The 2017 Fair Australia Prize

Opens 1 June. Closes 31 August 2017 at 11.59pm.

About the prize

The Fair Australia Prize is five $4000 prizes:

  • one for fiction (up to 3000 words)
  • one for essay (up to 3000 words)
  • one for poetry (up to 88 lines)
  • one for graphic or cartoon (180 mm wide by 255 mm high), and
  • one for the best entry by a NUW, MEAA and/or NTEU member (in any category)

The prize encourages artists and writers of fiction, poetry and essays to be part of setting a new agenda for our future, questioning our collective common future and how we might get there, together. Winning entries will be published in a special Fair Australia supplement in Overland 229, to be launched in Melbourne in early December.

Entry to the Fair Australia Prize is free. Enter via one of the category links at the bottom of the page.

*Members of the NUW, MEAA and/or NTEU kindly note: there is no separate category for union member entries. Instead, simply tick the box that asks if you are a member on the entry form for your category (whether that cartoon, fiction, poetry or essay)

How the prize will be judged

In each category, submissions will be read blind by a panel of judges. Winners will be selected on the basis of their aesthetic excellence, and their engagement with the issues and themes above and in this background material.

Entrants are encouraged to respond creatively and imaginatively – the competition seeks to foster innovative thinking and expression rather than dogma or didacticism.


Judges for the Fair Australia Prize


Antony Loewenstein is an independent journalist, documentarian and blogger who has written for the BBC, New York Times,  The Nation, Sydney Morning Herald, Melbourne Age, Huffington Post and Haaretz. He’s a Guardian contributor. He has worked in South Sudan, Haiti, Afghanistan, Honduras, Israel/Palestine, West Africa, remote Australia and many other challenging locations around the world. He is the author of three bestselling books, My Israel Question, The Blogging Revolution and Profits of Doom: How Vulture Capitalism is Swallowing the World. His latest book is Disaster Capitalism: Making A Killing Out Of Catastrophe. His website is here. Follow him on twitter @antloewenstein

Jacinda Woodhead is the editor of Overland.

Godfrey Moase works as the Assistant General Branch Secretary at the National Union of Workers in Melbourne, Australia. He blogs at and can be reached on Twitter @gemoase.



Jennifer Down is the winner of multiple short story-writing awards. She has undertaken writing residencies in Melbourne, Penang and Spain, and run creative writing workshops with Victorian school students. Our Magic Hour is her debut novel. Her short stories will be published by Text in 2017.

Michalia Arathimos has published work in publications including Westerly, Landfall, Headland, JAAM, Best New Zealand Fiction Volume 4Lost in Translation: New Zealand Short StoriesSport, and Turbine. She won the Sunday Star Times Short Story Prize in 2016 and has been shortlisted for the Overland VU Short Story Prize for the past two years. Her debut novel, Aukati / Boundary Line, will be published by Mākaro Press in May 2017.

Emma Kerin is a communications officer at the NUW.



Ellen van Neerven is an award-winning Indigenous Australian writer, a proud Mununjali woman from South East Queensland. Her first book, Heat and Light (UQP, 2014), was the recipient of the David Unaipon Award, the Dobbie Literary Award and the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Indigenous Writers Prize. Heat and Light was also shortlisted for The Stella Prize, the Queensland Literary Award for State Significance, and the Readings Prize. Ellen was named as a Sydney Morning Herald‘s Best Young Australian Novelist in 2015. Ellen’s second book, a collection of poetry, is called Comfort Food.

Toby Fitch is poetry editor of Overland and program director for the Australian Poets’ Festival. He also works as a bookseller at Gleebooks, a teacher of creative writing at the University of Sydney, and runs the Sappho Books poetry night.

Carina Garland is a feminist writer and communications officer at the NUW.



Sam Wallman is a political cartoonist, comics-journalist and labour organiser based in Melbourne. He has drawn for SBS, the ABC, the Guardian and Overland. He recently edited and published an anthology of drawings about class, called If We All Spat At Once They’d Drown.

Cathy Wilcox has been drawing cartoons since she was old enough to scratch the furniture. She is best known for her work as a cartoonist for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. She has also twice won the Australian Children’s Book Council’s ‘Picture Book of the Year’ award. In 2007 she won the Walkley Award in Cartooning for a cartoon about Sheikh Taj el-Din al Hilaly’s infamous ‘uncovered meat’ remarks on Australian women.


About the NUW

The prize is supported and funded by the National Union of Workers, a large union that is made up of workers in a diverse number of industries including warehousing, cold storage, poultry, pharmaceutical, dairy and market research. Increasingly, NUW members are dealing with insecure and precarious work.

NUW_EveryWorkerCounts_logoThe NUW stands for jobs that all workers can count on, whether permanent, casual, contract or labour hire. NUW workers and community members collaborate and organise to build a fair Australia inside and outside the workplace.

The NUW believes that a union must be part of a broad social movement to create democratic change, equality and sustainable jobs.


Entry conditions

  • This is a prize for original pieces, written in English
  • Submissions must be unpublished (including online) and not under consideration by other publishers
  • Submissions that have won or are under consideration in other competitions are not eligible
  • Submissions will be processed electronically. Stories and essays should be formatted at 1.5-line spacing and a minimum of 12-point font size. Images must be jpgs or tifs
  • The competition will be judged anonymously. The author’s name must not appear on the manuscript or the entry will be disqualified
  • Multiple entries are acceptable, although each must be entered into the submission system separately
  • The winning entries will be published by Overland
  • Entrants must respond to the guidelines, background and materials provided
  • The closing date is 11.59pm, 31 August 2017. Late entries will not be accepted
  • The judges’ decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into
  • The prize for each category will be $4000
  • The judges reserve the right not to arrive at a winner in any category


Ready to enter?

Short fiction (up to 3000 words)

Current Overland subscriber?
Click here to submit your entry.

Not yet an Overland subscriber?
Click here to submit your entry.
(Remember, you can support Overland by becoming a subscriber.)


Essay (up to 3000 words)

Current Overland subscriber?
Click to submit your entry.

Not yet an Overland subscriber?
Click to submit your entry.
(Remember, you can support Overland by becoming a subscriber.)


Poetry (up to 88 lines)

Current Overland subscriber?
Click to submit your entry.

Not yet an Overland subscriber?
Click to submit your entry.
(Remember, you can support Overland by becoming a subscriber.)


Graphics & cartoons (180 mm wide x 255 mm high; colour)

Current Overland subscriber?
Click to submit your entry.

Not yet an Overland subscriber?
Click to submit your entry.
(Remember, you can support Overland by becoming a subscriber.)


Overland-NUW joint membership-subscription


Both Overland magazine and the National Union of Workers depend on the support of members (industrial and community) and subscribers to continue the important work both organisations do. Which is why we offer a special membership-subscription that includes a discounted 12-month subscription to Overland (four print issues and the daily online magazine), and a one-year community membership with the National Union of Workers. Read more about community memberships, or take out a joint membership-subscription.



Lead image by Alex Proimos (via Wikipedia Commons).

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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