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Entries for Banjo awards open on poet’s birthday

By February 17, 2023News

Almost 160 years after the poet Banjo Paterson was born, his reputation as one of Australia’s most famous writers continues to inspire new generations of authors.

On this week’s anniversary of his birth, entries open for the annual Banjo Paterson Writing Awards with writers from across Australia vying to win $2000 for the winning Contemporary Poem or $2000 for the winning Short Story.

The awards, established in 1991, aim to honour Andrew Barton ‘Banjo’ Paterson, acknowledged as great writer and favourite son of Orange, with a competition encouraging Australian content. Entries do not have to be written in Banjo’s style of writing.

Orange City Council’s Services Committee Chair, Cr Mel McDonell is encouraging local aspiring authors to try their hand.

“The Banjo Paterson Writing Awards have a reputation which attracts writers from all over the country but it would be terrific to see more entries from Orange and the Central West,” Cr McDonell said.

Banjo Paterson Statue

“Banjo was inspired by the people and times he saw around him. It will be interesting to see the topics and themes that come to light from the next round of competition entries this year.”

Last year’s Short Story winner, Steeple written by John Scholz, from Victoria, captured a snap-shot of a couple’s life set against the backdrop of a South Australia wheatfield.

The 2022 Contemporary Poetry winner David Judge, of South Australia, wrote I am who they have been, reflecting in a colloquial style on the lives of his forebears.

Other past winners have included David Astle, Barry Divola, Heather Bird, Angela Malone, Kit Denton and Kamille Roach.

The contest also includes a category for younger writers. New writers aged 16 years or younger are asked to submit a short story no longer than 1000 words or a poem no longer than 30 lines.

Writing competition entrants can email their entries, as well as post, by the due date, Friday 5 May 2023.

Winners are announced at the annual Orange Readers and Writers Festival to be held in the first weekend of August. Entry fees are $15 per Short Story and Contemporary Poetry, and $5 for Children 16 years and under in the Children’s section of the awards.

For Entry Forms with all the details go to the Central West Libraries (CWL) website: or visit your local library.

Previous winning entries can be found on the Orange Wiki ( )and also on the CWL website, to provide you with inspiration.

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