Manning Clark House – essay writing competition for high school students

G’day high school students,

Manning Clark House is a cultural and scholarly centre in Canberra.

Each year we have a Weekend of Ideas. This year the theme is Fair suck of the sauce bottle: a celebration of Australian language.

In conjunction we are running a competition:


All you have to do is write a newspaper column of 700-750 words on the topic of Australian language. It can be playful, earnest, whatever you like.

First prize:         $350 and your column will be published in the Canberra Times

Second prize:    $100

Third prize:    $50

The twelve short-listed entries will win a place at a writers’ course to be conducted by John Harms.

Send your entry to clearly stating your name, age, school and a contact phone number.

Entries close on March 12.

For more information email

So get stuck into it.

About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and He has written many columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted He is married to The Handicapper and has three kids - Theo10, Anna8, Evie7. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst three. His ambition is to lunch for Australia.


  1. I really want to have a crack at this, but I just don’t know what to write about..

  2. Josh

    It’s up to you.

    Anything to do with Australian language is fine – Australian words and phrases etc. Whatever you like. Can be good fun, or serious, whatever you like.

  3. Steve Healy says:

    Same, Josh.

  4. Is it compulsory to have 700-750 words in this essay? I’ve only got 477, and i’m absolutely out of ideas.

  5. Josh, you might want to check with JTH directly, but I imagine it wouldn’t be a huge problem.

  6. High school students? Crikey, I can’t even remember that far back.

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