Now in its 10th year, the award is hosted by UK-based contemporary art and culture publication Aesthetica Magazine, which has a print and digital readership of 311,000 worldwide.
O’Rourke, who is graduating from AUT next week with a first class honours Master of Creative Writing, made the cut with her poem Spells To Tame Children; the result of interviewing her sons as to what they remembered about their childhood, the best and worst things that happened, what sort of mother she’d been and questions they’d like to ask her. It has previously appeared in New Zealand literary publication Landfall.
Mt Eden, Auckland resident O’Rourke is now working on a memoir – Zigzags and Leapfrogs – which she partly developed as her MCW thesis with AUT mentor, poet Siobhan Harvey.
As a finalist her work will be published in the Aesthetica Creative Writing Annual, a compendium that fuses new and critically-acclaimed international writers. Considering a vast range of themes and subject matter, the book reveals many different aspects of life today alongside introductions by journalist/critic and former literary editor of The Independent, Arifa Akbar and poet and professor Dr Oz Hardwick.
Cherie Federico, editor of Aesthetica Magazine says, “In publishing the Annual, we are presented with a fantastic and unique opportunity to showcase some of the best emerging and established literary talent from across the world. The result is a collection of new writing of outstanding quality, which you can return to time and time again; it will continue to spark your passion for new writing.”
Judges included Martine Pierquin, Course Organiser in Creative Writing and Film, Media and Contemporary Cultures at the University of Edinburgh Short Courses; Stephen Toase, whose work is published extensively and who is currently working with imove Arts on a project called Haunt; Liz Jones, teaching Fellow at Aberystwyth University’s Theatre, Film and Television Department, and David Wharton, Course Director of the Certificate in Creative Writing at the Vaughan Centre for Lifelong Learning, University of Leicester.
This year’s competition was fierce, with more than 2,500 entries from over 40 countries worldwide, including Australia, Canada, the USA, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Japan, China, Ireland and the UK.