Mayor's Writing Awards

The Darebin Mayor’s Writing Award is an annual award for writers who live, work or study in the City of Darebin.

On Thursday 16 June 2022 Darebin Arts and Darebin Mayor Cr Lina Messina awarded Bailey Dihayco as winner of the 2022 Darebin Mayor’s Writing Award, an annual initiative to recognise and celebrate local stories and writers. Dihayco was given $2000 for his original (fiction, non-fiction or poetry), An Abridged Biography of Hermes Butler.

Watch Bailey Dihayco read his winning entry


Catherine Reidy and Nathan Power were also awarded for Highly Commended prizes of $500 each for their pieces, Hold Your Ground and Between Birth and Baboon. The ceremony was held at Northcote Town Hall Arts Centre in Northcote.

Watch Catherine Reidy read her highly commended entry.

Watch Nathan Power read his highly commended entry.

“I am delighted to have presented the Darebin Mayor’s Writing Awards,” said Darebin Mayor Cr Lina Messina. “We all have a story to tell, and whether that is through letters on a page or lyrics in a song, they offer us a chance to speak of challenges, celebrate triumphs, and break down barriers. These awards show the importance of the written word and the significant impact they can have on our lives and provides an opportunity for Council to offer financial support to our local artists.

Congratulations to winner Bailey Dihayco and thank you to everyone who entered to make the event such a success, such is the power of our creatives in Darebin.”

A woman wearing glasses and a long sleeve dark coloured dress, and two men: one wearing a balck mask over his mouth and the other wearing a brown golfer's hat, stand side by side in front a beige wall with a literary page structure. All three people are holding green plants in front of them.

This year, 57 entries from local writers of all genres responded to the theme ’surrender’ in 1,200 words or less. Invited independent judges Nicki Greenberg, Giselle Au-Nhien Nguyen and Claire Gaskin felt Dihayco’s piece cast the theme in an especially strange and original light, while Reidy’s and Power’s entries, both anchored in real world narratives, had powerful messages about the refusal to surrender.

For inquiries about the Darebin Mayors Writing Awards, email

Images by Nicole Cleary

Read about our 2021 Award winners

Read about our 2020 Award winners


More information 

For more information about Darebin Arts writing projects, email: