Reception for the English Speaking Union Queensland awards presentation
Justice Logan; Professor Sussex and fellow board members from the English Speaking Union; ladies and gentlemen.
Kaye and I are delighted to welcome you to Government House for the presentation of the 2017 and 2018 Roly Sussex Short Story Awards.
It is fitting that I begin today by paying tribute to former ESU President, Mrs Ann Garms, taken too soon by cancer only four months ago.
Ann was an enthusiastic, energetic and effective leader, and she leaves a legacy of which we write another chapter today.
Her memory lives on, and we are fortunate to have spent time with someone so dedicated to the great State of Queensland, someone with an incredible passion for English, for storytelling.
For native speakers, it is easy to take for granted the ubiquity of English – spoken by 20 per cent of the world’s population.
And while it may seem natural to most of us, those born in countries outside the Anglophone sphere testify that English is not necessarily an easy language to master.
Some aspects of English are devilishly complex.
Spelling, for example, fails to provide consistent guidance to pronunciation.
Consider 'cough', 'through' and 'though', all ending in the same letters.
There are the irregular past tenses – 'arose', 'became', 'fell', and many more.
There are also phrasal verbs – verbs followed by prepositions, with wild swings in meaning.
For some, the English language is primarily a means of communication.
For others, including today’s recipients of the Roly Sussex Short Story Awards, it is much more than that.
For them, it is an art form.
It is a way to express their inner selves.
A way, also, to share stories otherwise left untold.
Stories which allow us to connect with people, loved ones and strangers alike, on our most human level.
The Roly Sussex Short Story Awards foster original creative writing of outstanding quality, including experimental, challenging or thought-provoking work.
Today’s recipients have demonstrated an exceptional talent for writing combined with a vivid sense of imagination.
I commend each winner on marvellous achievement and congratulate them all on tales well told.
I wish all recipients every success in their literary futures, and look forward to presenting them with their awards.