Hiking Tour Guide Wins Young Writer Award In International Writing Contest

Hiking Tour Guide Wins Young Writer Award In International Writing Contest

Jaidyn Groth, who lives in Melbourne, Australia, was announced as the Young Writer Award winner in the Page Turner Awards during a glittering online ceremony, where Paul Michael Glaser, from Starsky and Hutch fame, was a special guest to announce the winners.

The Page Turner Awards, sponsored by ProWritingAid and Campfire, offers authors, writers, and screenwriters the chance to enter the first 10 pages of their writing project, where a judging panel of literary experts and film producers will read the work.

Groth is a hiking tour guide, who spends her year following the seasons; climbing mountains in Tasmania and climbing into gorges in the Outback. In her spare time, she’s often travelling overseas or getting lost in jungles.

The Other Side of Sunshine, her debut novel is about an anxiety-ridden teenager who finds himself in a mental health camp where he is confronted with his high school bully and a band of overzealous companions. His only sanctuary is anonymous online articles, but when these posts suddenly stop, he is confronted with the harsh truths of his mind, life, and the past he can’t outrun. He must discover who the anonymous author is before he loses himself completely.

Groth believes this story is a love letter to everyone struggling with their mental health. When you have anxiety or depression, it can feel like you're the only person in the world suffering; the only person who feels trapped and alone.

Groth wrote this to remind herself and others that there are always people who will understand you and your struggles. It's also an exploration of that time between adolescence and adulthood, when the world seems full of potential opportunities and successes, but also potential mistakes and disappointments. Her character, Ziggy, is the epitome of this concept. He is funny and smart and on the cusp of so much, but he's already jaded by his life experiences, and he carries the weight of his mental illness, using it like a mask.

The character of Rob is Australian since the writer tries to incorporate a sense of her country into everything she writes. Sometimes, that's allusions to Chris Hemsworth or Vegemite and other times, it comes in the form of overzealous, chatty characters. Rob is inspired, in part, by Joey Tribbiani (Friends), Jessica Day (New Girl) and the comedy or tragedy masks that depict someone laughing and someone crying.

Groth said: “I entered this competition on a whim. My fellow writer friends were entering and encouraged me to do the same. Honestly, I didn't think much of it. But two weeks later, I received my first comment. Then another. And another. Months later, when the first round of finalists was announced, I was dumbfounded to discover that all my entries were shortlisted. If anything, this competition has inspired me and encouraged a sense of confidence and faith in my writing that I had lost over time. No matter what comes from this, the Page Turner Awards reinvigorated my love of writing. I can't thank them enough for the opportunity to put my work out there. It's been quite the ride, akin to my day-to-day adventures.”

She added, “Thank you so much for selecting me as the Young Writer Award winner! This truly means everything to me. I'd like to encourage every writer out there, young or old, to shoot their shot in an international writing contest because you never know what could happen.”

This year aspiring writers walked off the red carpet with life-changing prizes. One new unpublished writer won literary agency representation while a screenwriter won literary management. Another new writer won a publishing deal, seven independent authors won an audiobook production from Spectrum Audiobooks, plus one other won a publishing package (including an edit, book cover and book trailer), and another author won a book adaptation.

The Page Turner Awards winners can be found here: https://pageturnerawards.com/2021-winners

Submissions for the 2022 Awards will open in January 2022. Find out how you too can enter your writing into The Page Turner Awards: https://pageturnerawards.com