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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Shire’s budding writers celebrate their magic

The shire’s budding writers beamed as they walked up on stage to be recognised for their literary talent.

Mayor’s Writing Competition finalists attended the awards presentation at the Moruya RSL Hall on Monday 12 September.

Judges were impressed by writers’ creativity with the theme, magic.

Eurobodalla Mayor Mathew Hatcher presented winners and runners up with vouchers from Moruya Books as well as the 2022 Mayor’s Writing Competition anthology, which is also available to view in the Eurobodalla Libraries online catalogue.

“It’s wonderful to recognise the literary talent in our shire,” Mayor Hatcher said.

“This competition was set up to encourage and celebrate young writers and being accepted as a finalist is a great achievement.”

The prestigious Syd Hayes Creative Writing Award went to Batemans Bay student Bella Morris, 14.

Bella’s story, The Tale of a Traitor, caught the judges’ attention. She captured the theme of magic through a fantasy tale of relationships and death.

“Some would say I have a depressing tone to my writing - I am not about those fairy-tale endings,” Bella laughed.

Instead, Bella enjoys creating impactful endings that leave lasting impressions.

“I will watch a movie or finish reading a book and feel disappointed; I can’t help but think how I can make the ending better,” she said.

Bella was most pleased by the award and looked forward to spending her voucher on a leather-bound classic.

“I barely win anything, it was such a surprise when I found out I won,” Bella said.

Bella has a list of upcoming writing competitions she is already working towards. Her heart was set towards one day achieving a degree in English literature, with her ultimate dream to study at Oxford University.

Over the past 13 years, the Mayor’s Writing Competition has seen more than 2650 entries.

2022 judges were Eurobodalla Writers Stafford Ray, Eileen Dillon-Smith and Sharon Halliday as well as former judge of the Children’s Book of the Year Award, Lynne Babbage and Alice Johnson of Eurobodalla Libraries.


Years 1-2

Winner: Emilia Klekowska

Runner up: Xavier Eke

Encouragement: James Penberthy

Special mention: Taylor Bartulovich, Tommy Dullard and Ginger Rixon.

Years 3-4

Winner: Zara McCarthy

Runner up: Molly Brewer

Encouragement: Layla Bailey

Special mention: Jordan Hatcher, Elizabeth Hicks, Chloe Kay, Hayden Paull and Nyree Redden.

Years 5-6

Winner: Maizi Minihan

Runner up: Mahli Killeen

Encouragement: Max Kay

Special mention: Evie Bailey, Matilda Clynes, Orlando, Dali Hone and Archie Jackson.

Years 7-8

Winner: Ruby Southan

Runner up: Ilah Constable

Years 9-10

Winner: Bella Morris

Runner up: Emma Penberthy

Years 11-12

Winner: Kasarni Small

Above: Batemans Bay High School principal with Bella Morris

Above: Ruby Southan, Ilah Constable with Mayor Hatcher

Above: Maizi Minihan and Mahli Killeen with Mayor Hatcher

Above: Zara MCarthy and Molly Brewer with Mayor Hatcher

Above: Years 1-2 finalists

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