St Peter's student Zahlia Kelly has won the shire's most prestigious youth writing award.
She won the Syd Hayes Creative Writing Award with an evocative story that captures the exhilaration a surfer feels when catching a wave.
The Syd Hayes Creative Writing Award is the main prize for the Mayor's Writing Competition, set up to encourage and celebrate the literary talents of the shire's young people.
Eurobodalla Mayor Liz Innes said the competition had grown over eleven years, with more than 2,500 entries during that time.
"Being accepted as a finalist is a mark of achievement for any young local writer," Cr Innes said.
"I want to congratulate all our winners and runners up, and especially our Syd Hayes award winner Zhalia Kelly from St Peter's Anglican College.
"Zahlia will be presented with a beautiful ironbark pen and case, crafted by Richard Turley. Each age-group winner and runner up will be given book vouchers from Moruya Books."
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Cr Innes announced this year's finalist online.
Cr Innes said with such a strong field she did not envy the four judges tasked with deciding the winners. Judge Lynne Babbage said she was pleased to see so many stories written from personal experience.
"I encourage all the entrants to keep practicing their craft," Ms Babbage said.
"The very best writers have bottom drawers full of unpublished drafts but they just keep writing."
Other judges for the 2020 Mayor's Writing Competition were Stafford Ray and Eileen Dillon-Smith of Eurobodalla Writers and Rachel Blass who represented Eurobodalla Libraries.
The 2020 Mayor's Writing Competition anthology is available to view online, browse for it in the library catalogue at www.esc.nsw.gov.au/libraries.
5-6 years: Winner Noah Lloyd, runner up Avalon Wehner, encouragement Abigail Piper.
7-8 years: Winner Charles Boardman, runner up Mabel Ladmore, encouragement Moss Smith.
9-10 years: Winner Siena White, runner up Sean Peard, encouragement Quade Ryan.
11-12 years: Winner Iona Kelly, runner up Charlie Hough, encouragement Indiana Sale.
13-14 years: Winner Zahlia Kelly, runner up Emelia Whitla, encouragement Sarah Tuckwell.
15-18 years: Winner Antoinette McManus, runner up Mattea Kelly, encouragement Teagan Moses