Young writers’ creativity celebrated

Media Release 18 September 2023
Libraries Library SPYWA

Winners of the City’s 37th annual South Perth Young Writers Award (SPYWA) were announced at a presentation evening on Thursday 14 September 2023 at South Perth Community Hall.

Open to students from Year 1 to 12, who live or attend school in the City of South Perth, the award attracted 113 entries this year, showing a high standard of talent and creativity. Shortlisted entrants attended a workshop with award-winning local author, Shirley Marr, to develop their writing skills and refine their story before moving to the finalist round. 

SPYWA aims to inspire young people to express their creative ideas through writing and entries are judged across five age categories by a panel of educators, writers and children’s literature enthusiasts.

The most outstanding entry is awarded the Christobel Mattingley Bronze Medallion, named after award winning children’s author and founder of SPYWA.

This year's Christobel Mattingley Bronze Medallion was awarded to Johanna Kingsbury for her entry titled Shattered Reflection, a chilling and utterly gripping thriller, which stood out for its originality, beautifully crafted prose and powerful imagery.

At the awards ceremony, Mayor Greg Milner congratulated all entrants and presented the winners with their certificates.

“Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways in which human beings connect with each other,” he said.

“We have been sharing stories with each other for millennia and we will continue to do so because it’s how we learn about others and how we find understanding and empathy.

“The South Perth Young Writers Award is vitally important because it helps to foster a love of reading, creative writing and storytelling amongst the young people in our community.

“It takes a lot of effort to get to the final stage and I congratulate all of the entrants on their outstanding submissions."

The entries included topics covering love and loss, discovery, magic, adventure and the environment and you can read them all in the 2023 SPYWA Anthology.

Christobel Mattingley Bronze Medallion Winner

  • Johanna Kingsbury

Lower primary, Year 1-2

  • First place: Preet Ahluwalia

  • Second place: Aveline Long

  • Highly Commended: Illam Otome 

Middle primary, Year 3-4

  • First place: Jackie Sun 

  • Second place: TikEn Toh

  • Highly commended: Neave McCaffrey 

Upper primary, Year 5-6

  • First place (tied): Charlie Prout

  • First place (tied): Avalea Heather Curtis

  • Highly commended: Millie Jones

Lower secondary, Year 7-9

  • First place: Johanna Kingsbury 

  • Second place: Leo Durey 

  • Highly commended: Kylie Woon  

Upper secondary, Year 10-12 

  • First place: Eleanor Jones

  • Second place: Qian-Qian Wong

  • Highly commended: Mahum Bashir Naveed

All images from the 2023 SPYWA presentation can be viewed at the City's Flickr gallery.