2023 Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize ($6500)

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 $5000 first prize and be published in Overland. Two runners-up will each receive $750 and be published at Overland online.


The prize has been extended and will now close 11.59 pm, Friday 10 November 2023. Please read the entry guidelines below to confirm eligibility.


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


Another option is to take out one of our special prize subscription: for $62, you get discounted entry and a discounted subscription to Overland, which includes four print issues, access to the daily online magazine, and invitations to subscriber events, opportunities and giveaways.

You may also be interested to read last year’s winning story.


This year’s judges are Patrick Lenton, Sara Saleh and Alice Bishop.



  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 Stories must be unpublished (including online) and not under consideration by other publishers, including Overland.
  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. Multiple entries are acceptable, although each must be entered into the submission system separately and accompanied by the relevant fee.
  8. The winning entries will be published in Overland. Other entries may be considered for publication.
  9. The judges’ decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into.


A final note on submission guidelines:

In 2020 the Overland editorial team decided to include an additional question for entrants upon submission of their work to all major prizes.  While we uphold the integrity of the blind judging process, it often places limitations on judges to properly assess the nature of a submission. Entries which speak directly to the experiences of marginalised or vulnerable communities are often difficult to assess with no knowledge as to whether the author has the relevant experience or cultural authority. It can be an agonising process for a judge to decide whether a piece is appropriate for publication when experience or identities are assumed or guessed. We want to encourage imaginative and provocative submissions without creating an additional burden for our judges, or potentially restricting the selection of sensitive pieces. You can read more about the policy here.

Entrants will have the option to answer the following voluntary question:

If your entry takes up the voice or experience of a marginalised or vulnerable identity, do you identify yourself as being a part of that community or experience? For instance, if your piece is written in the voice of an Aboriginal person, are you Aboriginal? etc. 

Your response to this question is not mandatory, and your response will only be visible to internal editors, unless our judges request to know your response after the consideration of a piece.

Enter the Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize as a:

new subscriber – $62

(Includes $12 entry fee and $50 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 Short Story Prize is supported by the Malcolm Robertson Foundation