2011 winner details

Our winners for 2011 were chosen from a field of 43 entries from all over Australia. Winners will be published in 2012 – keep up to date with the how and the when by signing up to the extempore newsletter.

First prize – ‘Music in June’ by Isabelle Skaburskis

What the judges said:

“Two cultures and one music. A wonderful story.”
“This piece is characterised by strong writing, a lovely, open-ended storyline, and some wise observations about humans. A delightful piece.”

About the writer:

Isabelle Skaburskis

Isabelle Skaburskis moved to Australia from Cambodia in January 2011 to nurture her lifelong love of writing, and quite unexpectedly discovered Melbourne’s vibrant music community. She now uses jazz and other experimental musical styles to inform her use of language. Isabelle has published articles relating to her work in cross-cultural yoga therapy for trauma survivors, she regularly indulges her lust for poetry, and is currently wrestling and cajoling Cambodia into the shape of a novel.

Second prize – ‘Play it Sam’ by Danny Melia

What the judges said:

“A warm and sweetly evocative story, beautifully incorporating history, artistic passion and drive, friendship and musical alliances.”
“A moving story, well written, absorbing and authentic”

About the writer:

Danny Melia photo

Danny Melia

This is the third time that Danny Melia has had his writing published. The first was in 1973 and the second in 1990. Some might say ‘a long time between drinks’. He’s currently undertaking a diploma course in Professional Writing and Editing as he plans to supplement his retirement via the pen. Danny writes short and longer fiction, non-fiction articles and essays, travel features and narratives on many aspects of the Australian way of life. When he is not travelling about Australia with his wife, Pam, they live in Upper Ferntree Gully, Victoria.

Third prize – ‘Sing’ by Ann-Marie Rudd

“This is a universal tale: the serious musician coping with the ‘punter’ environment.
“A sad story of musical ambition, lost love and the complicated roads taken to find happiness. With some delightful turns of phrase and a distinct, and very musical, ambience.”

About the writer:

Anne-Marie Rudd

Ann-Marie is a former singer /songwriter who traded cocktail bars for lecture halls and recently graduated from university with an honours degree in writing. She has had poems, stories and articles published and is currently compiling a collection of her short fiction. Music inspires or features in most of her writing. The short story ‘Sing’ evolved from a poem and is the impetus for a longer work in progress about music and obsession. Ann fell in love with jazz music many years ago and her only regret in life is never having heard Miles Davis play live.

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Congratulations to our winners!

We’re thrilled to announce that the winners of the National Jazz Writing Competition are:

First prize: Isabelle Skaburskis with her story ‘Music in June’

Second prize: Danny  Melia with his story ‘Play it Sam’

Third prize: Ann-Marie Rudd with her story ‘Sing’

We’re having some technical difficulties, so bios, pictures and other info will be posted later tonight!

Thanks to all our entrants and a special thanks to our judges. The judging role in a writing competition is an unenviable one.

A huge thanks to the Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) Cultural Fund for their generous support of this competition this year and in 2010.

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Winners decided – announcement on 28 October

Well, we’re very excited here at the National Jazz Writing Competition!  After sifting through 43 wonderful entries from all over Australia and beyond, our intrepid judges have nominated a first, second and third prize winner for the 2011 National Jazz Writing Competition. The winners have been contacted, and other entrants are receiving letters and emails this week.

Announcement details

Winners will be announced at Wangaratta Library on Friday 28th October at approximately 6:30 pm, during the launch of Geoff Page’s collection of jazz poetry A Sudden Sentence In The Air . We’ll be Tweeting (@extemporeAus) and Facebooking the news – and details will also appear right here.

Thanks to everyone involved, and particularly to the entrants! And a big thanks to The Copyright Agency Limited (CAL) Cultural Fund for their support (again!)

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2011 Entries now open!

Welcome to the 2011 National Jazz Writing Competition (NJWC)!

Entries are now open.

Please check our submission guidelines here >>>>

Thanks to the Copyright Agency Limited (CAL)’s Cultural Fund for assistance with this year’s competition and thanks also to our wonderful judges Louise Swinn and Allan Browne – we are looking forward to seeing bagfuls of great entries of fiction about jazz and improvised music.


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Dates for our 2011 competition

Yes, the National Jazz Writing Competition (NJWC) is running in 2011! Thanks once again to Copyright Agency Limited (CAL)’s Cultural Fund for their support of our competition.

The NJWC inhabits an interesting space – the one between words and music. In 2011 we’re looking for short fiction (up to 3000 words) inspired by jazz or improvised music.

The connection between improvised music and writing was documented most famously by the Beats – Jack Kerouac, Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsburg and others. What is the connection? I don’t really know what it is, but I do know that jazz and improvised music works within a structure and then plays with it. Full enjoyment of jazz and improvised music requires that you open your ears and actively listen. It’s not a music that requires knowledge to be enjoyed. It requires that you (the listener) be present and engaged but open with your imagination running free. As as a fiction writer and private poet, I know those are the key ingredients in the first drafts of my own best writing – being present and engaged and with my imagination running free.

If you’re a writer and you haven’t written any fiction inspired by music, but you’re intrigued by the idea, I recommend you try it. Go to a jazz gig or two and open your ears and your heart. You might be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Entries for the National Jazz Writing Competition will open on 20 June this year.

Watch this space or sign up to the extempore newsletter to keep in touch with dates and updates.


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Announcement: Winners on Twitter, 7 September 2010


Philip Harvey lives in Victoria. His poem Saturday Afternoons won third prize

Our second prize winner is from WA. He’s Kevin Gillam and his poem is called twelve bar blues

Our first prize winner is Ross Clark from Queensland and his poem is called The Death of Jazz

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2010 entries closed

Thanks to all who have submitted poems to the 2010 National Jazz Writing Competition. You’ll all receive next week with information about what to expect for the next few months.

Keep up to date with what’s happening by signing up for the free extempore Update newsletter.

Any enquiries should be directed to us using our email address: njwc@extempore.com.au


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2009 Winners announced

The winners of the 2009 National Jazz Writing Competition were announced this week. the competition this year focused on the essay form. Entries were received from all over Australia and winners are from three Australian states: New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia.

Entries reflected the breadth of interpretations possible for the term ‘essay’ and ranged from referenced pieces to writing that could also be classified as creative non-fiction. All had something interesting to say about some aspect of jazz and improvised music.

First Prize The Fearless Note by Andrew Lindsay
Second Prize The Certainty of Risk by Peter Mitchell
Third Prize The Scene… Sydney, way back then by Paul Pax Andrews

Editor’s Choice Award Facing the music – the critic under review by Roger Mitchell

Second and third prize-winning essays by Peter Mitchell and Paul Pax Andrews will be published in Issue 4 of extempore in May 2010. Pieces by Andrew Lindsay (First Prize) and Roger Mitchell (Editor’s Choice Award) appear in Issue 3, published 1 November 2009.

As the convenor of the National Jazz Writing Competition, I would like to thank all who submitted entries. We’ll be publishing a number of them in future issues. The competition has been a great way to unearth writing talent!

A big thanks to Birdland Records who support us year after year after year.

And an especially big thanks to our judges, Professor Catherine Cole and Gerry Koster (ABC Classic FM Jazz Up Late)


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Entries now closed

Entries for the 2009 National Jazz Writing Competition are now closed!

First, second and third prize winners will be announced in early September.

Thanks to all who entered.

To keep up to date on competition announcements and to be informed when entries open next year, why not sign up to the extempore Update newsletter.

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1st prize – $750

Entries for this year’s National Jazz Writing Competition are officially open so it’s time to get writing!

For the competition, 2009 is the year of the essay. $750 cash 1st prize and CD packs from Birdland Records for 2nd and 3rd prizes!

The winning essay will be published in extempore Issue 3 (Nov 09)

Information on how to enter is available here >

Closing date for entries is 31 July

And you can email any time with questions… njwc [at] extempore.com.au

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