English Speaking Union Inaugural Roly Sussex Short Story Awards
Kaye and I are truly delighted to be with you for this evening’s presentation of the very first Roly Sussex Short Story Awards.
I can think of no more appropriate person than Roly for the English Speaking Union to honour in naming these awards – he has dedicated his life and career to studying, teaching and researching languages, and by his own admission, read ‘voraciously and omnivorously’ as a child and continues to read in several languages.
I am particularly pleased to see the English Speaking Union supporting the revival one of the world’s oldest literary forms — the story.
Stories began before humans could write and have been part of every culture from our own Indigenous people to the ancient Egyptians and Greeks to modern times.
There may have been a brief decline in interest in the short story when the novel emerged in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but it has re-emerged, stronger than ever — indeed there are even writers now responding to the challenge of composing the shortest of short stories: the Tweet.
At this juncture I would dearly love to have said ‘be upstanding’ – not only because it was an expression which I heard many, many times in my legal career, but because it was one of the many hundreds of odd English words and expressions Roly has explained to us in his fourteen years of broadcasting on ABC radio or in his weekly newspaper column.
However, as we are already ‘upstanding’, I will content myself with asking you to join me in heartily congratulating the English Speaking Union on this terrific initiative and applauding the inaugural winners of the Roly Sussex Short Story Competition. I am looking forward to presenting the awards, and wish the recipients every success for a life enriched by words. Thank you.