Shortlist for the Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize

Supported by the Malcolm Robertson Foundation, and named after the late Neilma Gantner, this prize is for excellent short fiction of up to 3000 words themed around the notion of ‘travel’. The competition is open to writers anywhere in the world.

This year, the first place prize is $4000 and publication in Overland 235. Two runner-up stories will be awarded $500 each, and will be published online alongside our winter edition.

A big shoutout to all the talented writers who submitted their work for consideration for the prize – judges Heather Morris, Peter Polites and Patty Yumi Cottrell were very impressed. Narrowing the 400 entries to a shortlist was an unenviable task, but our judges persisted.

Congratulations to these six writers, who have been shortlisted for the 2018 Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize:

George Haddad


NSSP_George HaddadA young man answers an important call underwater.

George Haddad is a doctoral candidate at the Writing and Society Centre, Western Sydney University. His debut novella Populate and Perish was the recipient of the 2016 Viva La Novella prize. He has written for Overland, The Lifted Brow, Seizure, Runway and Un magazine.

Mairead O’Neill

Folie à Deux

NSSP_Mairead O'NeillA naïve young woman follows her paramour into the dark and dangerous underworld of Auckland’s sex work industry.

Mairead O’Neill is a young queer writer of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Her passions include teaching, mental health advocacy, video games, partying, and caring for her pets. She resides in Dunedin, New Zealand, and is currently working on her first novel.


Angela Rega

‘Paper boats’

NSSP_Angela RegaAn elderly Italian migrant befriends a refugee child in detention; a story about identity and belonging in the Australian migration experience. 

Angela Rega is a writer and teacher based in Canberra. Her short stories have been published in Australia, Canada, United States, United Kingdom and Norway.  Her publications include The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror, PS Publishing and Crossed Genres.


Alana Bridget Scully


Alana editedEn route to a reunion in Beijing, a young woman contemplates the truth of her relationship, and what can and can’t be said.

Alana Bridget Scully is a writer and student from Melbourne. Her work has featured in various publications, including The Suburban Review, Scum Mag and Seizure, to name a few.



‘Eva and Tobias’

A mother leaves her baby and finds solace in a stranger.

AS lives in Sydney. Her stories and essays have appeared in print and online in publications such as Overland, Meanjin, Antipodes and Southerly. A is represented by the Jane Novak Literary Agency.

Laura Woollett


NSSP_Laura WoollettAfter a frightening experience while backpacking through Europe, an 11-year-old Australian girl and her mother spend a summer with cousins in Malta. 

Laura Elizabeth Woollett is the author of a short story collection, The Love of a Bad Man (Scribe, 2016), and a novel, Beautiful Revolutionary (Scribe, 2018). She is currently working on her next novel, The Newcomer.




Congratulations to those shortlisted! Final results will be announced at Overland late next week.

Note that the Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize will open again in September. In the meantime, check out the rest of Overland’s literary prizes.

Editorial team

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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