Ulrick Prize Dinner and Readings June 13, 14

The Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Foundation for the Arts offer a yearly prize of $10,000 each for a short story and for a poem.Dinner for the Josephine Ulrick prize was held on Tuesday June 13 at the Gold Coast Arts Centre. Short story prize-winner Girija Tropp was announced, and Poetry Prize winner Nathan Shepherdson (who had won the same prize two years ago); they read their prize-winning work to us.

Asked to speak as one of the two judges (Frank Moorhouse was the other one) of the story prize I talked about the keen practice of the short story form ( we had 271 entires) and the way fewer magazines publish stories any more.

Runners-up in the story prize were Lisa Nankervis and Patricia Cornelius.

Wednesday June 14.

The prize-winners and judges of the short story and poetry prizes read to a small audience.

The venue was a lecture theatre at Griffith University.

Although what was read was all terrific, I’m sorry to say it was a dreary little event. It was conducted as if it were an embarrassing little necessity that had to be gotten out of the way quickly. There was nothing of a celebration or an entertainment about it at all. I felt sorry for anyone who had made the effort to attend, though there was in fact a very small audience – few people would have even known it was on (what publicity?) and there was little to promise any joy in attending.

As I have noted [blog, below] when the writing students put on readings they get a nightclub in Surfers and make a real party of it.

These rich prizes are rare recognition and reward for these perennial literary forms, poetry and the short story. Increasingly hard to publish, stories and poems do not easily reach readers. They are rarely given such generous support. This bequest deserves an occasion worthy of it.

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