Neilma Sidney Short Story Prize

Open now

Judges: Jennifer Mills, Nic Low and Ryan O’Neill

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 2018. Two runners-up will each receive $500 and be published at Overland online to coincide with the release of the print magazine.


Competition closes 11.59 pm, 26 November 2017. Please read the entry guidelines below before submitting, and enter via one of the links at the bottom of the page.

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

The judges

Jennifer Mills is the fiction editor at Overland and the author of two novels, Gone and The Diamond Anchor, and the short story collection The Rest is Weight. Her next novel, Dyschronia, is out with Picador in February.

Nic Low is a writer, installation artist and arts organiser of Ngai Tahu Maori and European descent. He divides his time between a hyper-social Melbourne sharehouse, and an anti-social bush retreat. His first book was Arms Race, a collection of fierce, playful short stories. His second, a literary walking expedition through New Zealand’s Southern Alps, will be out soon.

Ryan O’Neill is the author of The Weight of a Human Heart and the Miles Franklin-shortlisted Their Brilliant Careers. He was born in Glasgow, and has lived in Africa, Europe and Asia before settling in Newcastle, Australia, with his wife and two daughters. His fiction has appeared in many places. He teaches at the University of Newcastle.

Entry conditions

First place: $4000
Two runner-up prizes of $500 each

The winning story will be published in Overland 230, autumn 2018.

  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 Stories must be unpublished (including online) and not under consideration by other publishers.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 writers nationally and internationally, at any stage of their career.
  5. Submissions will be processed electronically.
  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. 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.
  9. The winning story will be published in Overland; runners-up will be published at overland.org.au. Other entries may be considered for publication.
  10. The closing date is 11.59pm, 26 November 2017. Late entries will not be accepted.
  11. The judges’ decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into.
  12. Overland staff and board members, and their families, are prohibited from entering. All previous, current and ongoing contributors are eligible to enter.
  13. Winners will be announced in February 2018. 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