All posts by May-Kuan Lim

2021 Stories of Life Judges

We’re thrilled that Penny Reeves, David Rawlings and Valerie Volk have kindly agreed to be our 2021 judges in the Youth, Short and Open categories respectively. Here’s a bit about them.

 

Penny Reeve, photo from Penny’s website.

Penny Reeves for the Youth category

Penny Reeve (also writing as Penny Jaye and Ella Shine) is the award-winning, Australian author of more than 20 books for children. She writes picture books, junior fiction, children’s Bible studies and young adult fiction. She has a Master of Arts in writing and literature and is an experienced writing workshop leader, conference presenter and writing coach with a particular interest in equipping Christian children’s writers. You can learn more about Penny at www.pennyreeve.com and www.pennyjaye.com.

 

David Rawlings, photo supplied.

David Rawlings for the Short category

David Rawlings is an award-winning South Australian author who asks deep questions in his novels. He writes modern-day parables – stories that lift the lid on life and allow God to whisper to us all. Stories about how we deal with this thing called life. Stories wrapped around values we can identify with and desperately need.

While David has been writing corporately for nearly 30 years, his debut novel – The Baggage Handler – won the 2019 Christy Award for Best First Novel.  His second novel – The Camera Never Lies – focuses on honesty in relationships and is now available and Where the Road Bends – a novel based finding yourself while lost in outback Australia – is now out through Koorong and Amazon.

He is published through the Thomas Nelson imprint of HarperCollins Christian Publishing in the USA. You can read excerpts of David’s books at www.davidrawlings.com.au and also connect in the usual social places of Facebook and Instagram.

Valerie Volk, photo supplied.

Valerie Volk for the Open category

Valerie Volk has always been a closet writer so, after an academic background in English, History and Education, she retired from teaching and lecturing, and did two things she’d always wanted to do:  completing a PhD  and then Master’s degree in Creative Writing. Now she writes!

In the last twelve years she has published several hundred award-winning poems and short stories in journals and anthologies, as well as ten books, including historical fiction novels, such as In Search of Anna, verse novels like A Promise of Peaches and Passion Play, and biblical fiction like Bystanders. She is well known for her poetry collections, like the Caleb Prize-winning In Due Season,  and Marking Time,  as well as travel books.

She has edited a major poetry collection for Friendly Street Poets, Kaleidoscope, and judged a number of competitions.  Now she is looking forward to her appointment as a judge of the 2021 Stories of Life submissions.

 

Books are selling fast at these discount prices. Hurry and grab a copy if you haven’t read either of them. They’re full of gems – very short stories, just the thing when life gets too busy for reading long books, but you still need that little lift-me-up.

Sign Language by Julia Archer

Last year, Julia Archer’s story ‘Sign Language’ was published in our 2020 anthology, The Swimmer and other stories of life:

‘Sign Language’, written and read by Julia Archer. Music composed and produced by Jason Shaw https://audionautix.com/.

Julia Archer loves photography and writing, especially writing for children. You can read more of her work here. We especially love The three little pigs retold.

If you enjoyed Julia’s story, ‘Sign Language’, why not get your own copy of The Swimmer or Papa’s Shoes today? Enjoy our special competition launch deal of AUD14 per copy, excluding postage. Both books are filled with over 40 true short stories of life.

You might even be inspired to enter one of your true stories of faith in our competition, and it might be selected for publication in the 2021 Stories of Life anthology. Wouldn’t that be grand?

Feature photo: sign language: friend by r.a. olea on flickr, Creative Commons.

Competition Launch Deal

To kick off the 2021 competition, we’re having a special deal on our 2019 and 2020 anthologies, only $14 per copy, while stocks last. Each book has about 40 short stories of life and faith, from a sound-tech guy working on subtitles to a lady in retail asking existential questions, from piano solos to moving house, from facing mortality to an invitation to dance.

A great way to start thinking about your own story, told in your unique voice, is to read how other people have told their stories, and indeed, the unexpected places they found those stories.

The 2021 Stories of Life monthly focus:

  • April – Reading Month
  • May – Writing Month
  • June – Feedback Month
  • July – Submission Month

Submission period April – 31 July.

Pick up one or two books todayand start jotting down ideas for your own story of life. Then in May, when we start shining a spotlight on the many writing resources we’ve developed over the past 5 years, you’ll be all set to start writing! Will 2021 be the year your story of faith and testimony is published? We hope so!

 

 

The Anthill by Diana Davison

Last year, Diana Davison’s story ‘The Anthill’ was published in our 2020 anthology, The Swimmer and other stories of life:

The Anthill, written and read by Diana Davison. Music composed and produced by Jason Shaw https://audionautix.com/

My father’s memorial garden.

This is where I spend a frequent amount of time reflecting. It is a realm immersed in nature and one where I can ‘just be me’ on a bench within my father’s memorial garden. Thoughts come and go but nature remains to inspire me with its insight.

It is approaching nearly three years now that I have found myself coming here. I have written words private and observational to me while paying respect and being respectful to my surroundings. My little hardback note book or notes on my phone are always at the ready to capture my thoughts before they become fleeting, like the breeze.

It was here – in this writing space – that I sat watching the build up of an anthill growing over time.  A reassuring presence in a dead quiet setting.  It inspired my short story for the ‘Stories Of Life’ anthology. I feel blessed to be included in this book of connectedness. The book itself has shown me that many people have different stories to tell in their own voice which, in the end, brings us all together.

~Diana Davison

The 2020 Stories of Life anthology

Enjoyed this? Get your copy of The Swimmer today – it’s filled with over 40 true short stories of life. You might even be inspired to send us one of your true stories of faith and testimony, and it might be published in the 2021 Stories of Life anthology. Wouldn’t that be grand?

The Swimmer by Gaynor Faulkner

In the lead-up to the launch of our 2021 Stories of Life competition on 1 April, we are bringing you some of the best stories from last year.

The Swimmer was the title story in our 2020 anthology. Gaynor Faulkner read her story at the book launch, and also recorded this at the 1079 Life studios for broadcast over summer. We’re pleased to bring you the recording today.

Music composed and produced by Jason Shaw https://audionautix.com/

Gaynor reading her title story, The Swimmer

If you enjoyed Gaynor’s story, get a copy of The Swimmer for more stories of life. Available at Tabor Adelaide’s reception and online.

 

A Small Giveaway

A small giveaway, written and read by Jennie Altmann. Music composed and produced by Jason Shaw https://audionautix.com/

Jenine at a microphone in a recording studio.
Jenine Altmann recording her story at 1079 Life studios in Adelaide

When we asked Jenine for a photo or video of herself, she sent us this snippet which her grandsons helped to produce: Jenine, an introduction. Thanks so much guys – looks like you had a bit of family production fun 🙂

If you enjoyed Jenine’s story, get a copy of The Swimmer, and tune in to 1079 Life for more stories of life. Feature photograph of Beijing Hutong by James Diewald from Flickr.

The 2020 Stories of Life anthology

Goodbye 2020, Hello 2021

Thank you for being part of Stories of Life 2020 – whether it’s been taking the time to send us your story, or reading ‘The Swimmer’, or sharing it with someone else. One the last day of 2020, we bring you some of our 2020 Stories of Life contributors …

 

From us to you: may your 2021 be filled with stories of life!

If you haven’t yet read the book, start 2021 inspired… get a copy today.

The 2020 Stories of Life anthology

 

Holiday Plans Awry

Nesta Hatendi’s story, The Holiday, was published in our 2020 anthology, The Swimmer. A very short excerpt:

The Holiday

The last five months have not been how I envisaged them before I left home. I arrived in Australia in March for a family reunion and a once in a lifetime trip to Bali, thrown in as a bonus. …

The long-awaited Bali holiday dramatically smouldered into ashes as news headlines referenced new visa restrictions to limit the spread of the virus to Indonesia. The global epidemic was now a pandemic which had a name – COVID-19…

We asked Nesta about her experience of having her story published in our 2020 Stories of Life anthology, The Swimmer.

What led you to write this story?

I was feeling disorientated and somewhat despondent because my plans had gone awry and things seemed to be out of my control. Then when events started falling in line without much effort from me, I began to realise that there is a time and place for everything and I should just have faith which conquers all.

What has being published meant to you?

This was my first published short story ever! Since then, I have been writing more and submitting short stories online. I want to eventually publish an anthology of short stories. So thank you for the boost in my confidence.

Any feedback from people who have since read your story?

Relatable and inspiring.

To read Nesta’s full story, order a copy of The Swimmer today. Or order it for delivery for someone who could use a little encouragement and hope.

The 2020 Stories of Life anthology

 

 

 

 

Andy by Craig Chapman

My family and I spent three weeks in the USA from December 2014 to January 2015, experiencing various locations, catching up with one of our daughters who was studying there at the time, and, of course, celebrating Christmas together. Several days after Christmas, we were shuffling our way through crowded Manhattan on our way to a restaurant. Although the weather was mild in New York, I was still wearing a coat which had been invaluable in the biting cold of Boston the previous week.

Craig and his family in Central Park, New York

Throughout our travels, we had been struck by the masses of homeless people in American cities. Sometimes it was hard to distinguish between those with real need and those just willing to receive handouts. However, one man on this particular street really drew my attention. Initially I walked past him before realising I had an opportunity to help him. The story relates how I wrestled with whether or not God was prompting me. Though the encounter was brief, it was a graphic reminder to pay attention to the situations we find ourselves in on any given day and the needs of those around us.

I don’t know the outcome of the few minutes Andy and I spent together. I can only hope that the coat proved to be a blessing to him.

Andy, written and read by Craig Chapman. Music is composed and produced by Jason Shaw https://audionautix.com/.

Craig recording his story at 1079 Life studios in Adelaide

If you loved this story, get a copy of The Swimmer and tune in to 1079 Life where selected stories from the anthology will be played over summer.

The 2020 Stories of Life anthology – available now online or from Tabor Adelaide.

Feature picture above of Craig and his family at Fenway Park, Boston. Craig, far left, is wearing the coat featured in the story.

The Ring: Backstory

When my story The Ring was chosen to be published in The Swimmer anthology and also won third place in the open section of the Stories of Life competition, I was delighted not only for myself but also for my friend Ruth Allan. Ruth and I have been good friends for over thirty years and even travelled overseas together in 2000 to Europe. I have forgotten when Ruth first told me about losing her ring as a young girl, but I was so taken with the story at the time that I carefully checked the details with her and recorded them on my laptop to be explored at a later date.

Finally, that date came this year. I had just completed my current novel and was checking what other writing projects I had that I could explore further when I saw the ad for the Stories of Life competition. I decided to polish up Ruth’s story, make sure I had all the facts right as best Ruth could remember, and send it in. Ruth has gone through some very difficult experiences in her life, yet she has held onto her faith in God through it all. And this event I have shared in her story The Ring had a key role to play in helping her do just that.

I hope this story honours God for enabling Ruth to keep going but that it also honours Ruth herself for holding onto God. And both Ruth and I hope that, as others read what happened that day down at the beach, they will draw that little bit closer to God and know for sure that God loves and cares for them too.

Jo-Anne Berthelsen

Feature photo of Jo-Anne and Ruth supplied by Jo-Anne (left)

To read Jo-Anne and Ruth’s story get a copy of The Swimmer and other stories of life from Immortalise or from BookDepository. In-person sales from the reception of Tabor Adelaide.