Meander Valley Gazette

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From physics to fiction

Arts and ReviewsJoanne Eisemann
Meander resident, writer Greg Burgess, has transitioned from scientific research to fiction.  Photo by Hayley Manning

Meander resident, writer Greg Burgess, has transitioned from scientific research to fiction.

Photo by Hayley Manning

By Hayley Manning

A FORMER Research Officer in Physics and Engineering has won … a prestigious short story competition for fictional writing.

Meander resident, Greg Burgess, won the 2019 Tasmanian Writer’s Prize for his short story Pilgrims, based on the topic of an island or island-resonant theme.

The story is set on the island of Shikoku in Japan, an area the research scientist had visited three times previously for work and leisure.

The central character’s crucial scenes take place in areas Greg visited on his travels.

For accurate factual detail, Greg carried out research and revisited his travel journal and holiday photos.

Greg said he had always enjoyed writing and even attempted to make his scientific notes more interesting but said it was around four years ago that he decided to turn his hand to fictional.

He won second prize in the 2016 Graber–McInnis Short Story Award in Canberra, has written book reviews for the Herald Sun and has had scientific papers published including ‘Net energy ratio of photobiological hydrogen production’, in the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy. Greg was thrilled to be invited to Lyons, France, to personally present this paper at a conference.

On winning the Tasmanian Writer’s Prize, Greg said he was ‘pleased to get an award as it signaled a successful transition from scientific research to a fictional writing style.’

Since moving from the ACT to the tranquility of Meander, fictional short story writing has kept the former scientist busy. In addition, he experienced some success with a short play that was performed in Canberra, so he would like to pursue playwriting further.

The Tasmanian Writer’s Prize is for stories of up to 3000 words on an assigned theme and is open to residents of Australia and NZ.

The winner receives $500 and their story will be published in the annual anthology 40° South, along with other commended stories.

The author’s advice to any writers thinking of entering a competition?

Do courses and workshops, read previous winners, find out who the judge is and what style they prefer and get feedback and editing tips.