September 12, 2018
So this is nice. Third place in the Estelle Pinney Short Story Competition. It's nice for a couple of reasons: Firstly, it's always, no matter the size or prestige of the competition, to have your writing recognised and awarded (and rewarded -- in this case with a cheque for $75). There were 67 entries for this inaugural short story competition, so hopefully future iterations of the prize will attract more entries and the Society of Women's Writers Qld will keep the Estelle Pinney name, which brings me to my second reason, and why I entered the competition in the first place: Estelle Pinney's novel Time Out for Living (1995, 2009) was one of three 'World War II ensemble home-front novels' I analysed for the exegetical component of my creative writing doctorate, which resulted in the (QLA shortlisted!) manuscript Garrison Town. The other two novels were Come in Spinner (1951) by Dymphna Cusack and Florence James and Xavier Herbert's (deeply misogynistic) Soldiers' Women (1962). Time Out for Living is set in Brisbane during World War II and follows the fortunes and misfortunes in work, life and love of a group of women caught up the bustle and hustle of wartime Brisbane. Pinney was a teenager of 15 or 16 in 1942 and Time Out for Living, while not autobiographical -- her main protagonist Lulla Riddel is in early 20s -- is based, in part, on her wartime experiences, such as working in a grenade factory in West End.
I was hoping to meet Estelle, who is now in her 90s, at the award presentation, but apparently she'd just headed off a on a cruise with her daughter. The judge of the competition said she awarded me third prize, partly because my story 'White Powder' -- an abridged extract from my MS Garrison Town -- is reminiscent of Estelle's memories of wartime Brisbane which she is currently writing about in her a memoir. Estelle lived a life full of adventure with her husband, writer Peter Pinney who died in 1992 of cancer.