Saturday 1 August the 2015 New Zealand Young writers $1000 'Basil Sellers Award' will be announced at the annual Press Service International young writer conference in Sydney.
After 25 weeks of markings by a group of five New Zealand panellists which concluded last Friday 10 July, the points have been sent to statistician John Grocott who is engaged in the tallying process - as this article is published.
The New Zealand Panellists who spent 25 weeks doing the hard yards of reading their articles deserve the accolades of the awards program which was initiated in 2013.
2013 Basil Sellers Award – Daniel Jang
2014 Basil Sellers Award – Casey Murray
2013 Theological Award - Sam Burrows
2014 Theological Award - Jeremy Suisted
2013 Tronson Consistency Award – Casey Murray and Sophia Sinclair
2014 Tronson Consistency Award – Sophia Sinclair
The 2015 Panellists for the New Zealand Basil Sellers Award and the Tronson Consistency Award -
Brian Carrell - Christchurch
Liz Hay - Christchurch
Peter & Kathryn Yaxley - Tasmania
Deidre Tronson - Sydney
Natalie Chu - Christian Today
Peter and Kathryn Yaxley replaced Peter Grace from Auckland who asked to be replaced as he was overwhelmed with his editing ministry.
The first thing to note are the number of Cycles in these 25 weeks. Each Cycle consists of 5 weeks. Therefore there have been 5 complete Cycles over these 25 weeks, and it represents 5 articles by each New Zealand young writer.
What needs to be understood in the first instance, is that the only New Zealand young writers in the hunt for these awards are those who have written five articles. Should any young writer not complete all 5 articles, clearly their points tally will be seriously truncated. There is an old adage that 95% of success is turning up!
Another consideration is what each Panellist proclivities are. Christian Today's Natalie Chu like her predecessor David Chang - point allocations are solely on the basis of readership statistics. The more readers, the more likely to get higher point allocations.
The other four Panellists range between an emphasis of the message (the heart) while others have priorities of good English, logic, syntax and spelling. One Panellists is a retired editor and author, another a retired Anglican Bishop and author, another a retired academic and a couple who have been in ministry for 35 years. Overall there is a great mix of Panellists who collegiately determine the winners.
Who is in the running
What we can affirm is that both the 2013 and 2014 winners – Daniel Jang and Casey Murray are not writing this year. Daniel is on mission and Casey changed career paths.
Moreover under the Press Service International award rules a young writer must be at the annual conference, as anyone who can't be bothered turning up is not rewarded, especially as an air-fare scholarship is offered.
Therefore it is a clean sheet (as it were) for 2015. This presents a breadth of possibilities as some of the New Zealand young writers have presented remarkable articles on a wide variety of subjects.
The more experienced young writers have shown in the past they are able to put forward articles that have all the hallmarks of content, logic, English and message. It is not hard to identify such experienced people.
These have been writing for two years or more.
Auckland's Jared Diprose, Tim Shallard, Tash McGill, Brad Mills, Amanda Robinson, Amos Sale and Bex Silver. Rotorua's Matt Browning, Cambridge's Jeremy Suisted, Wellington's Scarlett Jones and Harriet Knox. Christchurch has Sophia Sinclair. Two years or more writing provides considerable 'gaining of ' experience.
There have been many new young writers who have come into the program this year, and we've have noticed that it usually takes a little time to gain the measure of writing a monthly column for an international on-line Christian new provider, but this may not be the situation for some of the Kiwi pen-smiths who have excelled this year!
In two weeks we'll discover who the Panellists have marked as the 2015 New Zealand young writer winners.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html