Shortlist for the 2013 Short Story Prize

We received over 830 entries for the 2013 Overland Victoria University Short Story Prize for New and Emerging Writers, many of which were of a remarkably high standard. The four judges from Victoria University and Overland magazine – Enza Gandalfo, Jennifer Mills, Jeff Sparrow and Jacinda Woodhead – again read the competition blind. After lengthy consideration, they have selected a shortlist of 12 exceptional stories.

Winning stories for the $8000 prize will be announced toward the end of November and published in Overland’s final issue for this year.

Overland and Victoria University are very pleased to announce the 2013 shortlist:

‘Dubbing Blows Cold’

‘Dubbing Blows Cold’ recounts the ugly endings of a friendship between two young men, a thing so torn and ravaged we can see it coming undone right in front of us – the main unraveller is a girl, of course.

Liam Copland is a 20-something writer living and working in Wollongong NSW. His work is a hyper-real take on the intricacies of human interaction, at times funny, at times sad. He is currently studying creative writing at the University of Wollongong and about to begin his Masters in 2014, which will see him working on a novel exploring the family hierarchy.

‘The Job’

Over summer, best friends Justin and Lila navigate the trials of cordial, cigarettes and blow jobs.

Robyn Dennison is a writer based in Melbourne. Her fiction has been published in Voiceworks and she co-edits Mary journal. She studies at Melbourne University.


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Murray’s used to looking for signals – from his beloved Lou, from their dog, from the forests he works in – but he can’t decode his own panic.

Jennifer Down is a writer and editor at work on her first fiction manuscript. Previously her writing has appeared in the Age, the Sydney Morning Herald and ABC’s Drum. She likes rock and roll, Denis Johnston and looking at art.

‘Orange, New Jersey, Aglow at Night’

Vivien paints compass dials with radium and, like magic, she watches as things light up in the dark.

Laura Elvery is a PhD candidate and creative writing tutor at QUT. Laura won this year’s Griffith University Josephine Ulrick Literature Prize, and is currently shortlisted for the QUT Postgraduate Creative Writing Prize. She has been selected for the 2013 QWC/Hachette Manuscript Development Program. Laura lives in Brisbane.

Suong Mai’

Sarah Kanake Photo
During the early days of the Vietnam War an Australian soldier stationed in Nui Dat meets a young Vietnamese woman in the nearby village of Vung Tau. Her name is Suong Mai.

Sarah Kanake is a creative writing tutor and PhD candidate at QUT. This year she finished writing her first novel and is now working on a collection of short stories. Sarah is one half of the country music duo The Shiralee. She lives in Brisbane with her partner and a labradoodle.

‘The Three-Dimensional Yellow Man’

A yellow ninja steps out of a 3D film and into a plush red theatre on George Street, to the bemusement of local cinemagoers.

JYL Koh’s short stories appear in the Sleepers Almanacs 7, 8 and 9 (forthcoming). In 2013, she was a finalist in the Qantas Spirit of Youth Awards Written Word category, commended for the ASA’s Ray Koppe Young Writers’ Residency and longlisted for the ABR’s Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize.

‘Walk Beside Me’

Marjorie Lewis-Jones bio pic
Sam’s life in an outlying Aboriginal community is idyllic until the local mine and a family illness threaten what he needs most – which is to stay by his friend Djiny’s side forever.

Marjorie Lewis-Jones is a Sydney-based writer, editor and poet. She works in publishing and media management, has run creative writing and journalism workshops and is a voracious reader and reviewer with eclectic tastes. She blogs about books, reading and writing at A bigger brighter world.


Nic Low
Two Aboriginal land rights activists decide that if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

Nic Low is a writer, installation artist and arts organiser of Ngai Tahu Maori and European descent. He writes fiction, essays and criticism for various Australian publications, and runs the University of Melbourne’s Asialink international writing program. In 2012 he led the Bookwallah travelling writers festival 2000km across India by train.

‘Rapture and Terror and Awe’

Marland headshot 1
A solitary man flies to Tasmania to view the Aurora Australis and meets a curious stranger who wants to share the experience with him.

Nick Marland is a writer of fiction and nonfiction who has appeared in Going Down Swinging, The Lifted Brow, Seizure, Griffith REVIEW, Voiceworks, the UTS Writers’ Anthology and online at ABC’s Drum. He was the winner of the 2006 SOYA Award for Writing.

‘Comme Hair’

A discontented hairdresser falls for an irresistible head of hair, unluckily attached to someone wildly unsuitable, with disturbing consequences.

Melanie Napthine is a Melbourne-based writer with a particular fondness for the short story form, though she currently also has a couple of novels on the go. She works in educational publishing and any leftover time is spent reading, running, travelling or with family, not necessarily in that order.

‘How To Be Happy’

Faith Oxenbridge
An instructional narrative for women on how to be happy.

Faith Oxenbridge has a MFA in Creative Writing and teaches full-time. She chips away at a couple of short stories a year and likes to experiment with form. She writes the sort of stories she likes to read – stories about messy people leading messy lives.

‘Sugar Bag Dreamin’ Country’

Mark Smith
The routine task of transporting Jimmy Sugar to attend sorry business in Adelaide River takes Ray Cunningham on a detour into the old man’s country, where simple events take on new meaning.

Mark Smith is a writer, surfer and educator who lives on Victoria’s West Coast. His stories have appeared in Award Winning Australian Writing, Visible Ink, Offset and Mascara. In 2012–13 he won both the EJ Brady and The Alan Marshall short story awards. He is also very uncomfortable talking about himself in the third person.

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

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