Since 2007, the Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize has been Australia’s richest competition for new and emerging poets. This year again the competition attracted hundreds of high-calibre entries.

Now, Overland poetry editor Peter Minter has finished blind judging the competition and has selected a shortlist of six poems. Winning poems for the $9000 prize will be announced and published in Overland’s first print issue for 2015, available toward the end of March.

Overland and the Malcolm Robertson Foundation are very pleased to announce the 2014 shortlist:


Armstrong‘Exile’ was inspired by the author’s 7-day wilderness walk through The World Heritage rainforest of Washpool National Park in NSW and it aims to explore and question man’s relationship and growing separation from nature.

Chris Armstrong has had poetry published on Cordite and Eureka Street and in regional anthologies. Her first novel Blue was shortlisted for the 2005 Vogel Literary Award for an unpublished manuscript. Her shortlisted poem forms part of a collection created as a result of an ASA Emerging Writers Mentorship awarded in January 2014.


Derbas, Alexia bio image‘Iterations’ was written while hiking in Tasmania, thinking about how our relationship with the land has and will continue to change.

Alexia Derbas is a writer and subeditor from Sydney. She is currently working on an Honours thesis in cultural research. Her poetry and fiction have recently appeared in CorditeVoiceworks, Seizure and The Suburban Review. 


Kia_Groom‘Be Were’ is an exploration of the transformative and dehumanising nature of trauma, and the complex dynamic between victim and aggressor, told through the fable-like conceit of a woman who transforms into a were-creature (in this case, a deer).

Kia Groom
is founding editor of Quaint Magazine, a publication devoted to representing marginalized writers. She is currently completing her MFA in poetry from The University of New Orleans, though she resides permanently in Perth, Western Australia. Her work has appeared in Cordite, Westerly, and Going Down Swinging. She tweets @whodreamedit


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA‘Hyper-reactive’ is in flux, a series of uncanny images and restless sensations, the poem is manic, reaching and crying out, like the lions in Brunswick, to belong and connect to place.

Melody Paloma
is currently undertaking her honours year in Creative Writing at RMIT University, her poetry has been published in Rabbit and Voiceworks. In 2015 she received a WrICE fellowship, through which she took part in a collaborative residency held in Vietnam. She is the founder and editor of Dear Everybody (IG: @deareverybodycollective), a creative collective facilitating collaboration and creative exchange between artists and writers.

‘America, You Sexy Fuck’

Omar Sakr‘America, You Sexy Fuck’ is a poem about a season, a country, a period of decline; it is a snapshot of a journey I took across America last year, and the melancholic beauty I found there.

Omar J Sakr
is an Arab Australian poet whose poetry has appeared in Meanjin, Overland, Cordite Poetry Review and Carve Magazine. He is the Fiction Editor for Verity La, and was shortlisted last year for the Story Wine Prize.

‘Neither on this Mountain’

Ben Walter Photo‘Neither on this Mountain’ contemplates the possibilities and limitations of conceiving wilderness as a source of spiritual experience.

Ben Walter is a Tasmanian writer of lyrical poetry and fiction. His work has appeared in a wide range of journals, including Southerly, Island, Overland and The Lifted Brow, and his debut poetry manuscript was shortlisted in the 2013 Tasmanian Literary Prizes.

Editorial team

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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