Winner Helen Thurloe, centre, and runner-up Lucy Williams with Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven
The winners of ACU's writing competition have been announced as part of the Melbourne Writers' Festival.
Sydney poet Helen Thurloe has won the 2014 ACU Prize for Literature with her poem 'Surgeon Mother'. The winner and runners up Lucy Williams and Jenny Blackford were announced on Thursday night, 21 August 2014 at ACU’s Melbourne Campus as part of the Melbourne Writers' Festival.
Thurloe’s poem was chosen from more than 200 entries nationally on the theme The Language of Compassion. The Sydney-based poet won $7000 for her poem, and $2000 and $1000 were awarded for second and third place.
“Being a poet can be a private and solitary practice and anything that encourages poets to step out and share their work with the world is extremely important,” Helen Thurloe said. "I am both grateful and surprised at having received this award and I would like to sincerely thank Australian Catholic University for initiating it.”
Poet, author and academic Professor Kevin Hart, ACU Literature lecturers Dr Carolyn Masel and Matthew Ryan, and Academic Board chair Professor Margot Hillel OAM judged the award. The prize was made possible through the sponsorship of ACU’s Directorate of Identity and Mission. Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Craven and Director of Identity and Mission Father Anthony Casamento presented the awards.
The theme of compassion had resonated with poets and the standard of entries was particularly high, said Professor Hillel.
“The judges were delighted and impressed by the way poets responded to this year's theme in moving and sometimes surprising ways. At least one of the judges confessed to shedding more than a few tears while reading the entries. Among other things, poems addressed compassion of the everyday, compassion for animals, the elderly, the ill and refugees,” she said.
The ACU Prize for Literature aims to support writers and to continue the tradition of the Catholic Church as a key patron of the arts.
"Australian Catholic University was delighted to be sponsoring this important event in the Australian literary calendar. As with last year, the breadth and quality of the entries for this year's prize has been remarkable, and is a testament to the eagerness with which the Australian literary community has embraced this prize,” Fr Casamento said.