Category Archives: stories of life 2019

In a manger

Joanne Prenzler Smith’s story, In a Manger, won first prize in the 2019 Eternity Matters Short Stories of Life category.

It’s a story from some years ago, when Joanne’s son was a baby – the perfect prop for a Christmas Eve production perhaps? Have a listen to Joanne read her story:

‘In a Manger’ by Joanne Prenzler Smith
Joanne Prenzler Smith recording her story at the 1079 Life FM studios in Adelaide.

In a manger‘ will be broadcast over 1079 LifeFM in Adelaide over summer. It has also been published in the 2019 Stories of Life anthology, Papa’s Shoes. If you enjoyed this story, why not get a copy of the book from Koorong or online.

The Golden Detour

Feature image of Kaitlin Turland on Mount Catherine supplied by Kaitlin herself.

Kaitlin Turland won first prize for her story, The Golden Detour, in the Lutheran Education Young Stories of Life 2019. She also recorded her story at the 1079 Life studios in Adelaide. In a Stories of Life first, you can hear Kaitlin’s recording here before it goes on-air in January 2020.

Kaitlin Turland reading her prize-winning story, The Golden Detour

Kaitlin recently wrote to the Stories of Life team:

Thanks so much for making this competition possible. It has been a childhood dream come true to have a story published. 

If you are a young person with a story of faith, won’t you consider sending in an entry next year? We accept submissions from April to July and there is no entry fee for writers aged 17 and under, who submit a story in the Lutheran Education Young Stories of Life category.

Kaitlin at the 1079 Life studios recording her story, The Golden Detour.

If you enjoyed this story, like our Facebook page for more audio recordings to be posted in the coming weeks, or grab a copy of Papa’s Shoes and other stories of life.

The 2019 Stories of Life anthology, Papa’s Shoes and other stories of life

Drop Zone Backstory

We congratulate Juni Desireé Hoel’s for winning second prize in the 2019 Eternity Matters Short Story of Life competition. Her winning story, Drop Zone, has also been published in the 2019 Stories of Life anthology of true stories, Papa’s Shoes. In our blog spot today, Juni shares with us the backstory.

Juni Desireé Hoel

I wrote Drop Zone because I wanted to share a short encouraging story that is also a reminder to self. This story encourages me personally on two levels.

First, it reminds me that I am enough. I am only one person but God loves me as much as he loves any other person. And he will do whatever he can to get my attention and show me who he is. He shows me he wants to be in my life every day and we can talk to each other all the time.

Second, it reminds me that when we serve God and share God with others through words or actions, it is never in vain. We may think it has no impact and that it’s a waste of time and effort because we don’t see anything happen on the outside. But who knows what seed is being planted or watered or is growing in someone’s heart?

Having been on both sides of one being served and one serving, I can appreciate both sides and see how they work together. As a youth leader, I could become discouraged thinking that working with teens each week wasn’t making a difference. But Gabby’s words encouraged me that it mattered. It mattered in my life when Gabby ran Drop Zone every week, so, I would keep going because it might matter in someone else’s life.

In terms of how I wrote the story, I wanted to capture these two sides, so, that’s why the story is split into two episodes. I also wanted to focus on dialogue because it was a conversation with Gabby that gave me this insight about the one being worth it. I then chose a conversation with Gabby from the earlier episode where her words also gave me an insight that God is real and personal. I wanted to highlight that what she did matters. It wasn’t big, flashy, weird, or wacky, but it was simple, casual, normal, and relatable. It made a difference.

Juni Desireeé Hoel

Juni published her book, The Art of Mental Health, last month.

Introducing the Stories of Life team

We’re super excited to be launching the 2019 Stories of Life anthology, Papa’s Shoes, at Tabor College at 6:30pm tonight. Apart from launching the book, the Stories of Life team also hope to get to meet some of the contributors, and their friends and family members. So we thought we’d introduce ourselves to you in advance, hoping that you might come up to say ‘hi’ if there’s an opportunity to do so.

Peter will be presenting the prizes for the Eternity Matters Short Stories of Life. It was Peter who first came up with the idea of a writing competition that get stories of faith out there and we’re thrilled that his story, A Cab Trip, will be in the anthology this year. This is a story about an incident that took place when Peter was a cab driver in Sydney. Peter’s story is not in the running to win a prize, but it’s a great read and we’re so glad it’s in Papa’s Shoes.

Dr James Cooper, Senior Lecturer, Tabor Creative Writing program

Presenting the prizes on behalf of Tabor College, will be Dr James Cooper, Head of Creative Writing. James has been very generous with his time and expertise over the four years of the competition, providing notes and writing resources to participants of this competition to help us get our stories into the best shape possible.

All our books have more than one editor, and Rev Dr. Mark Worthing is the only person who has worked on all four anthologies. He is an established author who has published books across many genres. His book Matin Luther. A Wild Boat in the Lord’s Vineyard was shortlisted for the 2018 Christian Book of the Year Award.

Claire Bell, author and editor

Claire Bell has had numerous poems and short stories published, including her first novel, The Golden Hour. She blogs at The Character Forge.

Pete Court, editor

Apart from editing the anthology this year, Pete has managed the process of recording selected stories from the anthology for broadcast on 1079 Life since 2016. Pete Court has also published a novel, Sub Urban Tales.

Susan J Bruce

Susan J Bruce was the 2017 Stories of Life administrator and still pops in from time to time to encourage us with her bubbly personality and editorial nous. She edited the anthology, If They Could Talk: Bible stories told by the animals.

May-Kuan Lim, administrator

May-Kuan Lim is current the administrator who dreams up promotional possibilities and manages the website. She is currently publishing her book Refuge as a serial online release.

Stories of Life – more than a writing competition

In the lead-up to our 2019 book launch and prize winner announcement tomorrow, here is a summary of the different aspects of Stories of Life: writing competition, book publication, radio broadcast and an online community that celebrates life and faith.

Writing Competition

From 1 April to 31 July each year, we accept submissions of stories of faith and testimony from around the world. Entries are submitted online in one of three categories: Open, Short, Youth.

We are indebted to our sponsors Tabor College, Eternity Matters and Lutheran Education for sponsoring the cash prizes in each category: first (AUD500), second (AUD300) and third (AUD200).

Unusual for a writing competition, each year we nominate different judges. The judges receive stories in their categories as anonymous entries. This year we’ve been privileged to have the following judges: screenwriter and YouTuber Simon Kennedy (Open); radio host Kit Densley (Short); author and music teacher Ruth Bonetti (Youth).

A highly anticipated part of the book launch is the announcement of prize winners. All stories that are to be published are in the running for a prize.

Book Publication

Once our submission period closes on 31 July, the Stories of Life editorial team selects the best entries for compilation and publication in an anthology. Since 2016, we have published over a hundred short stories in three anthologies: A Chicken can Make a Difference, The Gecko Renewal, Three Dummies in a Dinghy.

2019 Stories of Life anthology

Tomorrow, apart from announcing the prize winners, we will be launching the fourth book in the series: Papa’s Shoes. Radio host and short story judge Kit Densley will be at the launch tomorrow and she has kindly agreed to read the title story, Papa’s Shoes. Books will be available for purchase at $20 per copy at the launch and thereafter in Koorong and online.

Radio Broadcast

1079 Life has been a strong supporter of this competition since its inception. Every year selected stories from the anthology are read (by the story writers where possible), recorded, and broadcast over summer and throughout the year.

Kaitlin at the 1079 Life studios in Adelaide recording her story, The Golden Detour

Online Community

The audio clips from the radio broadcasts are archived on this website by year of publication: 2016, 2017, 2018. Throughout the year we also publish blog posts to share photos and backstories from contributors to the anthology. In addition, we like to promote and support any other publication by Stories of Life alumni.

In all this, our aim is to promote the telling of stories of life and faith around the world in print, online and on-air.

We look forward to welcoming many of you to our book launch and announcement of prize winners tomorrow at Tabor or online.

Papa’s Shoes

Image courtesy of Valmai Redhead: Laurence

By Valmai Redhead

My husband Laurence and I were about to step into retirement, when he was diagnosed with a brain tumour. After just a few short weeks, he stepped into eternity in July 2016. Losing my soul mate after forty-two years of marriage was the most difficult thing I have had to face. But the words of Psalm 30:5 are indeed true: Although weeping may endure for a night, joy comes in the morning.

A few years earlier, when my dear mother-in-law, Alice Redhead first gave me Laurence’s baby shoes, I was touched to have such a beautiful childhood keepsake.  Knowing that one day some creative inspiration would come, I put them away with no idea of how that would happen, or of the events that would unfold.

 After the sadness, the joy did come. On 21 November 2016 Archie Laurence was born. About the same time I remembered the baby shoes and I knew what I needed to do. Although Laurence (Papa to his grandchildren) had never met Archie, he did know that his second name would be Laurence.

On the day of Archie’s dedication, what a joy it was to present the gift that meant so much.  And what a privilege to see Laurence’s mother, aged 97 years, holding her great grandson. It was such a glorious picture of a legacy of faith through the generations.

Image courtesy of Valmai Redhead: Alice Redhead holding her great-grandson Archie Laurence

Memories of that day created the perfect image for birthing ‘Papa’s Shoes.’ The story almost wrote itself. As soon as I began, more than 700 words poured out on to the page. The challenge of editing, crafting and honing it into just 500 words took much longer. Finally it was finished and I knew that whatever the result of the competition, the journey had been worth it. Laurence and his mum would have both been proud of me, and in knowing that I am content.