Inspired by Oscar Wilde’s poetry, Toowoomba State High School student Caitlin Maidment decided to enter her poem in USQ’s Get Writing Prize.
The piece, about someone with a habit of overthinking and how harmful it could be, earned the Year 11 student one of the top awards in the secondary school writing competition.
The USQ Get Writing Prize provided high school students an opportunity to submit poetry and short story entries with the winner and runners up in each category receiving a 12-month Queensland Writers Centre Youth Membership.
Miss Maidment’s poem won the Senior Poetry section.
“The poem focuses on the carelessness people show and when you’re an over-thinker the impact that even the smallest things can have, such as accidentally ignoring an old man’s smile and the mind twisting it into a self-reflective act of cruelty,” she said.
“It shows the person learning to forgive themselves for things in the past and put to rest any harmful thoughts by cleansing their mind.”
Miss Maidment learnt about the Get Writing Prize from a flyer at a stall she visited during her school’s Year 11 Career Day.
That little piece of paper stayed in the back of her mind prompting her to enter the competition.
“I have been reading all my life but only recently become interested in poetry,” she said.
“It started after I read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern with Oscar Wilde’s poetry throughout the book.
“I really enjoyed reading his work and eventually began writing some poetry of my own. This competition has been my first opportunity to publicly show my poetry.”
2017’s Get Writing Prize also included creative writing workshops conducted by award-winning author and publisher Emma Mactaggart.
Miss Maidment was one of seven students recognised during a presentation ceremony at USQ’s Bookcase event.
The other recipients included:
Junior Poetry Winner: Betty Lawson
Junior Poetry Highly Commended: Chelsea Livingston and Indie Sarma
Junior Short Story Winner: Chelsea Livingston
Junior Short Story Highly Commended: Areeba Ahmed and Richelle Hodson
Senior Poetry Highly Commended: Joshua Nutter and Chelse Cox
Senior Short Story Winner: Alexandria Walker
Senior Short Story Highly Commended: Naomi Simpson and Trinity Ross.