By Taylor Navarro

    It was an average Wednesday afternoon when I opened my inbox and found the email that made me stand up in the middle of a silent State Library and gasp out loud: Congratulations on being shortlisted for the 2023 Young Adas Short Story Prize for your story, ‘The Precipice’. 

    This is one of the competitions hosted by the famed Willy Lit Fest. 

    A few months later I find myself waiting, knees shaking, for my name to be called from among the other formidable shortlisters. There are so many faces from all across Victoria as well as from the west; poets, creative writers and biographers of all different ages, highly skilled with gorgeous stories to tell, waiting to hear about their placing in various awards. It’s the first time I’ve ever been among so many similar minds with the same passion for writing. The Williamstown Ballroom wasn’t doing a lot to calm my buzzing nerves either, large and tall and filtered in dim, purple lights, circular tables arranged behind rows of chairs near the front stage. I soon fully realise how significant this event truly is when the mayor makes an opening speech. 

    Each first-prize winner, after listening to praise on their work, is allowed a few words and then an opportunity to share the first part of their stories with the audience. The winning stories are magical. The readings are vivid insights into completely different worlds and emotions unparalleled. There is not one winner who didn’t deserve their prize or place in that ballroom, and the copy of the anthology containing all the shortlisted entries will always have a place close to my heart. (psst— you can buy that anthology for yourself, too!)

    I am fortunate enough to have finished with Highly Commended!

    As always, this experience is a huge honour and I will always be grateful to have it. 

    If you’d like to read all the entries you can purchase the Adas 2023 Anthology at Book and Paper, Douglas Parade, Williamstown
    (Tel: 03 9397 7784,

    Our content is a labour of love, crafted by dedicated volunteers who are passionate about the west. We encourage submissions from our community, particularly stories about your own experiences, family history, local issues, your suburb, community events, local history, human interest stories, food, the arts, and environmental matters. Below are articles created by community contributors. You can find their names in the bylines.

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