“Japanese Maple Tree” is a story I entered into the SBS Emerging Writers’ Competition in September 2021. They were looking for bold, new diverse voices. The theme of this year’s competition was “Between Two Worlds”.
All about writing competition
“An initiative from SBS Voices, the competition aims to uncover bold new voices that reflect the diversity of contemporary Australia by inviting aspiring writers to share their stories and have their voices heard.” You can read all about this exciting announcement here.
One of the judges was Behrouz Boochani, whom I learnt later is a Kurdish-Iranian writer, journalist and filmmaker. Behrouz has spent six years of his life on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea. It was four years of it in the Australian-run Manus Island detention centre. His memoir “No Friend But the Mountains” is written in Farsi, using what’s app from Manus Prison and translated by Omid Tofighian, which won many awards. I haven’t yet read his book. If you are interested, you can listen to it through audible or buy the Paperback etc.
Cultural-related programs always attract me. Reading about Judges “Tara June Winch“ and “Behrouz Boochani” who were both unknown and interestingly familiar to me, also the $5000 prize didn’t leave me any doubt that I must enter this competition. Listen to Tara’s interview about one of her books, and I found it quite interesting. I haven’t had a chance to read her books yet, either. You can find them on Amazon if you are interested.
I had to reduce my original story to 2000 words to be able to enter the competition. Not very surprisingly, I didn’t receive any recognition or award. After all, my voice has always been too bold for some to consider it 😉
After reading one of the judges’ interviews (here below), published before announcing the winners, I came to conclusion that my story was noticed. After all, it is like we are all talking about the same tree!
Read about winners and their brilliant stories here.
SBS also publish 30 of these stories, which enter the competition each year. Roots: Home is Who We Are: Voices from the SBS Emerging Writers’ Competition Paperback – 28 July 2021.
As Jennie Rooney once said, ”Reading novels(stories) allows you to be put in someone else’s head for a while, and to explore a different life. It is an act of empathy, so to that extent, any novel (story) will have something to teach us”