Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize: the 2016 shortlist

Named after the late Neilma Gantner, the Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize seeks original short fiction of up to 3000 words themed around the notion of ‘travel’. With support from the Malcolm Robertson Foundation, the competition awards a first place of $4000 and two runner-up prizes of $500. The winning story will be published in Overland’s first edition of the year (available mid-March), with the two runners-up published as part of the edition online.

The three judges for this year’s competition – Stephanie Bishop, Aviva Tuffield and Tony Wheeler – have finished their blind judging and deliberation, and decided on a shortlist of nine outstanding stories with varying approaches to the theme.

Congratulations to the shortlisted writers:


An ex-navy serviceman reflects on his life and grieves for his deceased friend by becoming a tomato plant.

Aron Oroszvari is a fledgling writer who composes minimalist fantasy and surrealist short stories. He is based in Brisbane and splits his time between working as a check-in attendant for Sunstate Coaches and thrall work for House Conspiracy.



Version 3‘Lament of a Bus Stop outside the Benrath Senior Centre’

A travel story in which no-one goes anywhere, this piece was inspired by the fake bus stops for Alzheimer’s patients at German nursing homes.

David Cohen is a Brisbane-based writer whose short fiction has appeared in The Big Issue, Meanjin, Seizure, Tracks and elsewhere. He is the author of two novels: Fear of Tennis (Black Pepper, 2007) and Disappearing off the Face of the Earth, which will be published by Transit Lounge in May 2017.

Mirandi by Red Boots Photographic (35 of 164) web‘Invitation’

A story about a migrant mother’s desire to belong.

Mirandi Riwoe has been shortlisted for the Josephine Ulrick Short Story Prize and longlisted for the ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize. Her work has appeared in Rex, Peril, Shibboleth and Other Stories. Her first novel will be released by Legend Press (UK) this year.



The aftermath of a Balinese encounter.

Edward Garrahy is an Irish doctor from Limerick, Ireland, currently living in Melbourne. He juggles a medical career with his passion for reading, writing and travel.


McLean_734Low‘Life’s canon’

The delight and uniqueness of life’s journey is in the ornamentation built around the one constant, underpinning beat.

David McLean is an actor, author, broadcaster and educator. His writing includes articles, poems, textbooks and novels. Of particular delight are the interviews he gets to conduct with national and international authors on 3CR as one of the hosts of Published or Not.


katy-warner-bw2‘The Trip’

A girl is taken on an unexpected journey by the mother she barely knows.

Katy Warner is a Melbourne-based writer of plays and stories. A graduate of the VCA, her plays have been presented across Australia and as part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In 2016, she won the Rachel Furnai Prize for Fiction. Her short stories have been shortlisted for awards including the Lord Mayor’s Creative Writing Prize and the Grace Marion Wilson Emerging Writers Prize. Her debut novel will be published by Black Inc in 2018.

Richardson‘The wild mustang’

A young Australian woman travelling with her husband arrives at a Midwest American motel late at night where, after an eerie day on the road, she tries to sort out reality from fiction.

Jocelyn Richardson is a writer, editor and musician. She is a founder of Chart Collective, a publication about place and environment. She has had nonfiction and poetry published in Kill Your Darlings and Ricochet Magazine and currently plays in hybrid-electronic band Golden Girls.

Scholz‘East West Tiger’

A story of family, being valued, and a boy’s link to a new world.

John Scholz is a writer and teacher from South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula. His writing has been published in Australia and internationally. He has had success in many writing competitions including winning the SA Writers’ Festival Short Story Award twice, and the EJ Brady Award.

RuthArmstrong2‘Paper Cranes’

An Australian couple make a return visit to Kyoto, in the hope of restoring momentum to their stagnating relationship.

Ruth Armstrong has worked as a doctor and a medical journal editor. After many years of trying to stick to the facts, she has returned to the world of fiction and is undertaking an MA in Creative Writing at UTS. She writes and moderates for the health website, | @DrRuthAtLarge




new MRF logo-2015The Neilma Sidney Prize is supported by the Malcolm Robertson Foundation



Editorial team

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