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Literary prize still growing

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December 07, 2017

Open section winner Alan Mathews, Robyn Black and Pat Patt.

Winners and shortlisted entrants Sanuda Diyagama, Maggy Sessions, Alan Mathews, Grace McKeown, Coralie Guthrie, Heidi Smith, Sophia Uniacke and Jenna Birchall.

Sam Furphy spoke about his great-great-uncle Joseph Furphy, who the awards are named after.

Suellen Drysdale talks to those at Sunday’s awards.

From the humble pen to the typewriter and onwards to the PC or tablet.

The Joseph Furphy Commemorative Literary Prize, which celebrated its 25th edition on Sunday, has watched the evolution of how its entries are crafted.

Alan Mathews, who has been involved with GV Writers’ Group since 1973, took home the poetry prize in the open section for Sunset Country.

‘‘It feels great,’’ Mr Mathews said, adding he was proud to have been part of the area’s literary scene for more than four decades.

Fellow open section finalist Pat Patt described Mr Mathews as ‘‘one of our treasures’’.

Among other winners was Heidi Smith for The Other Side of the River in the short story competition’s junior section, while Alysha Chen won the youth poetry competition with The Swings and the Wind.

Sam Furphy from Furphy Foundry said it was terrific to be at the awards on Sunday, where he spoke about his great-great-uncle, the late writer Joseph Furphy, who the awards are named after.

He said it was wonderful to see the award reach the 25-year milestone, with support from Goulburn Valley Regional Library, after starting from humble beginnings.

‘‘It has really developed, and in particular this year we have contestants from all over Australia, as well as the normal strong field from the local region,’’ Mr Furphy said.

This year’s award had almost 250 contestants enter across five categories.

Mr Furphy said the awards provided writers an opportunity to compete and receive feedback on their work.

It remained his hope the award could continue to prosper for years to come and that the profile of the prize would increase.

‘‘We now see it as a national award,’’ Mr Furphy said.

‘‘And I think in the years to come, with our continued support, it really will develop into a very well recognised literary award.

‘‘I’m looking forward to many more years ahead.’’

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