We received more than 600 entries for the first ever Overland Victoria University Short Story Prize for New and Emerging Writers. Many of these were of an exceptionally high standard and it was a difficult task for the four judges to narrow the list, which they read blind. Nevertheless, after much reading and debating, they have selected a shortlist of 19 outstanding stories.
Winning stories for the $8000 prize will be announced Tuesday 20 November and published in Overland’s final issue for this year.
Overland and Victoria University are very pleased to announce the 2012 shortlist:
‘Zone of Confidence’
‘Because I’m crazy jealous of the sea, babe, I’ve taken your motor-bike and I’m racing north up the Queensland coast, keeping the storms away from you and trying to catch just one glimpse of your tiny white sail.’
Claire Aman lives in Grafton NSW. Her work has been published in Best Australian Stories 2008, New Australian Stories 1 and 2, Escape (Spineless Wonders), Island, Southerly, Heat, Griffith Review, and read on Radio National. In 2011 she had a story shortlisted in Australian Book Review’s Elizabeth Jolley award.
‘Frank O’Hara’s Animals’
Tara Cartland is a Melbourne-based fiction and nonfiction writer whose work has appeared in Voiceworks and The Big Issue. She currently contributes to Feminaust.org and works for an environmental charity.
‘The Other Ah-Por’
Silk Chen is a new writer from Melbourne, with short fiction and memoirs published in Wet Ink, Etchings and the 2011 Williamstown Literary Festival Anthology. She also received the 2010 Varuna Fellowship for Writing Retreat. Currently, she’s working on Saigon Belle, a book-length manuscript inspired by my mother’s life.
Mieke Chew lives in Melbourne. She is a freelance writer and the editor of Higher Arc magazine. She recently completed her honours thesis on László Krasznahorkai at the University of Melbourne. Her current fixation is Hungarian literature and novels without page breaks. By day she is the Development Manager at Phillip Adams BalletLab.
His Dad’s long gone, the dickhead principal kicked him out of the Comprehensive, the coppers won’t quit hassling him, his Ma’s nagging’s doing his head in, his best mate’s a piss-head slacker, his brother’s gone down for beating on his ex and his new job nets him less than the pension … but this time it’s not just Harlem Jones that’s angry: it’s half of fricken England.
Maxine Beneba Clarke, a West Indian-Australian poet, has recently fallen for prose. She feels guilty when she remembers the good times with Poetry, but if they’d both calm down a little they’d realise she’s writer enough for two. Maxine’s short fiction has appeared in Harvest, Page Seventeen and Verity La. She has recently completed her first collection of short fiction, Foreign Soil.
‘The day the world stayed the same’
Melissa Fagan has been (among other things) a nanny, tour leader, swimming instructor, English teacher and editorial assistant. She is currently a Brisbane-based writer and editor, and MPhil candidate in Creative Writing at UQ.
Anna Hedigan: after graduating in arcana only men in the Czech Republic care about and a slightly more useful writing course at RMIT, Anna slid into reviewing and arts journalism as a regular contributor to Radio National’s Book Show, the programs of the Australian Ballet & other bits and bobs. She is currently hoping to scale the vertiginous mound of her novel on medieval Italian painter Cimabue. She blogs at The Moral Highground.
‘The cushion phase’
Fran, an interior designer, whose best friend and business partner, Gaz, has recently died, works through her loss via the prophylatic power of cushions – ‘You seem to be building your house up; cushioning it, so to speak,’ comments her therapist.
Hilary Hewitt writes prose and poetry in Sydney’s inner west and works as a building designer. She is currently completing her first novel which was shortlisted for the 2012 HarperCollins Varuna Awards for Manuscript Development. One of her short stories has been selected for the coming edition of Famous Reporter.
Hayley Katzen’s play Pressure Point was produced at the Byron Bay Community and Cultural Centre Theatre, and her short stories and essays have won competitions and appeared in Australian and American journals and anthologies. She lives and works on a cattle farm in northern New South Wales and is currently enrolled in an MFA at City University of Hong Kong.
‘The rabbit facts’
Julie Keys lives in Gerringong on the NSW south coast. She works as a Registered Nurse and has had a few short stories published
Melanie Kinsman has recently completed a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Adelaide. Her interests include young adult fiction, media studies and cultural studies. As a writer she enjoys exploring the notion of ‘voice’ in fiction.
‘The things I will keep’
Melissa Manning was born in Tasmania and has lived in London and Hungary. Having worked as a lawyer since the 1990s, she is currently studying creative writing at RMIT. Melissa lives in Melbourne with her husband and their three children and spends her ‘spare’ time working towards finishing her first novel.
Toby McCasker is a Sydney-based musician, journalist, and writer. He is also Hysteria magazine’s managing editor and serial laughing miserablist. He also scribbles for AskMen, triple j magazine, Hyper, and others. He can only sing in the company of no-one.
‘Down Came A Blackbird’
Four-year-old Toby is at risk, as his aunt discovers during a visit when she witnesses disturbing behaviour in her sister, who is struggling to cope, and blinkers on her brother-in-law, all of which compels her to take unaccustomed responsibility.
Susan McCreery is a short fiction writer and poet from Thirroul, NSW. Her stories have appeared in various publications including Island, Sleepers Almanac No. 7, Escape, Page Seventeen and Award Winning Australian Writing (2010 and 2012). Story awards include the 2009 Julie Lewis Literary prize and the 2011 Carmel Bird Short Story prize.
‘Ariadne on Naxos’
Clare Ridgway-Faye is 29 and lives in Northcote. She is a teacher of literature and classical studies, and also enjoys knitting and walking her dog. This story was inspired by her recent travels in Greece.
‘A family album’
Francesca Sasnaitis is a Melbourne-born writer and artist, currently based in Sydney, where she is completing an MA in Culture and Creative Practice at the University of Western Sydney. Her poetry most recently appeared in Visible Ink 23, Verandah 27 and ETZ 02.
‘The orphan Christmas’
Kate Sherington is 26 and works in book publishing. She recently returned to Australia after spending two years in London. Her short stories have been highly commended in the State Library of Queensland Young Writers Award and published in the One Book Many Brisbanes anthology.
Caught between the mysterious death of her beloved father and her mother’s Alzheimer’s, a woman discovers that the only thing more mysterious than memory is truth, which surges, retreats, and drowns like the sea.
Imogen Smith is a writer, editor, PhD student and tutor at QUT. Imogen’s PhD is on relationships between Australian short stories, literary journals and technology. She was recently awarded a Varuna Fellowship for her first novel, The Month at Araluen. When she’s not working, Imogen rides her bike in the hills around Brisbane.
John Turner’s short fiction has previously appeared in the online magazines Philament and Islet. He lives and teaches in Sydney.