Willetton Senior High School student claims Tim Winton Award

Kate Graham with acclaimed author Tim Winton.
Kate Graham with acclaimed author Tim Winton.

A DESIRE to tackle discrimination and persecution has helped a Willetton teenager claim one of the most prestigious literature awards in the state.

Kate Graham was named joint winner of the Tim Winton Award for Young Writers for her short story The Colour Red, written about a young Jewish girl’s encounter with Nazi soldiers during the Holocaust.

The Willetton Senior High School student said she wanted the story to tackle the systematic oppression of groups within society and was inspired by her fascination with Nazi-era Germany.

“The lessons of history have clearly not yet been learned, as many similar events have occurred since the Holocaust ended,” she said.

“Even now, at this very moment, peoples such as the Rohingya in Myanmar are being persecuted because of their race.”

The Year 10 student said people needed to speak out against discrimination, otherwise it would grow.

“Discrimination doesn’t always take the form of Nazis openly brandishing guns and is often subtler,” she said.

“It is a matter of concern when certain members of the Australian government encourage the abuse and offshore detention of asylum seekers, who are simply exercising their right granted to them in the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“We all hold the power to call out those in power and hold them accountable for their actions.”

Graham said she was honoured to have received the award and had been an avid reader and writer since a young age.

“I refused to read non-fiction books as a young child because I was so fascinated by the worlds that fiction can create,” she said.

“Writing was simply an extension of this, as I wanted to explore those new worlds for myself.”