FWE: Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards 0 Comments

FWE: Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards

Entries open on March 1 for Australia’s oldest competition for our youngest poets: the Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards. 2014 marks the prize’s 30th anniversary, which receives around 15,000 entries across its various categories each year.

This week’s Friday Writing Exercise is less of an exercise than it is a call to arms.

Awards like these are a great way to motivate yourself to get your best writing out there, even while you’re still in school. You’ve got nothing to lose — seriously: your school pays the entry fee. I often entered this particular prize (and even scored runner-up prizes a few times) and here I am, still writing things.

The extra cool thing about the Dorothea Mackellar Awards is that there are sizeable cash prizes and trophies to be had across the nine sections, which include primary, secondary, special education and community prizes.

Entering an award for the first time? Here are some hot tips:

  1. Follow the how-to-enter instructions really carefully.
  2. Don’t settle for a first draft: edit and proofread. Workshop groups online/at school/local libraries can really help with this.
  3. Ask your favourite English teacher or librarian to proofread your poem.
  4. Submit your work on time!
  5. Remember that all arts prizes are subjective; pat yourself on the back just for being brave enough to enter.
  6. Prepare to be patient! Judging poems can take a while. In the meantime, write more — and submit something to Voiceworks.

The Dorothea Mackellar Awards are open for submissions between 1 March and 30 June, 2014. May the odds be ever in your favour!

* Featured public-domain photo is from Dorothea Mackellar’s handwritten draft of “My Country“.

 Zenobia Frost is a Brisbane-based poet and arts journalist. She serves as Cordite’s assistant editor as well as a poetry editor with Voiceworks. She tweets @zenfrost.

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