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The Charlotte Duncan Award was established in 2009 in memory of our baby daughter, Charlotte Duncan, to raise funds for the neo-natal unit at Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital. Donation to date is $1923.


Charlotte Duncan Award 2013
Shortlist and Winners


First prize

River Dreaming

Kaye Baillie

Second prize

Andre's Surprise

Elizabeth Smart

Third prize

Neptune's Postman

Kathleen Noud

Short Listed

Freya's Farewell

Lisa Creffield

Short Listed

Peas and Polar Bears

Teresa Capetola

Short listed

Riley's Box

Zoya Nojin


Previous years results

Charlotte Duncan Award - 2012

Charlotte Duncan Award - 2011

Charlotte Duncan Award - 2010

Charlotte Duncan Award - 2009


Judges Report (Summary)- 2013

First prize - River Dreaming by Kaye Baillie

A good story about one's struggles to get what one wants. Readers would like to know how each character is thinking, feeling, what they are doing during the dialogue; otherwise it feels kind of empty. Readers like to know what Cassy is feeling after a day of work; isn't she exhausted; aren't her hands and feet blistered?

The descriptions are very well done; you get a sense of how bad the flies chasing Cassy are. There is a good sense of what the apricot orchid is like which makes the reader feel like he/she has experienced being there. Overall it is an excellent story.


Second prize - Andre's Surprise by Elizabeth Smart

This story has a lot of potential. It is the bones of a story that needs a lot of fleshing out to become a great story. It has a lot of telling within it, you tell us there's a look upon each of the characters faces but do not explain it. What does a confused face look like, how was he upset? It's explained that Pa is old and fragile and you show us how he is by the way he walks and the time it takes to get from parking just to the front gate. I want to know what Pa looks like, is his hair thinning, does he have hair? How does his shirt/jumper feel when Andre is hugging him? Use the sense to tell the story. What does the old folks' home look like, the atmosphere, the sounds, the smells?

The whole story feels kind of dialogue heavy, there is nothing wrong with this because when you flesh out the story more it'll even itself out. We don't really get a sense of how old Andre is. Andre feels like he moves from eight to around fourteen years of age; you don't have to tell the audience but please imply his age a little more, you could actually tell us at Andre's birthday.

The last page is quite possibly the best written part of the story. You get Andre's senses, what Pa feels, the general thought of giving something new to someone. The ending was satisfying.


Third Prize - Neptune's Postman by Kathleen Noud

This story is really well done, with really tight language. There is an air of mystery around the story about what is going on, and I like the way that you've done it. The descriptive language is done well, the way you explain the beach in particular. I feel as though the boat scene was a little underdone. I would like to feel the waves and how cold it would've been out there.

You put in scenes about what happened to some of the recipients of the mysterious letters, you should expand on these. The first one you did with the librarian was good at the beginning where you've shown how she was depressed but you kind of fell flat with what she does. You explain that she went to Paris, how does this help her, how'd she change?

It's an excellent start and has the reader wanting more. But I feel the story ended abruptly. You need to think of a stronger ending, something perhaps pertaining to why the messages led all those people to do things they needed to do.


Paul Collins
Judge, Charlotte Duncan Award 2013