Cate Blanchett joins the jury of The Hope Prize in its second year
Posted on
Sep 7, 2017

Cate Blanchett joins the jury of The Hope Prize in its second year

Hey everyone!

Cate is back to judge the Brotherhood of St Laurence’s literary award. The Hope Prize, short story competition, is open for entries until January 31, 2018. Read more below.


Cate Blanchett has joined a stellar cast of judges for a new round of the Hope Prize awarded to a short story exploring resilience amid poverty in Australia.

The writing competition is run by the national welfare group Brotherhood of St Laurence to challenge common stereotypes of what it means to be poor and disadvantaged in an otherwise prosperous country.

The Brotherhood has also signed up author Kate Grenville and former Governor General Quentin Bryce as judges. It will be a sequel for the trio who first came together to judge the inaugural Hope Prize for the welfare group in 2016.

Farah Farouque, from the Brotherhood, said using the medium of short stories, which could be based on fact or fiction, had proved to be a great way to reach new audiences.

”When we ran the competition for the first time we were overwhelmed by close to 1000 entries and the winning short stories were published in an anthology appropriately called ‘Hope’.”

“Through the Hope Prize we want to find evocative new voices and champions to explore social issues that deserve more focus.”

The competition is supported by philanthropy and the winning story story will be awarded $10,000.

In addition, two Women’s Writing Career Development Scholarships, valued at $5,000 each, will also be awarded.

For further information on how to enter and competition rules click here.

via Daily Review

What Cate Blanchett said about the first Hope Prize

“The finalists all revealed powerful perspectives on the world at large, and displayed unique, unpretentious and authentic voices.”

via Brotherhood of St Laurence

Cate Blanchett, Quentin Bryce, Hossein and the Hope Project
Posted on
Nov 12, 2016

Cate Blanchett, Quentin Bryce, Hossein and the Hope Project

Hi everyone!

The Daily Review has published an article about Hope: An Anthology, the result of Brotherhood of St Laurence’s first literary award, the Hope Prize. The collection is made up of the prizewinning and highly commended stories, judged by Quentin Bryce, Cate Blanchett and Kate Grenville. Enjoy the reading and the photos!


Hossein*, an asylum seeker from Iran, is not your typical Melbourne barista. And Cate Blanchett is not your usual coffee customer.

Amid a divisive debate on refugees, the two had a moment of human connection when Blanchett was in Melbourne recently to help the anti-poverty group the Brotherhood of St Laurence launch a book of short stories.

Focusing on the theme of resilience amid hardship, Hope: An Anthology, brings together the best of entries submitted for the Hope Prize, a short story competition launched by the Brotherhood.

The winning stories were selected by a judging panel including Blanchett, writer Kate Grenville and former Governor General Quentin Bryce and have been compiled by publisher Simon and Schuster.

In her judge’s remarks, Blanchett said she was ‘extremely moved’ by the winning story which takes up the theme of homelessness. She said the stories in the anthology “revealed powerful perspectives on the world at large” and captured unique, unpretentious and authentic voices.

Photo by Craig Sillitoe

The Hope Prize was conceived by the Melbourne-based welfare organisation as an antidote to common stereotypes of “the poor”, said Brotherhood of St Laurence advisor Farah Farouque.

“We chose to invoke ‘hope’ in the title of our competition because we wanted to encourage really nuanced writing that reflected the resilience people do show in tough times.”

Quentin Bryce, who has written the book’s foreword, said she valued the collection for the way it demonstrated the critical importance of showing compassion to strangers.

When Bryce and Blanchett got together in Melbourne for a photo shoot to promote the book, it also offered an opportunity for Hossein – he was invited to show his newly acquired coffee-making skills. He is a graduate of the Brotherhood’s Given the Chance program placing asylum seekers with work rights into paid employment, and works as a barista in an inner city cafe.

Hossein is great fan of Blanchett, both for her acting and activism – she is a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations refugee agency. “I still can’t believe that I made coffee for Cate,” he said. “It was one of the best experiences.”

Hope: An Anthology, published by Simon & Schuster, is out now and is available at Readings and other bookstores.

*We have chosen not to publish Hossein’s full name while his application for refugee status is being processed.


Source: Daily Review


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The Hope Prize: Cate Blanchett reflects on powerful new role
Posted on
Nov 5, 2016

The Hope Prize: Cate Blanchett reflects on powerful new role

Hello everyone!

Cate Blanchett was among the judges for the Brotherhood of St Laurence’s first literary award, The Hope Prize. The result is Hope: An Anthology, out on November 9. Cate and former governor general Quentin Bryce reflect on powerful new role in a new article for The Sydney Morning Herald. Enjoy the reading!

Cate Blanchett and Quentin Bryce were judges for the Brotherhood of St Laurence’s first literary award, The Hope Prize

It’s not often a story has the power to turn Cate Blanchett’s world upside down.

But it’s clear the Oscar-winning actress is deeply moved as she reflects on the tales of homelessness, isolation and despair she encountered as a judge for the Brotherhood of St Laurence’s first literary award, The Hope Prize.
Designed to encourage writing that transcends stereotypes of poverty, the 10 shortlisted stories evoke a powerful image of what it means to be displaced in modern Australia.

Publisher Simon & Schuster Australia and bookseller Readings decided the works from amateur writers were so powerful, they had to be turned into a book. The result is Hope: An Anthology, out on November 9.
Selected from more than 1000 entries, The Hope Prize’s winning story, Better Homes and Gardens, is narrated by a young girl who lives in her father’s car with her little sister and describes her trying to stay afloat at school.

“I suddenly saw the world from an entirely different perspective,” says Blanchett, who judged the prize along with former governor general Quentin Bryce and The Secret River author Kate Grenville.

“It’s language and perspective on the world that in middle class society we take for granted. I felt like my entire world had been turned upside down.”

Another story centres on an unemployed labourer who befriends a Sri Lankan bus driver after being given a grim health prognosis.
One heartbreaking tale written by a teenage author tells of a student falling behind in high school as she becomes the sole carer for her blind father.

But instead of confirming stereotypes of what it means to be marginalised and experiencing poverty, the stories are uplifting and, in the words of Blanchett, “utterly illuminating”.

“In a lot of them, there was a sense that you were invited into a very private, undisclosed, interior monologue. Their situations are all so tenuous.”

Quentin Bryce says the stories gave her a profound sense of the isolation so many Australians endure every day.

“I was reading those stories again and thinking about what this publication is about; about poverty and disadvantage and the compassion you really feel very deeply. It gives you an awareness of how easily life can change.”

After a career in public office, Bryce says it’s still difficult to engage people on pervasive issues such as homelessness and domestic violence.

“It’s very easy for us to turn our heads away from things that we don’t want to talk about. I see that in the work I’m doing with domestic violence. Nobody wants to talk to me.”

“They turn away and that’s why this project is so important. It’s empowering, it’s beautiful writing.

“There are so many important things in it, so it’s really a privilege to be asked to be involved because it stops us in our lives. We’ve got so busy and self-centred and materialistic and these stories say ‘look around you’.”

Blanchett is a firm believer that great works of art and literature can be catalysts for change.

“All great literature, all great works of cinema, painting, photography – whatever – you feel ambushed by it in some way. It describes an experience other than your own.

“Somewhere between the story and yourself, you are changed by it.

“So I think it’s very rare that you see a collection of short stories from the perspective of people who are refugees, asylum seekers or homeless, and I think the perspective has an incredible power to change.”

Hope: An Anthology is out November 9 and is available at Readings bookstores.


Via The Sydney Morning Herald