TALENTED WRITERS: Writing competition organiser U3A vice president Alison Taylor, 76, with award winner Sue Phelps, 73, and tutor Sue Downey, 67.
TALENTED WRITERS: Writing competition organiser U3A vice president Alison Taylor, 76, with award winner Sue Phelps, 73, and tutor Sue Downey, 67. Jessica Lamb

Age no barrier for the creative minds of local authors

WHEN Sue Phelps speaks her words light up the room around her, filling the listener's mind with vivid images of nature's violence and beauty.

The 73-year-old's talent has won the top prize in the inaugural state-wide 'Whale Tales' writing competition for her rendition of a recent trip to Namibia.

As a former scientist, writing was always Ms Phelps' release.

Two years ago, she began attending Sue Downey's writing class at Hervey Bay's University of the Third Age.

"I have always loved writing,” she said.

"I was a computer programmer in banking and I used to write to release stress.

"I started off telling stories to my own kids but this class had really made me step out of my comfort zone.”

Competition organiser Alison Taylor said this year was open genre and judged by a published author and tutor from outside of the region.

"We are hoping to make this an annual thing,” she said.

"It made it even more special Sue won because it was someone who doesn't know her name or writing who chose her.”

Sue Downey is a published author, former journalist and literature career woman.

Her class has students who have been with her since her first day tutoring 21 years ago.

"The youngest in my class is in her 40s and the oldest is 93,” Ms Downey said with a laugh.

"I have found I am getting more creative as I get older because I am pushed to be for my class.”

Four members of the local class have published books.

Ms Downey joked she felt like a "midwife”.

"I am so proud of them all,” she said.

"I have been at all of their book launches and run around like their mother.”



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