Click on the competition name to download the entry form.
Soapbox Climb upon your soapbox and write a punchy or opinionated article on any theme to a maximum of 2000 words.
Competion is closed. Soapbox 2013 will be open 1 June and closing 30 September 2013
FAW Queensland SS Comp 2013. This competition is now closed Winners announced at the May meeting of FAWQ
Flash Fiction entry formFor FAWQ members only 50 to 100 words. Competion now open. Closing date 30th June 2013
SOAPBOX 2012 Results
1st place: Teacher! by Robin Simson
2nd place: Sexualisation of Children: A Social Catastrophe by Alison Xiao
Highly Commended: Don’t Bash the Book. Buy It! by Delroy Oberg
Highly Commended: Let them stand on their own two feet by Peter Watts
Report compiled by Tamara Pratt
The 2012 Soap Box competition drew many entries, with a diverse number of topics ranging from global warming, rubbish collection, the age-old debate of women’s work, the permeation of technology, eBooks, customer service, dependant young adults, adoption and retirement.
Overall, the standard of entries was excellent with quality writing, passion, humour and witticisms and it was clear that many writers had strong opinions. The arguments in text were sound, logical and often concluding with well thought out and practical ideas for change or bettering the situation.
As in any contest, several entries didn’t follow guidelines regarding formatting, word count and style. Some entries were single-spaced, others too long or too short in the word count of between 1 000 and 2 000 words, while others told a story or a poem, rather than providing personal insight and facts that supported their opinion. Others were very heavy with statistics, showing that research isn’t always the best way to convey your message and even persuade others to think in your terms. And while guidelines can be tedious, they are there for a reason: to ensure that everyone has access to the same judging platform. We encourage all entrants to follow the guidelines for this reason and ensure your hard work isn’t disqualified when it doesn’t have to be.
As with any competition though there can only be one winner, and deciding was very difficult. This year, along with first and second prize, we awarded two highly commended entries that were deserving of a mention.
The first highly commended went to Delroy Oberg for her entry titled: “Don’t Bash the Book. Buy It!” Delroy’s entry was a passionate piece on the rise and rise of the Kindle and the eBook, and the importance of being in touch with a tangible book, one that we can touch and feel, and from it, learn while enjoying. Delroy noted that “no Kindle will ever have the flexibility, freshness and sense of excitement that a real book provides.” The article was insightful, thought provoking and was an excellent balance of opinion, fact and humour. By article end, Delroy had the judges convinced that we shouldn’t listen to the ‘pessimistic technophiles’ who predict the end of the book world within the next decade, but rather buy books from our booksellers.
The second highly commended went to Peter Watts for his entry titled: “Let them stand on their own two feet.” Peter’s entry was a practical and humorous piece on today’s generation of kids who haven’t suffered the harsh realities of growing up in a chore-laden, tough household (the norm of the day), but instead are overindulged on easy street. Peter’s take on the differences between the generations was engaging and based on a good mix of opinion and fact, and again, an entry that many readers would relate to, as did the judges. In Peter’s words, “Fellow Sufferers, it’s our responsibility, and in our interests, to teach our children to stand on their own two feet, and not on the four, poor, sore, feet of their put-upon-parents.”
Second place went to Alison Xia0 for her entry titled: “Sexualisation of Children: A Social Catastrophe.” Alison was clearly passionate about this topic, and delivered her argument in a captivating manner. A blend of points about television shows, gossip magazines, young actresses, music groups and popular fiction helped Alison convince the judges that there’s no place for parents to let their guards down when it comes to vetting the many influences that these channels have on the way our girls and daughters perceive themselves. Alison noted that “the internet is their oyster and the long-term effects of how we have raised our young generation may not properly be felt for decades, but rest assured, negative ramifications are a certainty.” This was clearly a topic close to Alison’s heart, and by entry end, the judges felt that yes, sexualisation of our children is a catastrophe.
And finally, first place was awarded to Robin Simson for his article titled “Teacher!” Robin conveyed the importance of teachers and the good work that they do in a compelling and informative way. The judges agreed that so much was said when Robin wrote: “Good teachers are the nutritionists of the mind.” Robin argued extremely well for the place a teacher holds in a student’s environment, and also addressed the role of the parent and other influential people which created a balanced opinion. From the outset, this gave Robin’s entry direction and momentum. Robin addressed a number of facts from a practical perspective, and certainly, his reasons for valuing teachers were persuasive. He caught the reader’s attention with direct questions throughout his entry, and had the judges engaged in the first few sentences. Robin also addressed the learning process, now and in the future, the current school trends in workplace health and safety that limit our children, and ways of achieving what it is he is very passionate about.
These entries had several key elements in common. The writers grabbed the reader’s attention in the first few lines by focusing their viewpoint and using well-crafted sentences or questions to engage the reader. Their choice of words spoke from the heart with a passion for their topic. They interlaced facts or practical examples with opinions to help support their viewpoint. And finally, the theme was clear and always able to be summarised in a few words by the time the judges had read the entry. Many entries had one or two elements, but not necessarily all.
On behalf of FAWQ, we’d like to thank you for your support for the 2012 Soap Box Competition and we encourage you to enter again next year. As mentioned, judging was very difficult because of the excellent quality of submissions, and we look forward to hearing what you have to say again in 2013.
FAWQ Flash Fiction Report 2012 by Susan Skowronski
Click here to read this report FAWQ Flash Fiction Report 2012 by Susan Skowronski