(03) 5224 1438 info@thebookbird.com.au

Announcing the WINNERS of our haiku competition…

Haiku poetry competition

For our birthday this year we decided to do something a little different. A party in our tiny nest was once again out of the question, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t celebrate. So, following on from our successful Book Bird Art Prize a few years ago, we decided to run a writing competition. Could there be a more perfect way to champion our home of words and stories than a writing prize? We think not.


In the lead up to our birthday on 25 October, we put a call-out for haikus on books, birds, reading, and writing, and watched in amazement as the entries flooded in. We didn’t anticipate exactly how many budding scribes out there would be up for the challenge and were so delighted by the response! Whole classes of local primary school students entered poems, entire families set pen to paper, and some writers made it part of their morning ritual to send us a poem a day for the full three weeks the competition was open. We received over 150 entries to our haiku competition, so whittling it down to only six winners was a mammoth task. Over beers and pizzas late one Friday, Anna, Josh and Charlotte judged the entries and decided to create a whole separate kids’ category with three joint winners, as well as include additional shortlisted poems by adults in our forthcoming complementary haiku service. This service (a free haiku with each purchase from our shop) will be be launched in the new year, as Christmas trade has swept us off our feet (in the best way… yay for being BACK in stores once more).


For now, here are the winners, highly commended, and shortlisted haikus in our 2021 birthday writing competition…



characters in black

traverse snow-covered pages

like sparrows’ footprints

Karen Slade


We were so impressed with the way Karen managed to combine the themes of the competition in such a striking and clever way, and how the images/metaphors of the poem work on multiple levels. As the winner of our competition, Karen receives a $100 cash prize.




Penguins are fuzzy

They are cute when they waddle

And slide on the ice

Leo Suvoltos, age 7



Swallows dart around,

In the lovely light blue sky,

Over rivers brown.

Eden Vanderstoep, age 10



White wings, see the chips

Dive down, grab a talon-full

Fly off with this feast

Jasper Kelly, age 11


In a wonderful coincidence, all three of our kids’ category winners chose a single bird to write about and, in so few words, captured both the personalities and beauty of different birds: penguins, swallows, and seagulls. Our kids’ category winners each receive a $15 voucher to The Book Bird.



emu feminists

stay-at-home dad raises chicks

mum creates egg art

Karen Fraser


Cormorant drying

Ripples carry fading truth

Another fish gone

Ally Grey


I search paperbacks

Bright things to build a bower –

See me through these words.

Ian William L. 


Can’t judge a bird by

its feathers, but you can judge

a book by its song.

Kevin Kelly


Head tucked under wing,

Zebra finch dreams his rain-song.

Distant thunder rolls.

Justin Moon


From the Zebra Finch awaiting rain, to reader-bowerbirds and emu feminists, our highly commended entries made us laugh, made us think, and totally floored us with their beauty. Each highly commended entrant receives a $30 voucher to The Book Bird.



Bell chimes overhead

Paper perfume permeates

Smiles welcome me back

Anne Freeman


Old dog by my side

Reading adventures to kids

“She chose this for you”

Julie Giles


Lapwing hides, twitches,

Studying the man who is

Studying the birds.

Paul Heseltine


Read on computer,

same, but didn’t feel or smell

or touch like a book

Michael Tate


Hamilton Highway –

pale-eyed crow steps off the road

nerves as hard as bone.

Tim Vanderstoep


There were just TOO many amazing haikus to choose from! We weren’t originally going to have a shortlist, but we just couldn’t go past these incredible haikus by Anne Freeman, Julie Giles, Paul Heseltine, Michael Tate, and Tim Vanderstoep. These shortlisted poems will also be printed and included in our complementary haiku service, to be launched in early 2022.


Big thanks to everyone who entered our competition and made it such a fun birthday exercise. Perhaps we should have a flash-fiction comp next year?? With such an engaged literary community by our side, the possibilities are endless! Thank you, readers.



Shop 1, Pakington Village
111 Pakington Street
Geelong West, 3218
Ph: 5224 1438
Email: info@thebookbird.com.au