Announcing the winners of the 2016 VU Short Story Prize

Overland, Victoria University and this year’s three judges – Jennifer Mills, Alison Whan (replacing Ian Syson) and Jacinda Woodhead – are very pleased to announce the winners of the Victoria University Short Story Prize for New and Emerging Writers.


‘Broad hatchet’, Julia Tulloh-Harper

Hungry for the challenge of surviving in isolation and the peace of the bush, a young woman ventures alone into the Australian forest to build a slab hut – but she soon learns that the wilderness cannot necessarily provide the solace that she seeks.

Julia Tulloh Harper is a writer in Melbourne. She has worked as a pop culture columnist for Kill Your Darlings, and is currently working on a PhD about gender in Cormac McCarthy’s fiction. She tweets at @jtul and blogs at



Ben Walter

‘All hollows’, Ben Walter

The narrator – sequentially, a vampire, werewolf and zombie – can’t sleep. 

Ben Walter is a writer of lyrical and experimental fiction who has been widely published in Australian journals, including Meanjin, Overland, Island, Griffith Review and The Lifted Brow. He has twice been shortlisted in the Tasmanian Premier’s Literary Prizes, and recently guest-edited Overland’s anti-/dis-/un-Australian fiction issue.



‘The acorn of sadness’, AS

This story is about the choices we have from inside our grief. 

AS is a writer living in Sydney. Her short fiction and essays have appeared in various anthologies and journals such as MeanjinOverland and Award Winning Australian Stories. She has received the UTS Writers’ Prize and was runner-up in the 2016 Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize.


‘Broad hatchet’, the winning story, ‘takes the classic Australian short story – pioneer mythology, man versus landscape – and reshapes it’. Judges note that the story is ‘intimate, subversive and finely wrought’. The two runner-up stories, ‘with their capricious circumstances and beleaguered characters, carve out unanticipated landscapes and meanings that double as piercing critique’,  the judges write.

All three stories, along with the judges’ report, will feature in Overland 224, out in around a fortnight’s time.

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 2017.

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


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