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Filipino-Australian Patrick Cruz Forrest Wins 2023 Newcastle Short Story Award

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Patrick Cruz Forrest, a Filipino-Australian writer from Western Sydney, has won first prize in the 2023 Newcastle Short Story Award with his short story, ‘Kuya.’

On Tuesday, 30th January, the Hunter Writers’ Centre announced the winners of the 2023 Newcastle Short Story Award. The recipients are as follows:

First Prize: Patrick Cruz Forrest, ‘Kuya’
Second Prize: Natalie A Vella, ‘Papamosque’
Third Prize: Emma Bjorndahl, ‘Tadpole’
Highly Commended: Jessie Lambert, ‘First Impressions’; Adam Brannigan, ‘Lowanna’s Fever’
Local Prize: Grace Buckley, ‘It Begins’; Kate O’Connor, ‘The Calling’; Ingrid Woodrow, ‘Mojo’

Judges Angela Meyer and Winnie Dunn praised ‘Kuya’ for its exceptional storytelling. They described it as “a captivating piece of literary fiction, chronicling the journey of a young, queer Filipino-Australian boy from Western Sydney. The story adeptly explores the challenges of reconciling his sexuality and cultural identity while dealing with the complex inner worlds of his disabled brother and neurotic mother. With its tight structure, clear plot, original sentences, and memorable characters, ‘Kuya’ offers a window into an integral and intersectional part of Australian life, all infused with a deft touch of humour.”

Patrick Cruz Forrest says about his award-winning piece, “‘Kuya’ is about the growing pains of being a baby-gay-Filipino in Western Sydney. I am super thankful to the judges for seeing the beauty in this story and honouring it with this prize.”

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The 2023 Newcastle Short Story Award anthology, expertly edited by Winnie Dunn, one of the 2023 judges and General Manager of Sweatshop Literacy Movement, features all the shortlisted stories from this year’s competition. This collection showcases the finest examples of Australian short stories and is available for preorder from the Hunter Writers’ Centre website, with a release scheduled for late February.

For more information on the competition results and to preorder the anthology, visit the Hunter Writers’ Centre website: 2023 Newcastle Short Story Award – Hunter Writers Centre.

Learn more about Patrick Cruz Forrest and his works at: patrickforrest.com.au.

About the Newcastle Short Story Award

Since its inception in 2012, the Newcastle Short Story Award has grown to be one of Australia’s most esteemed short story competitions, drawing high-caliber writers and respected judges annually. Supported generously by the University of Newcastle, the award offers a first prize of $3,000, publication in the anthology, and several Local Awards exclusive to Hunter region authors. The prize pool also includes $1,000 for second place, $500 for third, and $200 for a highly commended entry, sponsored by FogHorn Brewery. Besides monetary rewards, selected Hunter writers in the anthology are eligible for Local Awards, including generous gift vouchers from Macquariedale Organic Wines, Pepper Tree Wines, and Tulloch Wines.

About Hunter Writers’ Centre

The Hunter Writers’ Centre is dedicated to supporting writers and storytellers in the Hunter region and beyond. In 2021, it established Lighthouse Arts at the Nobbys-Whibayganba headland cottages, a multi-arts initiative offering residencies for writers and artists, exhibition space, and an arts trading store.

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