J Victoria Michael won the open section of the Write Now! competition run by Yarra Plenty Regional Libraries, with her story, The ZigZag Path.
Written to the theme of home, Judith's story made an impression on judge, Lyndel Caffrey, standing out above the bunch.
Lyndel had this to say:
“Judith Michael is a talented writer whose story, “The Zig Zag Path,” won the 2016 Write Now Short Story Competition. Judith’s story was strongly plotted, insightful and quirky, deftly exploring the emotional journey of a woman clearing out her dead parents’ seaside cottage prior to its sale. The protagonist’s bittersweet memories of her parents’ last years are gently teased out, and the exploration of the three key characters is precise and thoughtful. It’s a quietly vivid story reflecting on family ties, inheritance and letting go of the past.”
From the Author
The Watsonia Library is the perfect place to hold an awards ceremony and book launch; spacious, bright, and populated with a quietly thriving community of readers and dedicated staff. I felt at home before I stepped through the doors. Lots of children were present, some excited at the prospect of being an integral part of the proceedings. I was impressed by the genuine effort the Yarra Plenty Regional Library (nine branches in all) make in fostering an interest in children’s reading, and the competition was clearly part of their plan.
During the ceremony I watched nervously as place-getters in each category stepped up to receive their prizes. After the four Highly Commended writers in the Open Section accepted their awards, followed by the runner-up, there was only my name and one place left. I had won first prize.
Another achievement for all was to see our stories in the Write Now anthology, which is available to borrow from Yarra Plenty Regional Libraries www.yprl.vic.gov.au.
Open Section theme ‘Home’, winning story…
The Zigzag Path by Judith Michael (also known as J Victoria Michael)
Teresa is clearing out the family home after the death of her elderly mother. The house now sold, she sits with a cooling cup of coffee and recalls her visit when both parents were still alive. Back then, conflict over the loss of money had revealed with startling clarity a deep distrust between the parents, one that is reflected in Teresa’s own relationship. Given a moment when she could possibly recover what had been lost, will her need to preserve the status quo prove too tempting? Or will she choose to walk away, even though this new and difficult path could further destabilise her marriage?