Indro Year 9 student Suki Wallace’s creativity and skill as a writer have taken her all the way to a spot at the Melbourne Writers Festival next week.
Suki, 14, is one of five young authors shortlisted from hundreds of entrants in the fiction section of The John Marsden and Hachette Australia Prize, which will be announced at the festival on Thursday 5 September.
“My story is called The Good Guy. It questions the ethics of modern warfare,” she said.
“The protagonist is a drone pilot fighting terrorism in Pakistan who struggles to come to terms with taking a life when there is no need to risk her own … oh yeah, and she’s a woman, but you don’t find that out until the very end.
“I feel really strongly about bringing to light the hidden gender biases that continue to shape the lives of women. I wanted to write a story that, hopefully, revealed to the reader how automatically we define active occupations – like being a soldier – as men’s work.
Suki says she has always thoroughly enjoyed reading.
“I don’t have a favourite genre, but I do love a flawed character and I don’t mind a good series,” she said.
“I also spend a lot of time watching TV, especially political satires across multiple genres.
“I guess that’s what informs my writing at the moment: interesting characters in ordinary situations whose lives are shaped by events and ideas that characterise life in 2019.
The five shortlisted authors in each of three sections of The John Marsden and Hachette Australian Prize – fiction, non-fiction and poetry – will participate in a writing workshop and special event at the Melbourne Writers Festival, receive feedback on their work and meet author John Marsden.
English teacher Eleanor Hatt said Suki was an incredibly talented and hard-working student of English.
“Suki is an inspired writer, creating complex female characters in many of her works. The Good Guy is her greatest yet,” Ms Hatt said.
“On behalf of the Indooroopilly State High School community, I wish Suki all the best, not only at the Melbourne Writers Festival, but in all her future endeavours – I cannot wait to see what she will achieve.”