2020 Blacktown Mayoral Creative Writing Prize

Competition guidelines and criteria
Welcome to the Mayoral Creative Writing Prize 2020. It is open to adults and children (aged 8 to 17 years) who live in Blacktown city. The poems and short stories must be works of fiction.

All entries can be either poetry or short stories. They will be judged in the following age categories, 8 – 11 years, 12 – 14 years, 15 – 17 years and adult (18+).

The whole world
at home.

It used to be where we came back to after work. After school. A place of family. A place for relaxation.
And suddenly the whole world was at home.
And, at least for a while, home was our entire world
as, through our screens, we entered the homes, and the worlds, of strangers.

Your work will be judged on how original it is, how you have constructed your story or poem, the use of language, (including creative expression, grammar, sentence structure, punctuation and spelling) and the way you have developed characters, atmosphere, or setting or used words in a creative way.

It is critical that this work is original and not copied in any way. Copied work will be disqualified.

An independent judging panel will assess all submissions.

For more information, please contact WestWords: Western Sydney’s Literature Development Organisation, on 8677 4815 or by email: admin@westwords.com.au

The total prize pool is $1,600. Winners aged 17 or younger will receive $100 and their school, if located in Blacktown city, will receive a corresponding $100 as an
incentive to encourage the budding authors of our local area. Adult winners will receive $200.

Age                Categories   Prize  School prize
8 -11 years   Poetry              $100    $100
Short Story     $100    $100
12-14 years  Poetry             $100     $100
Short Story    $100      $100
15-17 years  Poetry              $100     $100
Short Story     $100     $100
Adult              Poetry             $200          –
Short Story    $200          –

Announcement of the prize winners
The presentation ceremony will take place on Thursday 3 December 2020 at 6 pm to 7 pm. All winners and Highly Commended recipients will be invited to attend.

Submission criteria
1. The work must be original and completed in the last 6 months. Entries can be either:
• poem, maximum of 25 lines
• short story, maximum of 500 words.
2. Only one entry per person is permitted in each category.
3. Each entry must have one entry per online form.
4. Members of staff, members of Council, their partners and members of their immediate families are ineligible to enter this competition.
5. The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
6. All participants will receive a letter recognising their participation. A presentation ceremony will be held on Thursday 3 December 2020 at 6 pm to 7 pm, where the winners will be announced.
7. Submit entries with a completed entry form online.

Application form:

A Priceless Opportunity for Illustrators

A week in residence at Pinerolo: The Children’s Book Cottage at Blackheath, in the beautiful Blue Mountains. The self-contained, self-catering cottage offers tranquility and an inspiring working environment with electric blankets, a wood-burning fire and air-conditioning, for cosiness and comfort in all weather. Fully equipped kitchen for your convenience.

WestWords & Pinerolo have partnered to offer this unique program, aiming to extend an illustrator’s knowledge of picture book creation and design, the process of publishing and the publishing industry. Applications from Western Sydney illustrators are encouraged.
One place is available during 2020:
3 — 8 November. Date negotiable.

Fill out the form here >> WWPINEROLO APPLICATION FORM 2020 
Applications to be sent via email to: admin@westwords.com.au 

Your working environment will include:
• Art working area and facilities • Phone and Internet connection
• Daily consultation/mentorship with Margaret Hamilton AM, a professional publisher of picture books for over thirty years.

Supported and enhanced by:
• Extensive collection of original picture book artwork
• Comprehensive collection of Australian picture books
• Reference library of books about authors, illustrators and children’s books

• Collection of working drawings, roughs, storyboards and pre-publication materials.
• Time to work uninterrupted.

Located approx. 2.5km from Blackheath Station and village. Travel to and from Blackheath not included.
Applications close 5pm, 31 August 2020

For more information and application details:
Pinerolo: www.pinerolo.com.au / WestWords: www.westwords.com.au
Enquiries P: 02 4784 8492/ 02 8821 9178 / E: hamiltonbooks@iprimus.com.au / admin@westwords.com.au
Applications to be sent via email to: admin@westwords.com.au

Applications are invited from emerging or early career illustrators who have begun or will commence work on artwork for a children’s picture book during the course of their proposed residency. Applications will be selected by a representative panel from WestWords, Pinerolo and the publishing industry.

Fill out the form here >> WWPINEROLO APPLICATION FORM 2020 
Applications to be sent via email to: admin@westwords.com.au 

WestWords-Varuna Fellowship

WestWords and Varuna have once again partnered for the WestWords Varuna Western Sydney Residential Program offering four western Sydney emerging writers from diverse backgrounds the opportunity of a six-day residency at Varuna. Joining them will be a live-in mentor who will be chosen in response to the successful candidates so that the mentorship offered is tailored to the people and their work.

The residency will run from Monday 19th – 25th  October and is limited to only four participants and will include:

  • a mix of mentorship, private writing time as well as social time for unstructured conversation
  • One-on-one mentorship/consultation
  • Six nights’ accommodation at Varuna including meals

The residency is intended for the development of a current project where a significant amount of work has been completed.

Key dates
Applications will open 1 June, 2020 and close midnight 16 July, 2020.
The residency will run from Monday 19th – 25th  October.

What we are looking for?

The fellowships will be awarded to emerging writers from Western Sydney who display exceptional promise in their writing style and the premise of the work. WestWords welcomes manuscripts from writers working in all creative forms, including fiction, drama, poetry, children’s books, and narrative non-fiction.


There are no application fees or program fees associated with this program.

Click here for application form and to submit.

COV-art: WestWords Fundraising Auction
Help our young people tell their stories/giving Western Sydney a voice.

Our Online Fundraising Auction has closed.
WestWords conducted an online fundraising auction of beautiful illustrated works to continue to build our children and young people’s literacy skills and provide a pathway of literary opportunity.

We raised $10,590!

Thank you to everyone who participated in our auction.

Thank you to all the Illustrators who have contributed their work to the exhibition:
Jeannie Baker, Bronwyn Bancroft, Freya Blackwood, Nick Bland, Martin Chatterton, Max Hamilton, Leigh Hobbs, Christina Huynh, Ann James, Stephen Michael King, Alison Lester, Andrew Maclean, Anna Pignataro, Emma Quay, Donna Rawlins, Tohby Riddle, Michel Streich, Owen Swan, Julie Vivas and Anna Walker.

If you didn’t get a chance a chance to participate in our auction you can still support our important work , your support gives Western Sydney a voice. You can donate to us via http://paypal.me/WestWords



Where Happiness Hides

WestWords is proud to have be part of Dirt Lane Press’ COVID-19 response to publish Where Happiness Hides online in approx. 35 languages. Launched on 19th May with 16 languages, new languages will be released (almost) every day. WestWords collaborated with Dirt Lane Press, Margrete Lamond, to assist in the translations into nine languages. We also worked with the African Australian Advocacy Centre for the African language translations as part of our African Australian Literature Development Project, a project supported by Ades Family Foundation.

WestWords was able to translate Where Happiness Hides into:
Arabic – now available click here
Mandarin – now available, click here
Swahili – now available click here
Coming soon! Samoan, Kinyarwanda, Amharic – Ethiopian, Afaan Oromo, Dinka, Igbo

Contributing translators include:
Dor Akech Achiek, Xin Di, Gabriel Faatau’uu, Daniel Gobena, Qanani Hika, Vincent Ogu, Florence Kankundiye, Kifah Lebde, Rev. Fr Alexander Mutua Munyao, Palepa-Sabrina Time, Solomon K Yeshitela

Available online for free for a limited period, this beautiful and inspirational picture book will come in 35 languages:
A bit about the book:

Where Happiness Hides is by Anthony Bertini with pictures
by Jennifer Goldsmith, and is published by Dirt Lane Press.

The story that invites you to find the mysterious places where happiness might be waiting for you. You won’t have to look very far … happiness is hiding right inside you.

In this story you will see where two children find the keys to their happiness, in the small moments of their everyday life. We hope you will then be inspired to look for happiness in your own everyday!

ANTHONY BERTINI works in the corporate world with a specific focus on Clean and Environmental Technology. Anthony’s first book, Things My Pa Told Me, was published by Hardie Grant Egmont/Little Hare and has been translated into several languages and sold over 20,000 copies. Where Happiness Hides is Anthony’s first book with Dirt Lane Press.

JENNIFER GOLDSMITH is an internationally renowned figure in the world of handmade inventive toy characters crafted from felt Jennifer has always thought of toy making as a kind of storytelling, and it was her drawings for these characters that attracted the attention of Dirt Lane Press. Where Happiness Hides is Jennifer’s first foray into the world of picture-book illustration.

DIRT LANE PRESS is an Australian registered charity helping to make a better world by opening minds, connecting people through story, and creating quality children’s books for those who need them most.

Available online for free for a limited period, this beautiful and inspirational picture book will come in 35 languages:

In collaboration with Dirt Lane Press:

A Thousand Words Exhibition

A Thousand Words presents 100 of the most compelling photographic images from the rich collections of Sydney Living Museums and the State Archives and Records Authority of NSW, created between the 1880s and the 1980s.

WestWords and Sydney Living Museums commissioned 10 emerging western Sydney artists to respond to an image they selected from the exhibition.

A Thousand Words adopts a philosophy that everyone can interpret history through the lens of their background, experiences, values and aspirations. Unlike a standard exhibition, the images are presented without traditional curatorial interpretation. Instead, the public have been invited to contribute responses – whether emotive, nostalgic or imaginative – and this ‘crowdsourced’ material is integral to the exhibition.

SLM/WestWords commissioned Artists.
Click on their names to check out their piece!
James Elazzi
Zoe Ghani
Eunice Andrada
Yumna Kassab
Christina Huynh
Vivian Wei
Ethan Bell
Enoch Mailangi
Hani Abdile

To view all bios and commissions head to the A Thousand Words website here

WestWords interviewed commissioned artists Nardean and James Elazzi in Episode 9 of The WestWords Podcast. Listen on your podcast app or you can listen right here

Have a peak at the making of  A Thousand Words Exhibition featuring WestWords commissioned poet, Eunice Andrada. Full video of Eunice Andrada’s contribution to the A Thousand Words Exhibition exhibition.



In collaboration with Sydney Living Museums and NSW State Archives and Records

WestWords has started a YouTube channel! It will feature FREE workshops, masterclasses, interviews and readings from all your favourite writers from Western Sydney and beyond.

Just search WestWordsOFFICIAL on YouTube or head HERE!

Subscribe to our YouTube channel and turn on notifications to keep up to date with our videos!



School Holiday Writing and Illustrating

Three holiday workshops with award-winning author/illustrator team Jodie McLeod and Eloise Short (Leonard the Lyrebird) and Erin Gough (The Flywheel, Amelia Westlake Was Never Here) have been created as pre-recorded (and completely free) one-hour workshops, which will be available on the WestWords YouTube channel.

Eloise’s drawing workshop will be available from Tuesday April 14, with Jodie’s writing session on the following day, Wednesday April 15. So grab your drawing and writing gear and jump on our channel to get some great tips from these two amazing creators! For 8–13 years.

Frenemies – Thursday April 16
Love-hate relationships are found in many forms of fiction, and for good reason. They bring conflict, and therefore interest, to a story line, allow the writer to explore the multiple dimensions of a character, and are a lot of fun to write.
Join Erin Gough for a masterclass in frenemies, to learn about writing characters and story lines that take this dynamic as a starting point. For 9-14 years.

You’ll find the workshops on our YouTube channel here:

Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel and turn on notifications to keep up to date with our videos.