Reception for the English Speaking Union Queensland
English Speaking Union President, Emeritus Professor Roland Sussex OAM; Director and Vice-President, Mr Richard Macedo; Director, Mr Ray Hellfernan; supporters; awardees, your family and friends; ladies and gentlemen.
I begin by acknowledging the original custodians of the lands around Brisbane, the Turrbal and Jagera people, and pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging, and to any First Nations people here today. The ancient stories shared by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people enrich us all.
Welcome to Government House!
Graeme and I are delighted to be hosting this afternoon’s very special celebration to acknowledge the winners of the 2021 and 2022 Roly Sussex Short Story Competition.
This occasion gives me the opportunity to pay tribute to the efforts of the English Speaking Union Queensland—under the leadership of its President, Emeritus Professor Roly Sussex—who I believe knows a thing or two about the benefits of skillful language use!
I am aware that recent times have not been easy, with the sad loss, in 2018, of former President, the visionary Ann Garms, and then upheavals and disruptions caused by unforeseen events including COVID, the Brisbane floods, and the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Yet, improving literacy in our State is immensely important, and I am therefore honoured to support the enduring charter of the English Speaking Union, which highlights how the English language has the power to inspire and transform.
In particular, I am so pleased to see our Secondary School students being encouraged to flex their writing muscles, and put their work forward for consideration. Well done to the young writers with us today!
Since it began, in 2012, Professor Roly Sussex’s writing competition has encouraged the creation of innovative and provocative work, and, as one of Australia’s most prized literary awards, it attracts writers from across the country.
Short stories have an incredible ability to showcase the agility and inventiveness of language.
They require the writer to attract, inspire and transport, with brevity, precision and intensity. Every word serves a purpose, and, in the most successful works, the reader is left with something delightfully intangible that resonates long after the final full stop.
It is therefore even more admirable that all of today’s award recipients have managed to write such outstanding examples of this notoriously difficult form.