Announcing the winners of the 2015 Short Story Prize

Overland, Victoria University and the three judges – Nam Le, Natalie Kon-yu and Jacinda Woodhead – are very pleased to announce the winners of the Victoria University Short Story Prize for New and Emerging Writers.



‘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



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.



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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.


The winning story, ‘Their cruel routines’, was regarded by judges as ‘exceptional and unnerving’.

Thompson takes the fairly mundane relationship of mother and repressed adult son and makes it strange and ambiguous, leaving the reader on edge.

Indeed, all three winning stories interrogate common relationships and subvert narrative expectations in artful ways. The flawless ‘Alpine Road’ depicts the day-to-day concerns of a family living on the poverty line in the shadow of the Hazelwood mine, while ‘Faking’ recounts, with wit, gusto and highly polished prose, the life of an emasculated writer.


All three stories, along with the full judges’ report, will feature in Overland 221, out in early December.

Congratulations to the winning and shortlisted stories, and our thanks to all the writers who entered the competition. The Overland Victoria University Short Story Prize will open again in 2016.

(Please note: all stages of this competition are judged blind.)





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Editorial team

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