Winton-award win sparks motivation

By Charlotte Wooldridge | posted on November 1, 2020

DENMARK Senior High School student Elva Verity has made her first step towards becoming a professional author after winning one of Tim Winton’s awards for young writers this month.

The Year 11 novelist took out first place in the upper secondary category, beating the 1,350 entrants across the state.

Elva said the inspiration for her story came from a prompt she received in her English class that asked students to write a story inspired by ‘the human experience’.

“Mr Beckwith was the one who gave us the prompt for the creative writing we did in class,” she said.

“I think if I hadn’t have gotten that I wouldn’t have written the story that I wrote.

“It’s really a tale as old as time. I wrote about colonisation and the detrimental impacts it has on huge whole cultures and society, even way down the line and not just at the time of the invasion.”

Despite facing some health issues this year, Elva said being recognised for her writing has shown her what the future could hold.

“Since about Year 8, when people ask me what I want to do I say I want to be a writer, but in the back of my mind I also always pictured myself working in some dead-end real estate job,” she said.

“I know I’m a good writer, but I never actually thought I could do it, and now there’s this door that’s opened up and I’m doing interviews and people are congratulating me.”

Elva hopes to enter to win a fellowship at the Writers’ Centre next year, with the prize being a two-week residency.

To read a copy of this year’s winning stories download the Tim Winton Award for Young Writers 2020 Anthology.