Wallsend writer and University of Newcastle PhD candidate Shea Evans' character Pigboy could be anyone. He taps into characteristics Mr Evans says are omnipresent in all of us.
The character is quiet and observational, with a mischievous streak that sets them apart from the scenes of Newcastle and the Hunter's subcultures that they explore.
Mr Evans, who has been developing the character for more than a year as part of his PhD study, won this year's Newcastle Herald Short Story competition with a scene that he said was condensed from his broader work of fiction.
"It almost goes into Jungian psychology," Mr Evans said, "That there is a consciousness and a subconsciousness, and the idea that there is a driving force of your mind and then there's a much larger background force.
"There is a Pigboy in all of us - a part of ourselves that just wants to let loose and be crazy and mischievous."
Mr Evans' story Pigboy the Cowboy was reprinted in Saturday's Newcastle Herald, and envisions the titular character exploring parts of Newcastle's unique night life.
"It is "picaresque'," Mr Evans said, "The character is a picaro (a rogue) who moves through the world and has a variety of employments and adventures and is really sort of there to observe society and make their comments on it."
The theme of quietly observational voices that appear in their respective worlds, though somehow detached from them, carried through both this year's competition winners, as five-time past entrant Kaye Leighton's vision of a single mother navigating housing with her young child was the judges' highly commended second-placed winner.
Ms Leighton, of San Remo, had been thinking about families struggling in the current housing market, particularly renters, when she took inspiration from an image of rolling storm clouds bearing down over the city for her lyrical work, Green Shoots.
"I guess it's a reflection of my own personality," Ms Leighton said, "And I suppose that is what happens when you write; you project your own personality onto the character."
Ms Leighton set out to explore themes of hope and how her characters could find it in seemingly difficult situations.
Beyond this year's competition, Ms Leighton is also compiling a family history through recorded interviews with her mother. Ms Leighton was excited when contact by the Herald on Friday afternoon.
"It's very unexpected," she said of her commendation, "I have read every story this year and I thought the standard was very good."
Both writers, Mr Evans and Ms Leighton, have won vouchers to Hamilton's McLean's Booksellers and a Kindle courtesy of Domayne at Kotara.
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