Shortlist for the 2013 Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize

We received more than 500 entries for the 2013 Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize for New and Emerging Poets, the richest poetry prize for an emerging Australian poet. Overland poetry editor Peter Minter read the competition blind over the past two months, and has now arrived at a shortlist of 12 outstanding poems.

Winning poems for the $9000 prize will be announced toward the end of March and published in Overland’s first print issue for 2014.

Overland and the Malcolm Robertson Foundation are very pleased to announce the 2013 shortlist:


1000364_10152159361224575_491537844_n‘Solstice’ is part of a series of poems on the themes of nature, sadness, and superstition originally exchanged in correspondence with Rachel Yuen-Collingridge.

Carolyn Burns is a writer from Sydney. Her monologue Stick, produced as part of the Australian Theatre for Young People’s emerging playwright program, has been performed onstage around Australia and adapted to film. She recently submitted her PhD thesis on opera and adaptation theory at the University of Sydney.


‘Of the Moment’

ZenFrost_RawBones_250pIn 2012, I spent a sleepless week immersed in family history while in residence at Varuna; haunted by silences in my grandad’s war stories, I wrote this.

Zenobia Frost is the assistant editor of Cordite Poetry Review and a poetry editor for Voiceworks magazine. Her work appears in Overland, Cordite, The Lifted Brow, Southerly and the Guardian. She has toured nationally performing her poetry. Zenobia’s forthcoming manuscript was shortlisted in the 2013 Thomas Shapcott Prize.



Myles‘Topography’ is a reflection on a memorable afternoon spent hiking through Sydney’s Royal National Park.

Myles Gough is a freelance journalist who has written for Al Jazeera, New Matilda and the Australian science magazine Cosmos. He also writes poetry and short fiction, and was the second runner-up in the 2012 Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize.


‘Born-to-it (song cycle / cento)’

Small photo‘Born-to-it (song cycle / cento)’ gives portrait to an imagined road trip through South Australia.

Banjo James is a poet and caterer who grew up in Adelaide. He now lives in Melbourne where his poetry has been published in Overland and Rabbit. He writes under his given name.



SmallerpicturecaitlinI’m fascinated by the limits of our understanding of the natural and in the shifting way poetry approaches ecology. This poem relates a trip I took through the Si Phan Don in Laos to my more familiar WA landscape.

Caitlin Maling has published poetry throughout Australia and the US for which she has received fellowships from Yaddo, Varuna, the Sitka Centre for Art and Ecology, and the Sante Fe Art Institute. She holds an MPhil from Cambridge University and an MFA from the University of Houston. Her first collection Conversations I’ve Never Had is forthcoming with Fremantle Press.


‘hewn rioio’

Andrew McLeod square pic‘hewn rioio’ examines the collapse of boundaries between world and individual, word and sound, past and present, and tragedy and farce that occur at a time of trauma.

Andrew McLeod is a writer, critic and award-winning journalist. His work has most recently been published in Vlak and Rabbit. He was born in Newcastle and now lives in Melbourne, where he is completing his PhD at Monash University.


‘The Wailing Wall’

MordueThis poem is a snapshot from Darlinghurst in the 1980s. It walks the strange line between a memory and a dream.

Mark Mordue is a writer, journalist and editor based in Sydney. He has an MA in Writing from the University of Technology Sydney and was the winner of the 2010 Pascall Prize for Australian Critic of the Year. He is currently working on a biography of Nick Cave.



Aden-4 square‘Plural’ is about what we choose to remember and how this shapes who we are – it’s from a larger work-in-progress titled False Nostalgia.

Aden Rolfe is a poet and performance writer whose work has been published in the Age, Best Australian Poems and Cordite. He was the 2013 recipient of the Dorothy Hewett Flagship Fellowship for Poetry from Varuna. This is the fourth time he’s been shortlisted for the Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize.


‘Clothes Peg Inventor’

Gareth Thomas‘Clothes Peg Inventor’ gets lost deep in the sway of a night-time clothesline.

Gareth Thomas is a poet and visual artist living in the temperate mountains of the great connecting range of east coast Australia. Mostly he writes about the bewildering ecological interconnections embodied in everyday things, but also tries to face and find healing in the imperial violence of his mongrel bloodlines.



WATTS-2‘Lagrange’ tries to get a handle on the alien and the commonplace in the shopping mall car park: the ever-receding narrative resolution of wanting to be elsewhere.

Andrew Michael Watts has studied English and creative writing. He works from home as a copyeditor in suburban Canberra.


‘Magnet Theory’

cw-prom‘Magnet Theory’ is about meeting somebody, watching films, the 2013 federal election and some other things.

Connor Weightman has lived most of his life in Perth. He studied Arts and Science at UWA, where he also did an honours year in creative writing in 2012. He has had poetry published in Westerly, Voiceworks and foam:e.


‘Stanwell Tops’

MitchellWelchMugShot‘Stanwell Tops’ is at the edge of everything – a place where the Tasman wind hits the cliffs in frenzied updraughts.

Mitchell Welch is a part-time public servant, student and researcher from Melbourne. His poems and short stories have been published in Australia and overseas, and he has spent the first part of 2014 researching political poetry on scholarship at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House.


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

If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate.

Related articles & Essays