Announcing the 2021 Kuracca Prize for Australian Literature shortlist

In 2020, Overland literary journal received funding from Create Victoria to help sustain our organisation and encourage excellence in a struggling arts community. In  honour of the late Aunty Kerry Reed-Gilbert, Overland designated a portion of these funds for a new prize rewarding excellence and generosity in Australian writing, irrespective of form and genre. 

The Kuracca Prize for Australian Literature is open to all Australian writers for fiction, poetry, essay, memoir, creative non-fiction, cartoon or graphic stories, and digital or audio storytelling. This year, our first place winner will be awarded $5,000, while two runner prizes of $1,000 will also be awarded. Where possible all three winners will be published where possible in the winter issue of Overland. There are no separate prizes for individual categories.

Thank you to everyone who entered the prize. We received almost five hundred submissions across all categories, and our judges Jeanine Leane, Justin Clemens and Elena Gomez were incredibly impressed by the quality of submissions. Congratulations to our fantastic shortlisted writers:


 Zana Fraillon

‘A map of passings’


‘The gargoyle’

A Map of Passings: So that’s where the street art comes from – a co-temporal narrative of the politically unimportant and entangled forgotten. 

The Gargoyle: Coming of Age in the Anthropocene.

Zana Fraillon is the author of eleven books, including the multi-award winning novel The Bone Sparrow.  Her latest book, The Lost Soul Atlas has been shortlisted for the CBCA Book of the Year and the Aurealis Award. Zana is a PhD candidate in Creative Writing at La Trobe University.

 Anders Villani

‘Collecting brown matter in lockdown as the climate warms’

In this poem, at the centre of the turning where sameness and difference, past and future, idyll and ruin meet, love still offers its chance.

Anders Villani holds an MFA from the University of Michigan’s Helen Zell Writers’ Program, where he received the Delbanco Prize for poetry. His first collection, Aril Wire, was released in 2018 by Five Islands Press. A PhD candidate at Monash University and assistant poetry editor of Australian Book Review, he lives in Melbourne.


 Yeena Kirkbright

‘The grief tourist’

‘The Grief Tourist’ is my attempt to express the collective national guilt, grief and trauma felt following the 2019/20 bushfires. It is both a love and apology letter to our beautiful and desperate Country.

Yeena is a queer Wiradjuri writer who grew up in Central West New South Wales, she now lives and works on Wangal, Darug and Gadigal lands. Her work has been published in several literary journals.


Nandini Shah

‘Me, the (failed) revolutionary’

LI-sten to DJAB WurRUNG! As a protestor fears standing and chanting with her comrades, ‘Me, the (failed) revolutionary’ grapples with the fractures of gender, immigration, colonisation and class – while the police watch from the steps of parliament house.

Nandini is a writer and poet working on Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung country. She is interested in writing as political thinking, unwinding the dense political and philosophical networks entangled in daily life.

Melanie Saward


A story about frogs, plovers, lost marbles, and learning to listen to country.

Melanie Saward is a proud descendant of the Bigambul and Wakka Wakka peoples. She’s published in Flock, Overland, New Australian Fiction, and Kill Your Darlings and she’s been shortlisted for the David Unaipon Award (2018, 2020), the Boundless Indigenous Writer’s Mentorship (2021, 2020), and the Harlequin First Nations Fellowship (2020).


Claire Language

‘Freedom (memoirs of an urchin’

‘Freedom (memoirs of an urchin’ is a brief collection of some diary entries I had acquired over a very manic/depressive year.

I have decided I don’t want to do it in any way particular, whatever that is. Life is brilliant and strange and awful and I have tried many things and I still am unsure where I am going. I am 22, likes to eavesdrop on people’s conversations, not certain about anything.


 Adam Brannigan

‘Great grandmother Arrabrilya’

Lest we forget: Here we have a single-perspective historical narrative, with layered meaning – how could we ever forget?  

Great Grandmother Arrabrilya: I don’t often write in this style; an unusual example of my secret wish for whimsical pre-invasion idylls.

Adam Brannigan is a registered nurse, and unpublished author, currently living on the Sunshine Coast. He is undertaking a degree in Creative Writing and Publishing, part-time, and favours post-modern flash fiction and short story forms. Dystopia, surrealism and themes of cultural displacement inform his fables. 

Congratulations to our wonderful shortlisted authors! The shortlist and final winners will be announced on Overland soon. Remember to sign up to our newsletter to catch up on all announcements.

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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