Sports/Arts: Trying to redress the balance

Elaine Forrestal congratulates Councils who fund the arts

It is so reassuring to be involved with a Government agency which has set up Young Writer’s Awards in a deliberate attempt to provide an alternative to sport for young people in their community. This year I have been delighted to work with the City of Armadale Library Service, running workshops and presenting prizes for their 7th annual Young Writer’s Competition.

Since The West Australian newspaper shortsightedly abandoned its long-running Young Writer’s Competition a few years ago we have seen a big increase in the number of entries to the Tim Winton Awards and their expansion into regional Western Australia, in an attempt to fill the gap. These Awards have been run by the City of Subiaco Library for 24 years and, to the credit of staff and Council, have stepped up and absorbed much of the extra load created by the closure of the Young Writer’s Competition. But there is obviously still a need for other groups, like the City of Armadale, to also offer an alternative to the ubiquitous sporting fixtures that crowd our weekends.

Both the City of Armadale and the City of Subiaco offer art competitions alongside their creative writing ones. And the annual Make Your Won Storybook Competition, run by the WA Branch of the Children’s Book Council of Australia, offers prizes for a combination of writing and illustration. However, there is still a long way to go to redress the imbalance between funding for sport and funding for the arts. The fact that the number of entries in the Armadale Young Writer’s Awards has grown each year since its inception shows the need is there for more local Councils to step up and provide encouragement for our future generations of writers, illustrators, film and documentary makers, journalists and all the other professions which require imaginative and dedicated writers and artists.

Congratulations to City of Armadale, City of Subiaco and CBCWA. Your hard work and dedication is much appreciated.

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