Sophie’s stunning piece nominated for the HSC Young Writers Showcase

29 January 2024

Sophie’s stunning piece nominated for the HSC Young Writers Showcase

We’re exceptionally excited to celebrate Sophie Wainwright, Year 12 2023, who has been nominated for possible inclusion in the Young Writers Showcase; an anthology of the best English Extension 2 major works in NSW. This is the first time a student of Shire Christian School has been nominated for the prestigious recognition.

Students in English Extension 2 compose an original piece of 5000-6000 words in a style of their choice. Sophie’s piece Portrait of Joy is a Creative Non-Fiction composition that “combines prose and poetry to examine the life of the Australian painter Joy Hester. Through this vibrant and complex individual, I endeavoured to illuminate the intersections between place, art and gender that shape Australia’s national identity.“  

Sophie’s unique style of writing, experimentation in form and voice have resulted in a lyrically beautiful text that leaps and swirls from the page.

... I was able to experiment with different styles of writing while staying true to the life of Joy Hester. Additionally, I attempted to develop a unique piece of writing by experimenting with the way words flow across the page, mirroring the ‘art’ that Joy produced throughout her life.” 

Congratulations Sophie! Your hard work and patience are to be celebrated! You can read an extract of Sophie’s Major Work below. 

It was a farm before it was a house, and before that it was Land. Land was not just bare-crusted desert. Land was a capsule of light, where green escapes from sandy earth and water flows into the sky. Grassy trails meander, carrying with them the prints of kangaroos, of wombats, and sleek lorikeets ascend with unassuming grace - as if not constructed to fly - against the roar of an army of cicadas and the laughing of a thousand kookaburras. Then, within the Land, dotted here and scattered there, true Desert bakes under the orb of the sun, hidden in patchwork bush. True Desert is ochre and red, having swallowed the sun’s colour in its dusty throat. There are sounds, there must be, but compared to the Land, it is silent because the Desert is ancient work. True Desert was here before, when there was only Desert, that stretched ceaselessly through rambling plains. Desert is the sorrowful wallow of life decaying and frying and becoming a shallow carcass.

In a raggedly sewn hem between Desert and Land, sits the Scar Tree. Yingabeal. Its red bark churns with swirling phloem and xylem. Its gum leaves scent the air and send a force humming through the heart of the Land. The Scar Tree is saying things, speaking of life without words. It speaks of the cold blessing of wind through its bristling leaves, of the gentle kiss of sunlight in its stretching branches. It worships celestial dew in its twisting roots, and tells the history of the people in its scarred, sacred trunk. Talk runs far afield in this Land. Wisps of kangaroo grass speak of the dance of life. Wattle shakes down its vibrant pollen; soon it will become seeds, then flowers. Eucalyptus trees echo the wind’s gossip, and bluebells laugh as time breezes through.

(Extract from Portrait of Joy by Sophie Wainwright) 

Miss Lauren Dalrymple 
English Teacher

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