By Derek Schlennstedt
A lively audience packed the GEMCO theatre in Emerald on 25 August for the 2019 PAVE Woorilla Poetry Prize Awards.
As well as fine poetry, there was plenty of entertainment from singer Lucy Roxburgh, as well as Ann Poore on electric harp and spoken word performer Ben Andrews.
Cardinia Council Mayor Graeme Moore opened the event with a welcome to country and reflected on art in the Hills.
Every year the prize attracts entries from across Australia and this year was no exception. Every state was represented with judged commenting on the extremely high calibre of the entries.
The winning poem, The Eighth Strike was by Damen O’Brien from Queensland and Upwey poet, Cameron Semmens was commended for his poem, The Death of Whales.
The winner of the youth section was Sameer Mohammad Khan from Truganina for he his poem, She Will Never Forget – a moving poem honoring his grandmother’s life.
Two important announcements were made on the night with the decision being made to rename the Open Section to the Judith Rodriguez Memorial Prize in memory of Judith’s long association with Woorilla, right up to her death late last year.
Woorilla will also be introducing a new category in the Youth Section for those whose first language is other than English.