2018 Short List

We are very pleased to announce the 2018 Stories of Life short list.

Tabor Open Stories of Life

21 Days by Liz Donald

A String of Beans by Gaynor Faulkner

An Angel to Watch Over Them by Megan Higginson

My friend Peter by Jeanette Grant-Thomson

That Boy of Mine by Molly Bennett

 

 

Eternity Matters Short Stories of Life

I was a Church Planter for the New Age Movement by Donna Albrecht

Miracle by Juni Desireé Hoel

More Precious than Cups and Saucers by Robynne Milne

Stolen but not Robbed by Beth Robertson

Under the Frangipani Tree by Ester de Boer

 

 

Lutheran Education Young Stories of Life

Breakneck Speed by Ethan Joppich

Finding a Home by Cleo B

Florence Fiasco by Yasmin Esther

One Blessed Cat by Chelsea Rose

When all Hope is Lost by Madeline Hains

Every story listed above will win either a first prize or a runner up prize. Results will be announced at the 2018 Stories of Life book launch.

Three Dummies in a Dinghy

& other Stories of Life

book launch invitation

Date: Thursday 29 November 2018

Time: 6:30pm for 7 pm start

Venue: Tabor Adelaide

All welcomed to this celebration of good writing and great stories. Click here to download a copy of the book launch invitation. Feel free to invite your family, friends and faith community. Copies of the anthology will be for sale on the night for $20.

Writers with a story published in the anthology will be able to buy up to two copies for the special price of $12 on the night. (All long listed stories will be published in the anthology.)

2018 Stories of Life Long List

All stories on the long list will be published in the 2018 Stories of Life anthology. Long listed stories are also in the running for a prize.
The shortlist will be announced on 31 October. We look forward to announcing this year’s winners at the book launch, which will be towards the end of November.
bright balloons
To those whose stories do not appear in today’s long list, we urge you not to lose heart and to avail yourself to our free writing resources and workshops next year. Continue telling and celebrating your stories of faith. A book has a limited number of pages, but there’s no limit to the number of stories of life we tell one another, stories that speak of hope and shape our world.

Tabor Open Stories of Life Long List

Glenda Austin – Still Giving from Heaven

Molly Bennett – That Boy of Mine

Lisa Birch – Paid in Full

Wendy Boniface – Epiphany in Fiji

Tsung Chung – The Year

Stella Fortunata Collins – Even in the Darkness, the Stars Still Shine

Ester de Boer – Three Dummies in a Dinghy

Juni Desireé Hoel – Genius

Liz Donald – Twenty-one Days

Patricia Elder – Flawed

Gaynor Faulkner – A String of Beans

Liisa Grace-Baun – We Met on Strava

Jeanette Grant-Thomson – My Friend Peter

Megan Higginson – An Angel to Watch Over Them

June Hopkins – Footsteps in the Sea

Levin Lian – A Path in the Stars

Margot Ogilvie – Grab the Popcorn – God Saved Me

Yvonne Smuts – Skipping

Heidi Tai – Closing the Cultural Gap

Vickie Walker – Taking it All For Granted

Eternity Matters Short Stories of Life Long List

Donna Albrecht – I was a Church Planter for the New Age movement

Craig Chapman – Bird Man

Ester de Boer – Under the Frangipani Tree

Juni Desireé Hoel – Miracle

Adah Doebele – The Great Physician

John Alexander Duthie – Struggling with my Faith

Trevor Hampel – A Thin, Delicate Thread

Grant Lock – The Light. The Voice. The Music.

Tracey Meg – Wanna Swap?

Yvette Cusack – Always with Me

Robynne Milne – More Precious Than Cups and Saucers

Beth Robertson – Stolen but not Robbed

RJ Rodda – She Stood Up

Levi Schubert – A Realisation

Lutheran Education Youth Category Long List

Hannah Elliot – Love Doesn’t Age

Yasmin Esther – The Florence Fiasco

Madeline Hains – When All Hope is Lost

Brooke Joppich – Grandpa Really Nailed It

Ethan Joppich – Breakneck Speed

Chelsea Rose – One Blessed Cat

Cleo B – Finding a Home

 

Talk about range

We’ve been blessed with some great stories since we launched this competition in 2016. To demonstrate the range of topics that have been covered, we’re posting a sample here. We want to encourage you to write your story of faith and testimony. Quick! Submissions open for another six days only.

Lady by red flowers
Gaynor Faulker

When healing comes

Happiness is a New Handbag by Gaynor Faulkner

When healing doesn’t come

When healing doesn’t come by Anusha Atukorala

In Prison

Unlikely Rescuer by Amy Ireland

At home

Freedom Calls by Shakira Davies

About the young

Giant Swing by Juni Desireé Hoel

About the old

If you didn’t laugh by Glenda Austin

 

There’s no formula to the way God works, and no formula to what constitutes a story of faith and testimony except that something happened to someone, and somewhere in that was evidence of God at work.

Have fun writing! Then PLEASE, I know it requires courage, but do take the next step and submit it. By this time next week, submissions will be closed. Don’t leave it till too late. Your story matters and we would love to hear from you.

Your story, your voice

With less than two weeks to go, we’re reposting last year’s winning stories to inspire you to get your stories in.

In saying this, don’t feel that you have to write like Hannah or Ester or Yvonne to make your story stand out. The important thing is to tell your story in your voice.

As Pete Court reminded us, your voice as a writer is:

  • what details you notice and include in the story
  • what it felt like to be you (or the person you are writing about) in the story
  • your way of thinking, your way of seeing the world

Watch his full presentation here.

Some of the stories in the anthology are also broadcasted on Life FM the following January and reach a wide audience. ‘The impact of the stories has been enormous,’ said Pete. ‘People have been enjoying the stories and ended up getting copies of the book and basically hearing about faith – for the first time, a lot of them, which is wonderful.’

Pete acknowledged that one of the hardest things to do is to find the confidence to tell your story. We hope that you will find the confidence to write and submit your story because your story in your voice is unique, no one else can tell it your way.

Here are last year’s first prize winners in each category, each voice unique, each story uplifting in its own way.

Lutheran Education Young Stories of Life (500 – 1000 words, for writers aged 17 and under)

Never too late by Hannah Elliot

 

Eternity Matters Short Stories of Life (up to 500 words)

Lady at desk
Ester’s creative workspace

When Andy met God by Ester De Boer

 

Tabor Stories of Life (1000 to 1500 words)

Yvonne Smuts

Encountered by Yvonne Smuts

 

Never too late

Last year, Hannah Elliot won first prize in the Lutheran Education Young Stories of Life Category. Her story Never Too Late was published in the 2017 anthology, The Gecko Renewal.

Hear Hannah read her story here:

 

With only twenty days left to the deadline, we want to say that your stories matter and we would love to hear from you. Remember, if you are aged 17 or under as of the 31 of July 2018, there is no entry fee in the Lutheran Education Young Stories of Life category.

Write away for a chance to hear your story on-air and see it in print. You might even win a generous cash prize in the process.

Happiness is a New Handbag!

Gaynor Faulkner’s story about a lesion in her womb has the unlikely title Happiness is a New Handbag! Her story was published in the 2017 Stories of Life anthology, The Gecko Renewal.

Gaynor Faulker
‘I no longer work at the fashion store I wrote about in my story. Now, I’m blessed to work with Aboriginal students (Reception – Year 12) at Unity College in Murray Bridge as a Learning Support Officer. I first heard about the Stories of Life competition when it was mentioned in our school newsletter. I subsequently  encouraged students I worked with to enter  and mentioned it to several teachers. I think it’s a brilliant competition because I believe that hearing about other people’s’ everyday miraculous  experiences with God strengthens and encourages our own spiritual journey.
To me, writing is a scratch that I’ve got to itch. When I read about the Stories of Life Competition, I found myself thinking about the myriad of ways God has helped and guided me throughout my life and decided to enter the competition myself. I was subsequently thrilled  to have two of my stories included in the Stories of Life anthologies.’
Gaynor Faulkner
Gaynor, holidaying in Italy, with a spot of chocolate gelato on her chin

Freedom Calls

A brave story today by Shakira Davies about her escape from an abusive relationship.
Rescued, Redeemed, Released title with picture of chain link
Shakira’s book
‘Freedom Calls comes from my book Rescued Redeemed Released. I wrote this because people I talked to felt encouraged by the things I went through and how I overcame them. It gave them strength to share the problems they had, because they knew I understood and they wondered how I was able to move on and have so much peace. People have bought this for others whom they know have gone through abusive relationships and childhoods, in order to give them hope, and for them to realise that they are not alone.’
Shakira Davies
Shakira’s book can be previewed and purchased here.
This has been the first year we’ve live streamed our two writing workshops on Facebook. We’ve received very positive feedback, and connected with many people who have stories of faith to share.  We’re anticipating a great anthology at the end of the year and looking forward to hearing some incredible stories on-air over the summer.
As I cannot improve on Rev Dr Mark Worthing’s words, presented at last Thursday’s editing workshop, I’ll quote his sixth and final editing tip in full:
‘Submit your story! At some point you have to stop rewriting and editing and send in your story. One of the keys to good editing is to know when to stop. There will always be an improvement that could possibly be made, or a comma to add or delete. Do not let your efforts to produce a well-written story prevent you from sending in the best story you are able to produce in the time you have to do it. Too many good stories are left setting on a shelf at home or on a computer file because the writer was worried it was not good enough, or convinced that it still needs work. It doesn’t hurt anything to send the story off and see how others respond. You may be surprised at how your story speaks to others.

Remedy: Just send us the story!’

Read his full presentation: Tips for editing 2018 by Mark Worthing.

We’re only 34 days away from the closing date for entries. Do submit your story. We’d love to hear from you.

Quick Links:

How to enter

Categories and prizes

Entry conditions

The Twilight Zone

What a lovely story reading today by Suzanne Piovesan – one that anyone who’s ever been harried by a young child will identify with.

Last year, Suznanne’s story, The Twilight Zone, was  a runner up in the Eternity Matters Short Story of Life category. It was published in the 2017 anthology, The Gecko Renewal, and broadcasted on Life FM.

Little boy on a sandy beach with a yellow bucket

This is her story behind the story:

I wasn’t planning to enter the Stories of Life Competition. I first heard about it through my good friend, a writer and past Tabor student, Sue Jeffrey. In fact, I felt I had no stories that were particularly relevant.

However, on the closing day of the competition I decided to enter my story “The Twilight Zone”. I had to reduce it by about 800 words and just met the deadline before it closed that evening at midnight! I enjoyed the process as I was able to really reflect on the events and polish my thoughts further.

We adopted our son as a 3 year old and pretty much hit the ground running as parents. Our son is a lively character, funny, charming and exerts a lot of energy. This can be loads of fun but also quite draining! Combined with the need to guide him through new experiences and, at times, past trauma, I have found parenting to be both a challenging and rewarding experience.

I recall this particular evening at Grange beach very well. I was feeling pretty exhausted at the time and remember the impressions which I felt strongly whilst walking along Grange beach to Henley in the twilight. Just like in the true account of this moment, I felt as if God was lifting my spirits and encouraging me in my parenting role. I had a surge of hope for the New Year and a sense of His strengthening. I had the wonder of connecting my senses to some very special moments in China during our first days as parents.

The family in Shanghai

These memories are unique and treasured for all parents, of biological and adopted children. We can’t live on memories alone though and, through writing this story, I have been reminded once again that God is the strength we need in all seasons of life, the hope that gives us endurance. I have also had the privilege of hearing from others who connected with my story in various ways, including friends and family who have grown in their understanding of what parenting a child from a complex background can be like. It has been a rewarding experience to participate in Stories of Life.

Suzanne Piovesan

An older boy running with a dog on a leash at a beach
Max, with the family dog, Sandy

If you need to polish off a couple of words from your story, or have a couple of ideas but don’t know where to start, why not register for our free editing workshop tomorrow? Bring along your work if you’d like to get some feedback from our panel of experienced writers.

Not sure what to include in your story? Here are my thoughts about what a story needs in a blog post titled ‘A question of interpretation’, published today by the Australasian Christian Writers.

Free Editing Workshop

As the July deadline for submission approaches, we’re offering a free Editing Workshop to help you polish your stories.

Date: Thursday, 21 June, 2018

Venue: Tabor Adelaide, 181 Goodwood Road, Millswood.

7:00pm – 7:30 pm Editing Class

(to be live streamed on the Stories of Life Facebook page)

Mark Worthing will be speaking on editing fundamentals. Then Pete Court and James Cooper will demonstrate how to add finesse to a story.

Sue Jeffrey has kindly given us an early draft of her story,  Lucky Underwear (draft). As an exercise, you can edit her draft, and compare it with the audio recording of her final version, the version that won the 2016 Tabor College of Higher Education Short Award.

Then come along on the night, or watch via Facebook, to see how Pete and James would have approached it.

7:30 – 8:15 pm Small Group Work

(only available to those who can attend in person)

If you’ve written your story, or part of it, bring it along for feedback from experienced writers in a supportive environment. If you’re stuck with an aspect of your story, someone might be able to help you find a solution.

Note: If you’ve have already submitted you story, but wish to resubmit as a result of this workshop, you may do so at no extra cost by emailing hello@storiesoflife.net with:

  • first name and last name
  • category
  • original title
  • re-edited file

 

Three Miracles

Hazel’s Story of Life

Three Miracles gives us a glimpse into Hazel Barker’s childhood, growing up in Burma during World War II. Three Miracles was read out on Life FM and also published in the 2017 anthology, The Gecko Renewal. Hear her story here:

Profile Picture of Hazel

‘I heard about Stories of Life through Omega Writers, a group of Christian writers in Australia and New Zealand. The Brisbane Chapter meet regularly and have helped and encouraged my writing as well as my spiritual growth.

I decided to enter the Stories of Life Competition because it was these three miracles that started on my Faith Journey as a child and continued into adulthood. Because I wanted everyone to witness the power of prayer.’

Hazel Barker

Hazel’s other writing

Hazel’s debut novel, Chocolate Soldier was released by Rhiza Press in October, 2016. Book One of her memoirs Heaven Tempers the Wind was published by Armour Books in August, 2016. Both books are set during World War Two – the former in England and the Far East; the latter inBurma.

Heaven Tempers the Wind was a finalist in the non-fiction section of the Australia and New Zealand-wide CALEB Competition of 2017. It’s sequel,The Sides of Heaven was released by Armour Books early in 2018.

Visit Hazel’s blog here.

Celebrating stories of faith