Shortlist for the 2017 VU Short Story Prize

Overland and Victoria University are pleased to announce that the four judges of this year’s Victoria University Short Story Prize for New and Emerging Writers – author Frank Moorhouse, UQP editor Ian See, writer and academic Enza Gandalfo and Overland publicity officer Rachael McGuirk – have reduced this year’s 800 entries to a shortlist of ten stories. (Please note: all stages of this competition were judged blind.)

Winning stories for the $8000 prize will be announced shortly. The three prize winners, along with the judgesreports, will be published in the spring issue of Overland.

Introducing the 2017 shortlist:

Allan Drew

‘Wharekaho Beach, 1944’

Allan DrewStan Keep, a Coromandel farm manager, rows his dinghy out to a US Destroyer anchored in Mercury Bay during World War II, where his encounter with the captain and crew reminds him why he is alive. 

Allan Drew recently completed his PhD in creative writing at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. He writes mostly fiction, but also poems and nonfiction. His work has been published in journals and anthologies in NZ, the UK and the US. Allan teaches creative writing and science writing at Massey University.


Amanda Niehaus

Breeding Season’

Amanda NiehausAfter a miscarriage, a young scientist deals with her grief through isolating fieldwork and a devastating experiment on pregnant marsupial mice.

Amanda Niehaus weaves her experiences as a scientist into her writing because she wants to unsettle readers’ assumptions about human bodies, behaviours, and societies. Her work has been published in Creative Nonfiction, AGNI, Literary Mama, and Noon Annual, and her novel-in-progress, The Breeding Season, is based on this story.


Beejay Silcox

World Service’

Silcox jpgAn Australian ex-pat turns an accident into an anecdote, but can’t shake the weight of what really happened.

Beejay Silcox has been kicked in the head by a gorilla, blessed by a voodoo priest, and stuck in quicksand; she eloped to Las Vegas, and drove to Timbuktu in a car held together with a bra-strap. She recently completed her MFA, and is working on a collection of short fiction.



Charlotte Simmonds

Clown Shoe Store’

Charlotte SimmondsA shoe shop employee contends with surliness and summertime in Wellington.

Charlotte Simmonds is a writer, translator and PhD student at the other Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. Her work appears regularly in arts and literary journals, theatres and podcasts in New Zealand and the USA. Her poetry collection, The World’s Fastest Flower, is published through VUP.



Elisabeth Passmore

The Spill’

Elisabeth passmore jpgIn Martin Place, between the war memorial and the Lindt Café, an office worker finds his own monument to sorrow.

Elisabeth Passmore was shortlisted for the 2014 Overland Victoria University Short Story Prize and longlisted for the 2016 ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize.





Elizabeth Tan

Shirt Dresses That Look A Little Too Much Like Shirts So That It Looks Like You Forgot To Put On Pants (Love Will Save The Day)’

Eizabeth TanA corporation thinks it is time to have a chat with the girls in the office about the uncomfortable liminality of the tops they wear over their leggings.

Elizabeth Tan is a Perth writer and a sessional academic at Curtin University. In recent years, her fiction has appeared in Overland, Westerly, Best Australian Stories 2016, Pencilled In, Seizure, Tincture and Review of Australian Fiction. Her debut novel is Rubik (Brio, 2017).



James Norris

The Wind Forest (kaze-no-mori)’

James_NorrisSet in Japan, two young sisters go on an adventure to a magical folkloric forest where they form an unlikely friendship through kindness and compassion.

James Norris is a writer from Brisbane. Since January 2016, he has submitted thirty-two entries for short story competitions in Australia and internationally and has been unsuccessful on every occasion – except for maybe this one. Whatever the case though, he’s pretty upbeat about it all and hopes to keep trying.


Judyth Emanuel

Girlish RoadKill’

Judyth Emanuel picGlimpses of Pixie, Dimple, Stan and the unknown man entangled within a story of desperation, betrayal, voyeurism, pranks, aging, banality, hypocrisy, desire, lewdness, crudeness, narcissism, manslaughter, sex, death and above all The Search For Love!

Judyth Emanuel has short stories published in Overland, Electric Literature, Literary Orphans, Verity Lane, Intrinsick, Fanzine, Quail Bell, STORGY, One Page and Joiner Bay Stories. She is also forthcoming in Jellyfish Review and Thrice Magazine, was a finalist in the Raven Short Story Contest, was a semi-finalist in Conium Review Flash Fiction and shortlisted for the Margaret River Short Story Prize.


Mandy Beaumont

‘Drowning in Thick Air

Mandy BeaumontDrowning in Thick Air is about what it feels like to be unseen by others, to feel on the very edge of being noticed, to wonder if your missed beauty will become your tragedy. 

Mandy Beaumont teaches creative writing at Griffith University. Most recently she was a finalist in the Rachel Funari Award, the Newcastle Short Story Award and the Overland Fair Australia Prize. Mandy won the MOTH International Short Story Prize and is a Wheeler Centre Writing Fellow. In 2016 she co-edited the Overland ‘The Idea of Women’ edition.


Theodore Bulleid

The Gods Will Not Save You

Theodore BulleidThe Gods Will Not Save You’ is an exploration of death, acceptance and what lies beyond the edge of the cosmos.

Theodore Bulleid is in his third and final year of a Bachelor of Creative Writing at RMIT University. He is a writer of screen and short fiction stories, with a particular love of crime and science fiction.




Congratulations again to all the excellent finalists! Note that winners will be announced at later in August.

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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