The Scone Literary Festival has announced Cassilis farmer Shelley Piper as the winner of its 2022 Farmers' Short Story Writing Competition. Ms Piper's winning short story, The Birds &amp; The Blaze, centred on the 2017 Sir Ivan bushfire which burned for several weeks after being sparked by a lightning strike in February of that year, destroying more than 30 homes and 55,000 hectares of land including her beef cattle property. Ms Piper, who describes herself as a 'bookworm', said part of her motivation for entering the 2022 farmers' writing competition was to "bust a myth or two about farmers". "Farmers are often stereotyped into the muddy gumboots and overalls image, but there are so many smart, creative and talented farmers out there and this competition was one way to showcase this," she said. The judges panel, chaired by Arts Upper Hunter executive director John O'Brien, said Ms Piper's story captured the raw detail of the fires with "real feeling" and "raw emotion" after awarding the $1,000 first prize. The competition's second prize was awarded to Marina Lee-Warner for Life of Brian, while third place was shared between Bill Moses (The Magic of Water) and Shirley Watson (Keep Looking Up). A 'highly commended' prize was also awarded to Therese Ralston for her short story entitled Blackberries &amp; Black Times. Ms Piper and the other award winners will receive their prizes, sponsored by Scone Equine Group, at the 2022 Scone Literary Festival which will be held in November after being postponed due to COVID uncertainty.