Original creative works by young authors participating in Story Factory programs.
From the weird to the wistful, from the brave to the poor, from their homelands and deep within their hearts, and from far-flung places like Uluru to Mars (and back again!), our writers will take you on adventures you never thought possible.
We’ll share their work here, so watch this space - and do it carefully, because some of the characters bite!
Duy Quang Mai’s poem ‘Rememory’ was awarded The 2019 John Marsden & Hachette Australia Prize for Young Writers in the category of poetry. Quang was presented with the award at the 2019 Melbourne Writers Festival at a special event. Read Quang’s winning piece below.
The days have expired a long time
ago & I remember you
gave me an answer under that browning night
of March, an answer
about how should we be. The thinning of clouds
looked like a buzzcut season & syllables
entered. The resuming of it all. I kept on
pinching my hands to remind myself
of your charcoaled hair, our rotten
teeth. They looked just like orphans, ready
to fall onto this quiet ground. That I asked
my body, over & over again. We
are still alive, aren’t we? Why are we alive?
Where are we, dear? Where are we?
Again, I remember
us carrying the burial
of this country on our backs. Remember the war
blackening our mouths with silence
& dirt. There are, heavily,
many things that I remember,
sweetheart. Time like liquor, like echoes
& the day bruised blue
with chemistry. Remind me all that –
How a farm-girl & a soldier were always
hand in hand, towards the wreckage
that made us. Children
of crushed tomorrows. Hand in hand
towards the napalms, sharpening the sky
with their all American beauty & glory
Hand in hand towards
today, I look at the photo
& believe in my ‘will’, your ‘can’.
1. How do you feel grandma?
Every bruise has mass. This applies for us also, let’s call it the theory of grief. The
conservation of hurt.
2. What do you see, now & then?
Bruise-grey sky, fur-smooth hours. And oh yes, the leaves swelling, beaden with light.
3. Your mother?
I used to wear her ‘please Lord’ like a beggar. Always on her collarbone, there was
another God sitting, opening his throat – always, an answer.
4. What’s left of the war? What’s left to tell, your legacy?
Two hands. Our barb-wired hearts. And home, the shape of our people.
(she suddenly stills, then proceeds)
Don’t you know? The word wound in Vietnamese translates into vết thương or a loving
trace, which is to say our bodies are a thing to tender into, when carved in loose tissues.
Ah no, afraid not dear, look at me can you look at all this beauty, my body a museum of
5. About grandad?
I remember him, the exactness, the measured dawn. A farm-girl & a soldier are supposed
to be the ending, no matter how many endings there are. Isn’t it?
He’s there, isn’t he?
Here always, isn’t he?
6. And what’s the price of carrying this much blood?
& to live.
Secret Life of Stuff - by Yar, Year 3/4
Hey, it’s Globe here.
I spin around, people look at me because I have the countries of the world. My favourite part about my job is when people look at countries and recognise them. My least favourite part of my job is when people spin me really fast. Then I get really crazy and super dizzy.
What I really don’t like is when I'm peacefully alone and people come and spin me extremely fast. That gets me angry because you’re getting me dizzy.
Students should not spin the globe really fast, because we’ll get dizzy. You should use us to look at countries not just to spin us.
From your friend, Globe.
Shiny white marble, changing colour in the sun.
Bright star making me feel special.
Swimming off a Cook Island beach. Rarotonga.
And I discovered a white pearl.
I return the pearl to where it belongs. To share its beauty.
I was the chosen one and I felt rich.
A Story by Nathan, Year 5/6
Emu and his friends were playing and having fun like usual friends. But one day, suddenly, out of nowhere, Emu’s best friend Kiwi started coughing. He didn’t feel good. Kiwi was sick, apparently he had a disease called “Kiwitropitus”. There was certainly no cure on Earth that could make Kiwi feel better. Emu was fearfully worried for Kiwi.
They were living in the outback of Western Australia. Blue-Tongued Lizard, the doctor of all outback animals, told Emu Kiwi was sick because of the natural habitat. Blue-Tongued Lizard said, “Kiwi cannot adapt to this environment.” He also said, “There is a cure for Kiwi but it doesn’t exist here, it exists on the fourth planet from the sun, Mars.”
Emu volunteered to go to Mars and get the cure, but the problem was how would he get to Mars? Emu thought for a minute. He had an idea. He would ask one of the four winds to bring him to space to Mars.
Emu asked East Wind, “Can you bring me to Mars?”
East Wind replied sadly, “No, I cannot bring you there. I have never travelled that far ever in my whole entire life. But my brother West Wind can probably bring you there!”
East Wind brought Emu to West Wind, his brother. West Wind was stronger than East Wind. East Wind asked West Wind, “Brother, are you strong enough to bring Emu here to Mars?”
West Wind replied, “No, but maybe South Wind does, for he is stronger than I.”
West Wind brought Emu to South Wind but he replied with the same answer. So South Wind brought Emu to North Wind, “The strongest upon all of us,” South Wind replied.
North Wind brought Emu all the way to Mars, the Red Planet.
The cure was an ocean blue, shiny crystal that Kiwi had to eat. It was on a mountain and Emu got it and brought it home to Kiwi. When Kiwi ate the crystal he described it as “sweet” and he got better. The cure worked.
‘Poopy the One-Eyed Dinosaur’ by Kaden
It was Awesome Tuesday in Wonkyville. Poopy the dinosaur woke up and went to the toilet to do his business. Then he realised it was Awesome Tuesday, so something awesome was going to happen that day.
Poopy was a good dinosaur. He had one hundred heads, one eye and was lovely.
After he went to the toilet, Poopy went to every house eating lots of breakfasts. He liked eating meat on toast.
The people were scared of the dinosaur because he was eating meat on his toast. They thought he would eat them. But Poopy just went back home and put on his spotted bow tie, then went to Silly Wet and Wild to have a swim.
At Silly Wet and Wild, Poopy fell in love with another dinosaur named Julia. She had a bow tie on her head and a curved tail. She had one eye and one hundred heads. She also had a fat body.
Poopy’s eye almost popped out because of how much he loved Julia.
In my Australia you can’t get out to see the horizon
You can’t see the views
Only tall buildings and crowded roads
In my Australia I sense the freedom but I don’t live it.
In my Australia there is good welfare
If I fell I feel like I would be caught and taken care of.
My Australia is multicultural
There’s a lot of different cultures and religions.
My Australia is racist
Not everyone accepts the different cultures and religions.
My Australia has a lot of different foods and it helps bridge the cultures
And bring everyone together.
— Omar, Year 10
But Julia did not like Poopy because he had smelly armpits and a hairy bottom.
Poopy said, ‘I love you.’
Julia said, ‘Go and have a bath!’
Poopy felt sad and angry at the same time, but he had a bath and shaved his hairy bottom, then he went back.
Julia finally said, ‘I love you.’
They kissed at the water slide.
Poopy and Julia swam together at the wave pool. A big wave crashed into Julia and she crashed into the bottom of the pool.
Poppy dove into the water to save her life. He picked Julia up with his tail and swam up to the surface.
Julia’s eyes were closed, so Poopy breathed air into her until they opened. He walked with her to his house. Then he said, ‘Will you marry me?’
Julia said, ‘Yes,’ and the next day they married.