Stringybark Open Award 2023



Kathy Childs, Director, Corporate Keys speaks with David Vernon

Stringybark Stories is delighted to announce that the Stringybark Short Story Award 2018 will be sponsored by the accommodation provider, Corporate Keys. This generous sponsorship allows us to offer record prize money for our premier competition.  In addition Corporate Keys will be placing copies of the printed anthology into their many apartments throughout Australia giving authors a wider audience for their writing. I had the pleasure of interviewing Kathy Childs, Director and Founder of Corporate Keys, about her writing interests and connection with business.

1. Kathy, you don’t just run a successful business, you are also a writer yourself and also have a family.  How do you find time to write?

Yes, I am busy, but I'm passionate about my writing and I find submerging myself in the alternative world of my current writing project gives me a break from the challenges of managing a successful business. I have learnt over the years to clock off when I leave the office so I have my evenings and weekends to spend writing and with my family and friends.

2. Your clients, who are all very busy executives, would tend to not find time for reading and yet you think Stringybark anthologies are something they might find interesting.  Why is this?

Absolutely. After a hard day's work busy people need to relax. Our apartments provide cable TV and internet, but what could be better than a good book? No matter how busy you are you can find time to unwind with a short story - you only need 10 minutes - well, until you realise how good they are and can't put them down.  Many of our guests are from overseas and are in Australia for their first time.  Stringybark anthologies offer a unique insight into the Australian way of life, the creativity of our writers and the talent we have here. I do expect quite a number of the books will 'go missing' when our guests leave, so they can share them with their family and friends. 

3. This is Corporate Keys' first foray into supporting Australian writers.  Why do you feel that this is a field worth encouraging?

I started writing many years ago, but it was only in the last few years that I developed the confidence to submit a short story to a competition - The Stringybark Short Story Award 2014.  Winning that competition with No Tea Tomorrow gave my confidence a boost and I have reasonable success since then. I am in the fortunate position of being able to financially support my passion for writing through my business, a luxury which not everyone has. I am excited to be able offer sponsorship to independent publishers and other organisations who support emerging writers, and to give talented emerging writers an opportunity to get their stories out to the public.

4. Corporate Keys has a history of philanthropy.  What other organisations have you provided support to?

Corporate Keys has worked with Berry Street (who work with children, young people and families to recover from the devastating effects of violence, abuse and neglect) for over five years, supporting them financially and giving staff time-off to volunteer. Over the last 2 years we have also donated $5 from every booking to a charity that our staff have selected; a charity they are personally passionate about. We happily donate our good quality used furniture and homewares to charities who support women seeking refuge from domestic violence. Charities we have supported include Medicine Sans Frontiers, Oxfam, Maddie Riewoldt's Vision, SIDs and Kids, WhiteLion and the MS Foundation amongst others.

5. Now to your own writing.  You have had some success with your own writing, particularly with Stringybark stories.  What do you look for in a good short story?

My favourite stories have characters I can relate to, that draw me in. People I can empathise with and understand why they do what they do (even if it's evil). Setting is also important. I see setting as a character in its own right as it's such an integral part of the story. Ultimately I do love a story with a great twist at the end.

Stringybark Stories is generously supported by Corporate Keys; specialists in accommodation solutions

for short to medium stays in Australia and New Zealand.