Computer games and wooden planes inspire prize winner

Tech-savvy children playing computer games and the author’s childhood memories of make-believe planes made of wooden crates have inspired the winner of the 2014 National Seniors Literary Prize.

Bruce Gannaway of Mt Warren Park in Queensland, was chosen as this year’s winner with his novel The Last Eaglehawk, an adventure set in 1942 Australia where a group of forgotten children are recruited and trained to fly small fighter‐planes against the advancing Japanese empire.

Gannaway said his book was based on his own childhood experiences and those of his computer-literate children.

The Last Eaglehawk was inspired by my children’s prowess when playing computer games and my own childhood games in aeroplanes made from wooden crates,” he said.

National Seniors Australia and publishers Random House Australia hold the literary contest each year for unpublished authors aged 50 and over.

This year’s theme was “reflections”, an ideal subject for older people, said National Seniors’ chief executive Michael O’Neill.

“The over 50s have wonderful life experiences, so they are well-placed to write and reflect on them,” said O’Neill.

He and Random House director of publishing, Nikki Christer, presented the prize to Bruce Gannaway at a ceremony in Sydney this week.

The prize includes $2000 cash, a three‐year membership of National Seniors, publication of the winner’s work as an e‐book, as well as cover design, 12 printed copies and the opportunity for further print‐on‐demand versions.

The Last Eaglehawk will be available for pre-order for retailers in April and available as an e-book in August 2014.

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