2019 Fair Australia Prize: Judges

Open now. Now closing Monday 19 August.


About the prize

In an era of increasing economic inequality and social alienation, community-building, collective political action and workers’ unions are more vital than ever.

How does money, time, and power alter our daily lives, limiting some while others rise to the ‘top’? In our work, our lives, and our communities, how should things be? How might we change our collective future?

The Fair Australia prize encourages artists and writers of fiction, poetry and essays to explore these questions. We want artists and writers to be part of setting a new agenda.

Winning entries will be published in a special Fair Australia supplement in Overland 237, to be launched in Melbourne in early December.


Theme: ‘Strike’

Please bear in mind that entrants are encouraged not to take the theme too literally.  We encourage you to think about the theme broadly and laterally; to use it as a jumping off point for your own ideas.

Here are a few prompts:

Had enough? Withdraw your labour. Down tools, occupy the factory. It’s the snake you’ve provoked. The match being struck. The hammer on the anvil. Sparks fly. Don’t cross the picket line. Take to the streets. Shaky viral footage on a loop across the networks. A swing and a miss. Leave the floor unswept, the dishes in the sink. The sky darkens before the sudden flash. All that electricity. Bombs fall in enemy territory. Days turn to weeks. What could you withhold? Keep digging: you might find oil, find gold. 1856, 1968. The police horses swish their tails and twitch. A staring match. Bloodied knuckles, bone on bone. Sandstone. The hunger of the suffragettes. The lock on the gate. The chime of the clock. What would make you walk out? What would it take?


How the prize will be judged

In each category, submissions will be read anonymously by a panel of judges.

The 2019 judges are:


Omar Sakr is an Arab Australian poet born and raised in Western Sydney. He is the author of These Wild Houses (Cordite, 2017), a collection of poetry shortlisted for the Judith Wright Calanthe Award and the Kenneth Slessor Prize for Poetry. His new collection, The Lost Arabs (2019), is forthcoming with UQP.

Toby Fitch is Overland’s poetry editor and the author of Rawshock (Puncher & Wattmann 2012), which won the Grace Leven Prize for Poetry, and Jerilderies (Vagabond Press 2014). His most recent collection is Bloomin’ Notions.

Chloe Wilson is a writer based in Melbourne, Australia. Her most recent collection of poems, Not Fox Nor Axe, was shortlisted for the 2016 Kenneth Slessor Prize at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. Her first collection, The Mermaid Problem, was commended in the Anne Elder Award and Highly Commended in the Mary Gilmore Award.


Khalid Warsame is a writer who lives in Melbourne. His essays and fiction have appeared in The Lifted Brow, Overland, The Big Issue, Acclaim Magazine, Cordite Poetry Review, and Djed Press.

Paddy O’Reilly is the author of three novels and two collections of short stories. Her novels and stories have won and been shortlisted for a number of major awards, and been published, anthologised and broadcast in Australia, Europe and the USA. 

Carina Garland is a feminist writer and assistant secretary of Victorian Trades Hall.


Mark Seymour is an Australian musician and vocalist. He was the frontman of the Hunters and Collectors for eighteen years. Since then, Mark has continued to perform and record. He’s the author of Thirteen Tonne Theory (Penguin, 2008).

Fiona Wright is a writer, editor and critic from Sydney. Her book of essays Small Acts of Disappearance: Essays on Hunger won the 2016 Nita B. Kibble Award and the Queensland Literary Award for nonfiction and was shortlisted for the Stella Prize and the NSW Premier’s Douglas Stewart Award. Her first poetry collection, Knuckled, won the 2012 Dame Mary Gilmore Award, while Domestic Interior was shortlisted for the 2018 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Poetry. Her new essay collection is The World Was Whole (Giramondo, 2018).

Josh Bornstein is a Principal Lawyer at Maurice Blackburn, based in Melbourne. He is the national head of the firm’s Employment Law department.

Godfrey Moase is the Assistant General Branch Secretary at the National Union of Workers in Melbourne, Australia. He’s previously written for the Guardian, OverlandJacobin, and New Matilda. On Twitter he’s @gemoase.

Cartoon or graphic

David Pope worked as a freelance cartoonist and illustrator for many years, including at The Sun Herald in Sydney before joining The Canberra Times as a staff artist in 2008. His cartoons have appeared in range of publications, including Labour Studies Briefing, The Republican, The Northern Rivers Echo, The Diplomat, The New Doctor, Overland, Arena, and various trade union newspapers.

Charlotte Allingham is a 25 year old proud Wiradjuri woman from New South Wales, with family ties to Condobolin and surrounding mob. She currently lives in Naarm. Charlotte specialises in digital design and illustration.

Sam Wallman is a political cartoonist based in Melbourne. samwallman.com

Special category judges

Carina GarlandGodfrey Moase, Sam Wallman, Marisa Wikramanayake, Jack Faine and others.


Enter the 2019 Fair Australia Prize



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