All posts by May-Kuan Lim

The Answer

On Good Friday we remember Jesus, who died a criminal’s death because of false accusations. We think of his mother and all who had placed their hope in him, people who thought that lies had triumphed over truth, despair over hope, and death over life. It was not so, but they didn’t know it yet.

It is with that same sense of waiting for a turning point that we bring you Anusha Atukorala’s story ‘The Answer’ that was published in our 2019 anthology, Papa’s Shoes and other Stories of Life. Her story was also broadcast on 1079 Life and we hope that it will encouraged you, as it encouraged us.

Anusha Atukorala

 

 

Anusha’s background

Anusha has been on many interesting detours in life, as a lab technician, computer programmer, full time mum, charity director, and job chaser, until one golden day (or was it a dark moonless night?) God tapped her on her shoulder and called her to write for him. She has never recovered from the joy it brought her. She loves to see others enjoying life with Jesus and does her mite to hurry the process in her world through her writing and through her life. The goodness of God is her theme song through each season as she dances in the rain with Jesus.

Anusha’s books

Her first book Enjoying the Journey contains 75 short God stories while her second book Dancing in the Rain offers hope and comfort for life’s soggy seasons. The sequel, Sharing the Journey, was released recently on 21 March 2020. Anusha hopes that it will inspire you during this pandemic era to enjoy life with God and with each another. The journey of life is better with travel companions. The journey of life is rich and remarkable with a God who walks beside us. Sharing the Journey is a doorway to discovering a rich and fulfilling life.

Get Anusha’s latest book, Sharing the Journey, delivered to your door, from publisher Elephant House Press or Book Depository.

The 2019 Stories of Life anthology

Could do with more stories of life and faith? Check out our archives or get our anthologies delivered to your door.

Have a story of your own to tell? Why not submit a story that might be published in our 2020 anthology, to be released before Christmas?

We have great writing resources to help you get started. We are accepting submissions in our three categories from now and till 31 July 2020.

 

Introducing one of our 2020 judges

Stories of Life is  unique in that we have one judge per category, with different judges selected each year. Today, we’re delighted to announce that Nola Passmore will judge the 2020 Tabor Open Stories of Life category (1000 – 1500 words).

Thank you, Nola, for giving of your time so generously. We’re excited to have you on-board to help us celebrate excellence in writing and storytelling.

Nola Passmore

Nola Passmore and her husband Tim run a freelance writing and editing business called The Write Flourish . With a background as a university academic and qualifications in psychology, creative writing, and Christian ministry, she’s never short of ideas. She co-edited the Glimpses of Light charity anthology with Jeanette O’Hagan, and has had more than 150 short pieces published, including short fiction, true stories, poetry, devotions, inspirational pieces, magazine articles, and academic papers. Her debut novel Scattered is currently in production with Breath of Fresh Air Press, and will be published mid-2020 under the pen name of Nola Lorraine. You can find her author website at www.nolalorraine.com.au where her latest blog post, last we checked, is The Year that COVID-19 hijacked Easter.

Getting Started by Dr James Cooper

Follow-up Exercises

1. To help you find the focus of your story, try to answer these questions:

  • When did it happen?
  • Where did it take place?
  • Who was involved?
  • What was it about?
  • How did it unfold?
  • Why did it happen?

2. What did you learn or discover (about yourself, about God, about life) as a result?

3. Call your Uncle Fred (watch video if this puzzles you) and tell him your story. If possible, record your conversation.
The 2019 Stories of Life anthology

In the video, James refers to several stories from our 2019 anthology, Papa’s Shoes and other stories of life.

Listen to a reading of The Cab Trip in our previous blog post, or get our books delivered to your door.

 

James Cooper

James Cooper is Head of Creative Writing at Tabor College, Adelaide, where he has taught writing for over ten years. An active writer of both fiction and poetry, James’ work has been published in journals both locally and overseas. He has edited and co-edited numerous anthologies, including Tales from the Upper Room and the Stories of Life collections. His YA novel Never Let Go was shortlisted in 2016 for the Text Prize.

A cab trip

In 2016, Peter Evans thought that a writing competition around stories of faith would be a good idea. So he went to the 1079 Life FM office in Adelaide to pitch the idea, and four years down the track we’re still collecting stories, still awarding prizes, and still publishing books.

Peter Evans, speaking at the 2020 Stories of Life book launch, on behalf of one of our sponsors, Eternity Matters.

Last year, Peter submitted a story that he’d been working on, a story from his younger cab-driving days in Sydney – a story that includes the mention of bodies, a stick and eternity.

The 2019 Stories of Life anthology

As a Stories of Life team member, Peter’s story was not eligible for a prize, but our editors chose it for publication in our 2019 anthology, Papa’s Shoes and other stories of life. Here is a reading of Peter’s story, as broadcasted on 1079 Life through the past South Australian summer:

Enjoyed this? Order our anthologies from Book Depository and get more light-filled stories delivered to your door.

Might your story of faith be in our 2020 anthology? Think about the times you’ve experienced God’s grace and check back in next Monday for a short writing video on ‘Getting Started’ by Dr James Cooper, head of Creative Writing at Tabor College.

Writing and submitting entries could be a great project for families or faith communities to work together, even if you cannot meet together in person. To write about something is to relive it again, and writing a story of life could be a great reminder of God’s goodness at a difficult time.

Click 2020 Stories of Life writing competition for a PDF copy of the flyer above . Note that there is no entry fee for writers aged 17 and under, and Tabor has developed an English curriculum document for teachers who want to use Stories of Life in their classes.

 

 

What’s new in 2020?

Today, as we launch the 2020 Stories of Life writing competition, it seems as if we live in totally different times compared to 2016 when we first started. But God is unchanging, and the team at Stories of Life remains committed to celebrating, publishing and broadcasting stories of life.

As of today, our submission forms are ready to receive your stories. The submission period will remain open until 31 July. But before you upload your story, we wanted to tell you about some new resources we’re making available.

What’s new in 2020?

April and May

Tabor lecturers Pete Court and James Cooper are developing a series of short writing videos that we will upload through April and May. If you are a Facebook user, liking our Facebook page @storiesoflifewritingcompetition will make sure you don’t miss any new posts or videos.

June – Feedback Month

You will be able to send in one draft of each story you intend to submit. Note that a person can submit a maximum of one story per category.

Submission of story drafts will be via an online form. There will be no fee for this. One of our editors will then email feedback to you. We will do our best to respond in a timely manner, so that you have plenty of time to polish your story before submission closes.

What you chose to do with that feedback is entirely up to you. You are not bound to send us the same story for your final submission.

What remains the same?

  • Our submission guidelines and submission period: 1 April to 31 July.
  • Cash prizes for first, second and third place winners in all three categories.
  • Publication of a 2020 Stories of Life anthology, comprised of the best stories we receive this year
  • Our invitation to anyone who has ever had a story published with us to let us know when they have publishing news.

In 2020, we will continue to share stories of life, celebrate excellence in writing, and give glory to God. Will you join us?

 

 

Sprinkler Spontaneity

The 2019 Stories of Life anthology

Last year, Diana Davison’s story, Sprinkler Spontaneity, was published in our 2019 anthology, Papa’s Shoes and other Stories of Life.

Contributors and sponsors at the launch of Papa’s Shoes and other stories of life in November 2019. Diana is third from the left.

Diana also recorded her story at the 1079 Life studios in Adelaide. Sprinkler Spontaneity was broadcast in South Australia over summer. You can hear it here:

We asked Diana to tell us a bit about herself, why she entered this competition and if she had any photos to share. This is what she sent us.

Young Diana with her father

This is a treasured old photograph of my beloved father – Kenneth Davison. That’s little me photo-bombing to the left (I may have started the movement… just saying).

My father was my solid ground and I feel very blessed that he was here to be my beacon on this earth. I miss him dearly. My short story – Sprinkler Spontaneity – is dedicated to him.

Writing my story was a needed step to healing after his passing on Boxing Day in 2017. I was not coping and felt so alone. However, I soon realized I was not alone.  My ramblings were heard and, with the acceptance of my sharing of emotions and struggles, I was acknowledged with a print in – Papa’s Shoes – which I am truly grateful for. It has propelled me forward positively to embrace writing and to know we are never truly alone.  Thank you ~ always.

Diana Davison

Copies of Papa’s Shoes and other Stories of Life are available for purchase online. You can also visit our 20182017 and 2016 archives for more great stories of life. You’ll find prize winning stories, pictures and stories recorded for radio, often read by the writers themselves.

Could your story of faith be in our 2020 anthology? More info on key dates and the kind of stories we are looking for here.

Confessions of a Realist

The 2019 Stories of Life anthology

Last year, Emily Maurits’ story won first prize in the Tabor Open category. Her story, Confessions of a Realist, was published in the 2019 anthology, Papa’s Shoes and other Stories of Life. We asked Emily to give us some background to her story and this is how she replied:

When my sister Jasmine was diagnosed with a brain tumour just in time for my 21st birthday, I was distraught. Struggles with health were common in my family – but my little sister had always been the healthy one.

That diagnosis began a three month hospital stay, eleven operations, and countless hours spent in the Children’s hospital. It also began a journey. A journey which pushed us closer together, which uncovered the deep love of our church community, and ultimately, a journey which brought us hope.

Hope for healing, yes, but also hope in the kindness of others, in faith that can outlast tragedy, and in miracles after the eleventh hour.

After she was released from hospital I began a blog about loving people with chronic illnesses because, as we soon discovered, sometimes healing comes with complications and aftereffects. I named it Called to Watch, because if there’s one thing I learnt over those long months and the years that followed, it’s this: I can’t save anyone. I am not the Saviour, Jesus is. Sometimes you can’t bear someone else’s burden; all you can do is watch – but you can watch in faith, in love, and in hope. You can watch because God has called you to this moment, even as he calls the sun up each morning and the cicadas each evening.

My entry into Stories of Life captures a moment of hope reawakened. It’s a glorious moment, a true gift from God. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that these moments can exist. In the long, hard slog of caring and being cared for, healthy pragmatism can become life-killing cynicism very quickly. I wanted to share my sister’s healing because there’s comfort in second-hand miracles. They are a reminder that our God holds each moment of each day in his hands. When He brought my sister home on the exact date I prayed for, against the expectations of everyone involved, he actually did two miracles: one of physical healing, and one of hope restored.

My prayer is that He would bless each of you with this second miracle through my sister’s story. Not all miracles are ground shaking or impressive looking, but each are a gift from our Father, and a reminder of a better future.

This is a photo of me and my sister three years after her first surgery. It makes me so happy, because there were many hospital days when I wasn’t sure if I’d ever see her again.

L-R: Jasmine and Emily

Emily’s story was published in the 2019 anthology, Papa’s Shoes and other Stories of Life. Could your story of faith be in our 2020 anthology? More info on key dates and the kind of stories we are looking for here.

Read all of our winning stories in The Best of 2019.

To read more great stories, visit our 2018, 2017 and 2016 archives. There you’ll find prize winning stories, pictures and stories recorded for radio, often read by the writers themselves.

2019 Stories of Life winners

Tabor Open Stories of Life (1000 – 1500 words)

First place: Confessions of a Realist by Emily Maurits

Second place: No Place Like Home by Gaynor Faulkner

Third place: Vessel by Rebecca Abdel-Nour

 

Eternity Matters Short Stories of Life (under 500 words)

First place: In A Manger by Joanne Prenzler Smith

Second place: Drop Zone by Juni Desireé Hoel

Third place: That Crazy Message From God by R.J. Rodda

 

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

First Place: The Golden Detour by Kaitlin Turland

Second Place: The Happy Memoir by Baxter Gierus-Heintze

Equal Third Place: My Mother’s Death by Jonah Teh and My Journey Climbing Mount Kinabalu by Leanne Low

 

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

Tash – 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.