Jackson's Tale a National Horror

Jackson's Tale a National Horror

HORROR and the supernatural are among storytelling’s most popular themes at the moment – and Mansfield has its own master of the genre.

To a list that includes Stephen King, Alfred Hitchcock and John Grisham, now add Jackson Dunkley, a year 11 student at Mansfield Secondary College who recently won a nationwide competition for the best short horror story.

Jackson’s story The Kadaitcha Man was judged the winner from more than 3000 entries in the competition, run by the Australasian Publishing Group.

It was, according to the judges, chosen because it had the elements of a good short story – strong narrative, and unusual idea and ending and the ability to convey the meaning imaginatively by implication.

“Jackson’s story shone out among all the others,” said APG operations manager Michelle Bell.

“The story had some very strong Australian undertones and certainly managed to send shivers down our spines.”

Jackson, who received $500 as the winner (the college also got $500,) said the idea was born out of his family’s time in the Northern Territory.

The Dunkleys lived there for two years before returning to Mansfield and during that time Jackson heard tales of the legendary Kadaitcha Man, a spirit in Aboriginal lore who was regarded as a harbinger of doom.

He wrote the story after seeing the competition notice on the wall in the school library.

“It seemed like a good topic,” he said, and the judges certainly thought so too.

“It was an absolutely fantastic story,” said Ms Bell. (The Kadaitcha Man is published on page 16 of this week’s Courier.)

Jackson said he was rapt when told that he’d won the competition, and was joined by his family at the presentation last Thursday.

He said it had inspired him to write more. And if his success so far is any guide, Jackson the author has an exciting future..

Published: 10/09/1997

Source: Mansfield Courier

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