Cris Oliver accepting the Outback Trophy at the Outback Writers' Festival.
Cris Oliver accepting the Outback Trophy at the Outback Writers' Festival. contributed

Local short story writer humbled by award

GRACIOUS and humble, the winner of the 2017 Outback Trophy was more than surprised when his name was announced at this year's Outback Writers' Festival.

Miriam Vale's very own Cris Oliver said though he was happy when he finished writing the winning story, Flowers for Grace, that feeling could not compare to the elation he felt upon finding out the story would be published.

"My wife said my jaw nearly hit the floor in that moment," Mr Oliver joked.

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In June earlier this year, hundreds of writers congregated at Winton to celebrate their love for the written word.

An avid reader his whole life, Mr Oliver said he first gave writing a try as " a young fella" when he fell in love with the adventures he found inside the pages of Westerns.

"I just love the American lingo ... writing other character's lives and playing with words," he said.

Winning the annual competition for the local was a tremendous feat considering there were over 160 entries.

"So many of them had been published before ... I just felt so honoured," Mr Oliver said.

Mr Oliver has sold about 15 manuscripts in the past and was first made aware of the festival when his agent in Brisbane recommended he enter.

"There were really good speakers ... it was a very educational weekend for me," he said.

A sponsor of the Winton committee, Bullerong Press contributed towards the festival's expenses and prize money for the junior writers section.

"It's really great because it encourages our young folk to continue pursuing their abilities," Mr Oliver said.

"The way it's going and the interest it's creating it may become a major regional writing competition."

The 3000 word short story is available as part of The Outback, Anthology of Short Stories for purchase at most book stores and online at Boolarong Press at http://www.boolarongpress.com.au for $24.99.