Moonstruck: UQ Student's 'Song of the Sun and Moon' Wins Big in Roly Sussex Short Story Competition

12 April 2023
Congratulations to UQ  Master of Writing, Editing and Publishing (WEP) student Erica Fryberg who has won first place in the Roly Sussex Short Story Competition. She is the first Queensland winner of this National Prize in several years. 

The competition was designed to foster original creative writing of outstanding quality, and Erica was no exception. Her short story titled, Song of the Sun and Moon is a fantasy that portals readers into a world of magic and moonlight. She devised the concept in the course WRIT7050 Fiction, Ideas and Creativity.

“After tearing a veil between worlds with notes from his recorder, a teenage girl’s younger brother is snatched and held captive by the Moon. The girl hears a prophecy and must resist temptation and undergo three trials to save her brother.” –  Song of the Sun and Moon

When asked what inspired the story, Erica explained that she wanted to reach out into a new genre and challenge herself. Drawing on the inspiration of some of her all-time favourite stories such as The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S Lewis and Suzan Cooper's Over Sea Under Stone, Erica embarked on a journey of world building and fantasy for the first time.

Erica also drew inspiration from the Australian landscape, “…the natural beauty of Yuraygir National Park inspired the story’s setting. I felt I had not come across enough good fantasy set in Australia; it was a conscious choice to honour and celebrate this environment.”

Erica also drew inspiration from the Australian landscape.

Erica has previously completed a Bachelor of Arts with Honours at UQ, with majors in English Literature, Drama and Music. Afterwards, Erica worked nationally and internationally within the performing arts industry before deciding to continue her studies and enrolling in the Master of Writing, Editing and Publishing. She said, “I looked for a course here that was practical, vocation-focused and that offered creative options. The Master of Writing, Editing and Publishing (WEP) program had the best balance of these.” Erica was also offered the Lifelong Learner Scholarship as a UQ alum.

When asked how her studies at UQ have impacted her personal and professional growth Erica said, “My first degrees at UQ shaped my entire career to date, and my current studies are helping form my new focus and direction.” She elaborated that her studies at UQ positioned her well for full-time jobs at Opera Australia in Company Management and Publications Editor, then similar roles at Scottish Opera, Sydney Symphony, Sydney Theatre and Queensland Theatre, Qld State Manager for Musica Viva, and Creative Producer for Opera Queensland.

When asked what her advice is to students considering studying the Masters of Writing, Editing and Publishing Erica expressed the importance of taking advantage of the guest lectures and internships opportunities within the program. Throw yourselves into WEP and challenge yourself. This is a great opportunity to explore new areas and techniques which attract you, because you are within a strong structure where constructive and pertinent feedback is available.”

Erica has recently begun her dissertation with supervisor Dr Victoria Bladen, where she is developing a new participatory model of opera for children with the aim to tour primary schools across the nation.

Erica also shared with us that she will continue to explore the Realm of Sun and Moon as she develops the narrative into a fantasy novel, as well as pursue roles in academia and the writing industries. The School is excited to see what fantastical adventures Erica will take us on next.

You can access and read the full story here: Song of the Sun and Moon

By Jasmine Deetlefs