2021 prize is now open
Judges: Julie Koh, Alice Robinson and Mykaela Saunders
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’s Autumn 2022 issue. Two runners-up will each receive $750 and be published at Overland online in 2022.
Competition closes 11.59 pm, Monday 20 December 2021. 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 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).
Julie Koh is the author of Capital Misfits and Portable Curiosities. The latter was shortlisted for several awards and led to Julie being named a 2017 Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelist. Her short stories have been published widely, including in the Best Australian Stories and Best Australian Comedy Writing. She has written radio plays for ABC Radio National and the libretto for the opera Chop Chef. She was a judge for the 2018 Stella Prize.
Alice Robinson is the author of two novels, both published by Affirm Press. Her debut novel, Anchor Point (2015), was longlisted for the Stella Prize and the Indie Book Awards. The Glad Shout (2019) was shortlisted for an Aurealis Award and The Colin Roderick Literary Award and won the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction. Alice earned a Bachelor of Creative Arts at The University of Melbourne in 2004 and a PhD in Creative Writing at Victoria University in 2012, where she was awarded the Vice Chancellor’s Peak Award for Research and Research Training. Alice’s stories, essays and reviews have been published widely in literary journals, including in Meanjin, Overland, The Lifted Brow, Kill Your Darlings, The Big Issue Fiction Edition, Fireflies, Arena, The Australian Humanities Review and Australian Book Review.
Mykaela Saunders is a Koori and Lebanese writer, teacher, community researcher, and the editor of THIS ALL COME BACK NOW, the world’s first anthology of blackfella speculative fiction, forthcoming with UQP in 2022. Mykaela has won the Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize, the National Indigenous Story Award, the Oodgeroo Noonuccal Indigenous Poetry Prize, the Grace Marion Wilson Emerging Writers Prize and the University of Sydney’s Sister Alison Bush Graduate Medal. Of Dharug descent, and working-class and queer, Mykaela belongs to the Tweed Goori community.
- This is a prize for original pieces of short fiction written in English, up to 3000 words in length.
- Stories must be unpublished (including online) and not under consideration by other publishers, including Overland.
- Stories that have won or are under consideration in other competitions are not eligible.
- The prize is open to all writers (located in Australia or elsewhere).
- 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).
- The competition will be judged anonymously. The author’s name must not appear on the manuscript or else the story will be disqualified.
- Multiple entries are acceptable, although each must be entered into the submission system separately and accompanied by the relevant fee.
- The winning entries will be published in Overland. Other entries may be considered for publication.
- The closing date is 11.59 pm, Monday 20 December 2021. Late entries will not be accepted.
- 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 – $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.