Living Stories

The Living Stories Western Sydney Writing Prize is a creative writing competition for residents of Western Sydney and Wingecarribee Shire, which is home to over 2.5 million Australians originating from 180 countries, speaking almost 100 different languages, and residing in 14 local government areas.

The competition began in 2021 with assistance from NSW Government as part of its support to the Arts sector recovering from the first year of the COVID pandemic and presented in conjunction with WestLit Libraries, an association of library services from across the region. The competition was the first of its kind for Western Sydney. We were also grateful for support from Australian Catholic University who were the category sponsor for the 16-18 year old category.

The thematic prompt for the competition was Are We Here Yet? To assist the writers we offered in excess of 40 free workshops in libraries across Western Sydney and online. There are winner and highly commended entries awarded in each age category in each participating LGA. The winners then go onto a second round of judging to determine over all winners and highly commended stories and poems. All the 67 regional winners and highly commended work get published in an anthology. In 2021 the book was to be launched at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre by our patrons Her Excellency The Honourable Margaret Beazley AO QC, Governor of NSW and Mr Dennis Wilson but that was the first day of the extended lockdown that characterised life in Western Sydney in the second half of that year. Instead the launch was held virtually in a lovely ceremony when such things were relatively novel.

In 2022, with no dedicated COVID recovery funds from Government we felt that a grassroots writing competition to provide a platform and visibility for the voices in Western Sydney was important. This year the prompt was things unsaid. In 2022 we welcomed Booktopia as the category sponsor for the 10-12 year old category joining Australian Catholic University. In 2023 we are excited that James Kirby Foundation will also be partnering with us. A competition of this size is not an insignificant undertaking and we sincerely thank all our partners, library staff, writers and contributors for their contributions.

The 2022 awards announcement and launch of the book will be held at the Parramatta Chamber of Commerce on 18th July.

We see the competition contributes to the central mission of WestWords to provide pathways and opportunities for the stories of Western Sydney to be celebrated and heard. Click on the icons below for more information, to read and enjoy the work emanating from this richly diverse part of Australia.

Yearly Competitions