The Territory’s most creative young writers have been announced, with 9-year-old Liora Devlin-Aylott being crowned as the 2023 overall winner for her book ‘Roots to the Heart’.
The judges, which included Barry Jonsberg, Bea Staley, Don Christophersen, Carla Eisemberg and Anneke Barnes, said that Liora’s book was a “cleverly constructed story that manages to be both an empathetic insight into personal relationships and introduces a satisfying element of the fantastical”.
Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis praised the creativity and imagination of all the award winners.
“The Young Territory Author Awards go from strength to strength each year, and I am thrilled to see the winners who were chosen from a very competitive field in each category,” Mr Vatskalis said.
“I would like to thank the judges, who had the tough job of selecting the winners, and to all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to bring these awards together.
“We have seen previous award winners go on to become successful writers, and even be involved in the judging panel, which is something I am immensely proud of,” he said.
The awards aim to encourage literacy among young Territorians as well as getting young people to express themselves through writing stories.
There were a number of impressive winners, including Maya Searl who won the ‘8 and under’ category for her book, ‘The Bird and the Caterpillar’ which was described as a “beautifully illustrated story of an unlikely friendship between the bird and the caterpillar”.
Demilade Kuteyi was the winner of the ‘9 to 12’ category for their book ‘The Narrator and the Interrupting Princess,’ with the judges appreciating the playfulness and joy of the book, both in the story telling and illustrations.
The ‘Heart of the Birchwood’ book, which asked the reader to “view nature and the world around us through magical eyes”, written by Coriel Stay, was the winner of the 13 to 15 year old category, with judges appreciating the sense of adventure and friendship that ran deep within the book.
Pryha Allen-Bell was the winner of the 16 to 18 year-old category for her book ‘Stupidly Dysfunctional’, which judges said was a “a well-written dystopian story that manages to pack an interesting plot and good characterisation into a relatively short story”.
Palmerston College’s Special Education Centre was the school winner for their book ‘STORIES: A Children’s Anthology’, which included a collection of stories from sci-fi to historical fiction, with the judges appreciating the “diversity of the stories, and the sense of teamwork and peer support that came through in this anthology”.
The Young Territory Author Awards program was launched by City of Darwin Libraries in 1991 to encourage the development of literacy in the Northern Territory and has grown in success each year with over 140 entries received this year.
“The awards help to highlight the career pathways and resources available for young authors as well as to build stronger connections between children and their local libraries,” Mr Vatskalis said.
The full list of winners is as follows:
- 2023 Overall Winner: Liora Devlin-Aylott, Book: ROOTS TO THE HEART
- 8 and under:
- Winner: Maya Searl, Book: THE BIRD AND THE CATERPILLAR
- Highly Commended: Banjo Beynon, Book: THE HEDGEHOG AND THE FOX
- Encouragement Award: Harry Rowlands, Book: AT THE QUARRY
- 9 to 12:
- Winner: Demilade Kuteyi, Book: THE NARRATOR AND THE INTERRUPTING PRINCESS
- Highly Commended: Leo Brown, Book: THE MAGIC CAST NETS
- Encouragement Award: Adele Brennan, Book: SUBJECT 001
- 13 to 15:
- Winner: Coriel Stay, Book: HEART OF THE BIRCHWOOD
- Highly Commended: Maya Purdon, Book: A HAND IN THE NIGHT
- Encouragement Award: Ramneet Gill & Kim Nguyen,Book: THE MYSTERY OF MY MISSING SISTER
- 16 to 18:
- Winner: Pryha Allen-Bell, Book: STUPIDLY DYSFUNCTIONAL
- Highly Commended: Gabriella Francis, Book: COASTAL STRAWBERRIES, JUICY ORANGES & SHOREBIRDS: THE GHOSTS OF MY CHILDHOOD
- School Winner: Palmerston College, Special Education Centre, Book: STORIES: A CHILDREN’S ANTHOLOGY
- CBCA Wow Award: Dela Jones, Book: PROTEST
- Regional Winners:
- Alice Springs: Coriel Stay, Book: HEART OF THE BIRCHWOOD
- Katherine: Mia Taylor,Book: BALUNG
- Litchfield: Pryha Allen-Bell, Book: STUPIDLY DYSFUNCTIONAL
- Palmerston: Leo Brown, Book: THE MAGIC CAST NETS
- East Arnhem: Banjo Beynon, Book: THE HEDGEHOG AND THE FOX