Shortlist for the 2014 Short Story Prize

As usual, the hundreds of entries for this year’s Overland Victoria University Short Story Prize for New and Emerging Writers were read blind. The judges – Overland editor Jeff Sparrow, fiction editor Jennifer Mills, deputy editor Jacinda Woodhead, and Victoria University academic and writer Jenny Lee – have finally decided on a shortlist of thirteen stories.

These shortlisted stories are quite diverse in content, with many distinguished either by their skill of execution or their ambition.

Winning stories for the $8000 prize will be announced late next week, with the publication of Overland’s final issue for the year.

Overland and Victoria University are thrilled to announce the 2014 shortlist:


A lesbian mother’s rendition of her youngest son’s Google addiction, pet magpie, artistic potential, and their daily interactions with the grumpy lollipop man.  

Based in Bangalow, Stevi-Lee Alver is a student, a nurse and a surfer. In 2014, she was one of three winners of the Questions Writing Prize and, while studying abroad at the University of Massachusetts, received the Class of 1940 Creative Writing Award for poetry. Her work has recently appeared in Rochford Street Review, Writing to the Edge, Jabberwocky and Northerly.



A dancer undergoes surgery alone in a foreign country, and fearing what will be lost, her perception of time folds like a dermoid cyst.

Beth Cardier holds a PhD in Creative Writing and is completing a futuristic novel. Her fiction has appeared in HQ Magazine, scarp and anthologies by Womangong Press, while her non-fiction articles on narrative technologies are syndicated to newspapers across the world. When she spends time, a sandpit is usually nearby.



A couple visit an historical site in the Dutch dunes on the North Sea and are confronted with their own histories and the way these sometimes divide us.

Christy Collins’ (unpublished) first novel was shortlisted for the Writing Australia Unpublished Manuscript Award and long-listed for the Vogel. She is currently walking the Camino de Santiago, but is usually based in Melbourne. She is undertaking PhD studies in Creative Writing at the University of Tasmania.



Miss Chester’s class takes an excursion to the London Olympics site at Stratford, where her boyfriend shows up unexpectedly.

Laura Elvery is a PhD candidate and creative writing tutor at Queensland University of Technology. Last year, she won the Griffith University Josephine Ulrick Literature Prize. Laura’s novel Sugartown was selected for the 2013 QWC/Hachette Manuscript Development Program.


Giorgi-photo‘The Circle and the Equator’

A young Namibian refugee, injured in a raid on her camp, recounts her journey from Angola to Cuba and her efforts to reconcile the ordered life of a socialist youth collective with the unpredictable qualities of the shrapnel inside her.

Kyra Giorgi is a writer and researcher.


Madelaine Portrait‘Dog Story’

A young woman meets with a former lover after the death of their dog.

Madelaine Lucas is a writer and musician based in Sydney, Australia. A recent graduate of the University of Technology Sydney, her work has appeared in Island magazine, Vertigo, and several volumes of the UTS Writers’ Anthology. She is currently working on a collection of short fiction, and developing a publication dedicated to female musical influence.


Harriet‘The Standardised Patient’

A woman is forced to stop pretending when reality sneaks in to confront her. 

Harriet McKnight is a writer from Melbourne. She is also the deputy editor of The Canary Press.


ThomasMinogue‘Helen Earth’

Helen Earth has taken issue with the horrible name of a pretty young man, but what’s in a name?

Thomas Minogue is a medical scientist who escapes empiricism to dabble in the greys. His writing has appeared in The Big Issue and A Storytelling of Ravens and he was awarded a 2011 Varuna Fellowship for an unfinished manuscript that hates him as much as he does it.



A woman works a three-week swing on a solar energy station in the desert while her husband and baby wait at home.

Elisabeth Passmore lives and writes in Sydney, sings gospel music and works in public policy.



Against the backdrop of the approaching wet season in Darwin, a young woman separated from her country, her language and her family tries to stay connected to her culture against the wishes of her husband.  

Mark Smith lives, writes, surfs and occasionally works on the West Coast of Victoria. His writing has appeared in Best Australian Stories, Award Winning Australian Writing, Visible Ink, Mascara, Margaret River Press, Spineless Wonders and Great Ocean Quarterly, among others. He is currently working on his first novel.


250 pixel LS‘A New Bruise’

Mackie has always been trouble – when he visits his ex, she tries to make sense of his patterns of aggression and the bad news he brings.

 Laura Stortenbeker is a Melbourne-based writer and editor. Previously her work has appeared in Stilts and Voiceworks. She is currently working on a short story collection.


james_worner_250x250‘An Island Life’

Twelve-year-old Michael is learning to read the world around him by listening to the river.

‘An Island Life’ is a story James Worner has written for his MA in Creative Writing at the University of Technology Sydney. His other stories have been published in the 2014 UTS Anthology Sight Lines and the 2014 Fiction Edition of The Big Issue.


Michelle Wright headshot‘Late Change’

‘Late Change’ is a story about forces – of nature and of humans. It is a story of the battles, big and small, which we lose, win and forfeit.

Michelle Wright lives in Eltham and writes short stories and flash fiction. She’s won the Age, Alan Marshall, Grace Marion Wilson and Orlando short story prizes, come second in the Bridport Prize and was awarded the 2013 Writers Victoria Templeberg Residential Writing Fellowship. She’s passionate about languages, literature, science and sanitation.


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