This has been a vintage year for the Williamstown Literary Festival writing prizes, with a dazzling set of entries. The Adas 2022 collection of twenty-five stories and eleven poems - considered by the judges to be the best in each category - marks the return of the Willy Litfest anthology, after a brief hiatus in 2021, when the short-listed entries were published online. Known collectively as ‘The Ada’s’, the prizes commemorate celebrated poet, novelist and memoirist, Ada Cambridge (1844-1926), who lived and wrote in Williamstown’s Holy Trinity Vicarage at the turn of the century.
Comprising three categories - the Ada Cambridge Biographical Prose and Poetry Prizes and the Young Adas Short Story Prize (writers aged 14-18 from the western suburbs of Melbourne), the competition was enlarged by the addition in 2021 of the Jennifer Burbidge Short Story Award, on a theme of disability, and open to writers nation-wide. Readers of the anthology will be impressed by the breadth and quality of its contents - a well-crafted body of work, including a variety of forms and subject matter, from lyric poetry to elegies, moving accounts of triumph over adversity, realism, fantasy, and vivid commentaries on world politics.