Wellington East Girls’ College student Elsie Christoffel was announced winner of the annual Katherine Mansfield Short Story Award at Wednesday night’s award ceremony at the Alexander Turnbull Library.
Elsie Christoffel with judge Pip Adam
Elsie Christoffel’s story, Letter to Love, is an experimental story of love viewed through an unusual lens and won her the award and a $500 prize
The Award is open to Year 12 and 13 students from schools in the Wellington region, and this year attracted more than 40 entries from some of the region’s top English students.
The stories that made the finals list were all by young women, and Christoffel had two stories on the list.
This year’s judge was Pip Adam, who this year won the country’s most prestigious writing award, the $50,000 Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize, for her novel The New Animals.
The award-winning author said of the entries: “The range in topic and theme was impressive, and each work demonstrated an excellent understanding of the art of storytelling. The writers have produced distinct and pitch-perfect voices for their stories which give a sense of urgency and beauty to each of them in very different ways.”
The award is managed by Katherine Mansfield House & Garden, and made possible by the Gay Saker Bequest. Katherine Mansfield House & Garden is the birthplace of Katherine Mansfield, one of New Zealand’s foremost literary talents. The house, a Category 1 historic place, is operated as a museum.
Director of Katherine Mansfield House & Garden, Tamara Patten, said, “As a literary museum dedicated to a Wellington-born and internationally renowned author, we are delighted to be able to offer this Award to encourage the creativity and talent of Wellington’s young writers. This year’s finalists produced exceptional work.”
The winning story and the nine finalist stories can be read at the Katherine Mansfield House & Garden website.
Elsie Christoffel: Letter to Love (Winner)
Olivia Sinclair: Gone to Sea (Runner up)
Ella Strachan: Untitled (Runner up)
Kate Twomey: Alice (Runner up)
Madeleine Somerville: I Am
Elizabeth Schumaker: Me and Her
Emma Brown: I’ve Been Absent From My Skin
Ella Speden: Wasteland
Anneke Hutt: Hide
Elsie Christoffel: Good Art