The Sydney Writers Project obituary contest winners

The winners of The Sydney Writers Project (SWP) obituary contest (to write your obituary in 100 words or less) are below. Those selected for first, second and third place will have the opportunity to improve their writing with online guidance from bestselling, award winning authors Michael White and Jonathan Englert. The Sydney Writers Project recently received coverage in The Sydney Morning Herald and in The Mosman Daily.  

An obituary, well told, can give an insight into the most important aspects of a person’s life. Obituaries can be useful tools to read when thinking about creating characters and the events which become most memorable and valued over the course of a life. Writing your own can be a useful exercise for working out what is most important to you and how you would like your life to pan out.

Some good examples of real obituaries can be found on The Economist website and on The New York Times website.

1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners will be contacted by email.

Aram Margarian

Aram Margarian (1944-2011)
Aram’s dream of batting in the English top order evaporated when it became clear there were ten better cricketers in his prep class. After effortlessly winning the 1966 University Medal for Philosophy, Aram was drawn to Africa’s exotic temptations. His first commission in the Promised Land was to command a team of mercenaries in Nigeria. It was an unqualified success. By 1969 Aram’s career was flourishing; by 1971 he was the “go-to man” for any self-respecting African coup leader. The “Houdini of Africa”, Mugabe, remained his greatest regret. Tripping over a pomegranate in a Nairobi bazaar in 2011 proved fatal.

2nd Place – winner of an online Gateway Course, valued at $300, with The Sydney Writers Project

Beau Hillier

Beau Jarod
1.9.87 – 24.1.11
Beau is mourned by his close family Kevin, Sarah and Hayden; by his partner Belinda; and by the odd collection of close friends that formed his second family, consisting of Genna, Jeremy, Ashlee, Matt and Melissa.
His only regret was that he never saw Season 5 of Dexter in its entirety.

A passionate and earnest young man who went too soon, he will be missed.

3rd Place – winner of $100 in SWP writer dollars that can be applied to a customised guidance edit

Wendy Cavenett

Outback born, three weeks late, I was the fattest baby in the bush. As a child I was big and wobbly, running through Eucalypt forests, climbing trees, dodging magpies. I ran, I giggled, I hid beneath weatherboard houses when I was in trouble. I played word games, watched and listened; was mesmerised by rhythms and voices. I grew and grew, only five foot five. I lived in Adelaide, Wagga, Sydney, Melbourne. I always craved New York. Forty years, or a little more – my greatest love, always language. Always afraid, always doing… hiding in observation, courageous in the pursuit of truth.

Runners up

Jacqui Horwood

Jacqui was born in Sydney amongst savage crows. Exhibiting seven types of ambiguity, Jacqui loved the white earth and eucalyptus, but was drawn to the burning city. It was an item from the late news that sent her on a journey to the stone country. There she met a well-dressed explorer who she married for love alone. They lived in bliss, wrapped in dirt music and praise. Jacqui wanted a very proper death but died with a felafel in her hand. She bows out to the sound of one hand clapping, finally escaping the wonders of a godless world.

Kerry Brown

Born before she died, Kerry lived her life the way it went. She was an honest soul, no secrets kept. Nobody knew a thing about her. Her friends were many. Those many were few. Educated in Australia, she attended school at Monega Primary in East London. Kerry is preceded by those still alive and is to be remembered as the way she was. God rest her weary soles.

Further details on The Sydney Writers Project can be found at


The Australian Literature Review

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