Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize ($5000)

Deadline extended: now closing Monday 2 December.

Judges: Hannah Kent, Joshua Mostafa and Margo Lanagan.


About the prize

Supported by the Malcolm Robertson Foundation, and named after the late Neilma Gantner, this prize seeks excellent short fiction of up to 3000 words themed around the notion of ‘travel’; imaginative, creative and literary interpretations are strongly encouraged. This competition is open to all writers, nationally and internationally, at any stage of their writing career.

The winning story will receive a $4000 first prize and be published in Overland’s first print issue for 2020. Two runners-up will each receive $500 and be published at Overland online to coincide with the release of the print magazine.


Entry fee: $12 for subscribers and $20 for non-subscribers.

**Another option is to take out one of our special prize subscriptions: for $56, you get discounted entry to the competition and a one-year discounted subscription to Overland (includes four print issues and the daily online magazine, invitations to subscriber events, and other opportunities and giveaways).

You may also be interested to read previous judges’ reports and winning stories.


Hannah Kent’s first novel, Burial Rites (2013), was translated into 30 languages and was shortlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize) and the Guardian First Book Award. Her recent novel, The Good People, was shortlisted for the Walter Scott Award for Historical Fiction, among many other prizes. She is a co-founder of literary magazine, Kill Your Darlings.

Joshua Mostafa is the editor of poetry journal New Trad and co-founder of independent music label Inna Riddim Records. His stories, essays, reviews and poems have appeared in various publications, including AmbitOblongFlash, LitroIslandSketch, OverlandAbraxas and the Los Angeles Review of Books. His novella, Offshore, won the 2019 Viva la Novella competition and is now out through Seizure.

Margo Lanagan has worked as a kitchen hand and encyclopaedia seller, and spent ten years as a freelance book editor. She is now a technical writer as well as a creative one. Her award-winning novels and collections include Tender Morsels and Black Juice, and The Zeroes series (co-written with Scott Westerfeld and Deborah Biancotti).



First place: $4000. Two runner-up prizes of $500 each.
The winning story will be published in Overland 238, autumn 2020.
  1. This is a prize for original pieces of short fiction written in English, up to 3000 words in length.
  2. Stories must be unpublished (including online) and not under consideration by other publishers.
  3. Stories that have won or are under consideration in other competitions are not eligible.
  4. The prize is open to all writers (located in Australia or elsewhere).
  5. Submissions will be processed electronically. Stories should be formatted at 1.5 line spacing and a minimum of 12 point font size (unless formally experimental).
  6. The competition will be judged anonymously. The author’s name must not appear on the manuscript or else the story will be disqualified.
  7. Each entry must be accompanied by a fee of $20 or $12 for Overland subscribers. It is possible to become a subscriber and simultaneously enter the competition at a special price of $56.
  8. Multiple entries are acceptable, although each must be entered into the submission system separately and accompanied by the relevant fee.
  9. The winning entries will be published in Overland. Other entries may be considered for publication.
  10. The competition has been extended and is now closing 11.59 pm Monday 2 December 2019.
  11. The judges’ decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into.
  12. Overland staff and board members are prohibited from entering. All previous, current and ongoing contributors are eligible to enter.
  13. Winners will be announced in February 2020. Subscribe to the Overland email bulletin to receive announcements as to the results.

Enter the Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize as a:

new subscriber – $56

(Includes $12 entry fee and $44 subscription)
Writers can subscribe to Overland for one year (four issues) at a discounted rate, and enter the competition at the special subscriber rate. Take out a new subscription and enter the Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize.


current subscriber – $12

Current Overland subscribers enter the competition at the special subscriber rate of $12. Current subscribers enter the competition here.


non-subscriber – $20

Entry to the competition for non-subscribers is $20. Non-subscribers enter the competition here.



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