor for The Things I Never Said
Encouragement Award – Abigail Kube and Kelly Chen for Manna
Contact: Fred McCue on 0466 207 090 or 0401 119 792