Shortlist for the 2015 Short Story Prize

Overland and Victoria University are pleased to announce that the three judges of the Victoria University Short Story Prize for New and Emerging Writers – writer Nam Le, writer and Victoria University academic Natalie Kon-yu and Overland editor Jacinda Woodhead – have finally decided on a shortlist of twelve stories.

While these shortlisted stories are diverse in style and content, their explorations of unusual power dynamics, handling of dramatic tension and sentence-level attention impressed the judges.

Winning stories for the $8000 prize will be announced late next week. All three stories, along with the judges’ report, will appear in Overland’s last issue of the year, to be released in early December. (Please note: all stages of this competition were judged blind.)

Introducing the 2015 shortlist:


‘The Conservation of the Stars’, Michalia Arathimos

A story about the fine lines between love, preservation and the potential violence of cultural collection.

Michalia Arathimos is a writer from New Zealand, currently residing in Melbourne.  She has published in Best New Zealand Fiction Volume 4, Lost in Translation: New Zealand Short Stories, Sport, JAAM and Turbine. Her first novel, Aukati / Boundary Line will be released by Mākaro Press in 2016.


Fiona Bell

‘Mary, Mary’, Fiona Bell

A domestic servant deals with unexpected and complicated feelings about the family that employs her.

Fiona Bell lives, writes and teaches English in tropical Cairns. Her short stories have found homes in various places and in 2015 she was awarded a Varuna Publisher Introduction fellowship for her young adult novel, Waterhole.


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‘Alpine Road’, Jennifer Down

‘It’s not that we’re really struggling,’ Franca tells a friend, ‘it’s just that we’ve got no safety net.’

Jennifer Down is a writer and editor. Her writing has appeared in The Age, Australian Book Review, The Saturday Paper, Overland and Kill Your Darlings. Her debut novel, Our Magic Hour, will be published by Text in March 2016.



‘Parenthesized Latin’, Jonathan Dunk

‘Parenthesized Latin’ flenses the Modern Project through the wayward eyes of an eighteenth-century explorer, whose precarious reality begins to list when his ship is becalmed in the South Pacific.

Jonathan Dunk is a PhD candidate at the University of Sydney, where he teaches Australian literature.



‘Monday, 25 years old’, Amarlie Foster

An introspective Monday evening spent at home, thinking about meat.

Amarlie Foster lives in Melbourne. Her writing has also appeared in Cordite Poetry Review and Rabbit.


Overland Mia

‘Her: The Story of a Man and a Woman’, Mia-Francesca McAuslan

A young couple navigate the aching and shifting terrain of a dysphoric relationship.

Mia-Francesca McAuslan is a writer of fiction, nonfiction and memoir. She has studied writing at RMIT and The American University of Paris. In 2015, her unpublished manuscript was longlisted for the Richell Prize for New and Emerging Writers. She interns with The Lifted Brow, and is a cofounder and editor of Alien She Zine.



‘Shibboleth’, Jo Riccioni

Reuniting at London’s Tate Modern, an art reviewer reflects on her love for her oldest friend against the backdrop of Doris Salcedo’s polarising art installation, Shibboleth.

Jo Riccioni’s novel, The Italians at Cleat’s Corner Store won the International Rubery Award for Fiction in 2015 and was longlisted for the New Angle Prize in the UK. She has been awarded a Varuna Fellowship and a Bundanon Residency to work on her first short fiction collection, Can’t Take the Country Out of the Boy. She lives in Sydney.



‘Raptor’, Erin Ritchie

A child watches their mother become a raptor.

Erin Ritchie’s writing has been published in Review of Australian Fiction and Etchings, ‘Highly Commended’ in the Josephine Ulrick Short Story Prize and shortlisted for the QUT Creative Writing Prize. She recently completed a Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Melbourne. She lives with Adrienne, Amelie and Ross.



‘Triplets’, Jackson Nieuwland

A story about art, mirrors, and three sisters growing apart.

Jackson Nieuwland likes unicorns. He is the editor of LEFT and the co-author (with Carolyn DeCarlo) of Bound (Compound Press 2014) and Twilight Zone (NAP 2013). He has an MA in Creative Writing from the International Institute of Modern Letters.


Gen-Poetka-Image‘Faking’, Genevieve Poetka

Flawed both as a dog-owner and a husband, David wilts and rallies in the New York heat.

Genevieve Poetka is 38 and lives in Sydney.



‘Here Are The Holes in My Eyes’, Ben Walter

Miles’ house won’t stop leaking; circumstances deepen.

Ben Walter is a Tasmanian writer of lyrical fiction and poetry. His stories have recently appeared in Westerly, Island, The Canary Press and The Lifted Brow. He was the runner-up in the 2014 Jim Hamilton Award for an unpublished novel manuscript, and has just been shortlisted in the Tasmanian Premier’s Literary Prizes for the second time.



‘Their Cruel Routines’, Barry Lee Thompson

The exploration of a childhood recollection exposes a family’s troubled terrain.

Barry Lee Thompson is developing a collection of linked short fiction; the project is supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria. His writing is published in Australia and overseas, and his work has been recognised in a number of literary awards. He writes at



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