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Hunter Writers’ Centre is pleased to announce Western Sydney writer, Patrick Cruz Forrest, has taken first place in the 2023 Newcastle Short Story Award for his short story, ‘Kuya.’

The winners of the 2023 Newcastle Short Story Award are:

First Prize
Patrick Cruz Forrest, ‘Kuya’

Second Prize:
Natalie A Vella, ‘Papamosque”

Third Prize:
Emma Bjorndahl, ‘Tadpole’

Highly Commended (sponsored by FogHorn Brewery):  
Adam Brannigan, ‘Lowanna’s Fever’
Jessie Lambert, ‘First Impressions’

Local Awards: 
Grace Buckley, ‘It Begins’ (sponsored by Macquariedale Organic Wines)
Kate O’Connor, ‘The Calling’ (Sponsored by Tulloch Wines)
Ingrid Woodrow, ‘Mojo’ (sponsored by Pepper Tree Wines)

Judges Angela Meyer and Winnie Dunn said, ‘‘Kuya’ is an exceptional piece of literary fiction. It follows the story of a young, queer Filipino-Australian boy from Western Sydney who is forced to recognise the intricacies of not only his sexuality and culture, but the complex inner-worlds of his disabled brother and neurotic mother. It is skilfully navigated with tight structure, clear plot, original sentences, and memorable characters. ‘Kuya’ reveals to readers an integral and intersectional part of Australia—all with an expert touch of humour.’

Patrick Cruz Forrest says about his award-winning piece, ‘‘Kuya’ is about the growing pains of being a baby-gay-Filipino in Western Sydney. I am super thankful to the judges for seeing the beauty in this story and honouring it with this prize.’

We extend a huge thank you to our 2023 Judges, Angela Meyer and Winnie Dunn. We are grateful to the brilliant Winnie Dunn for her stellar editing.

Hunter Writers’ Centre acknowledges the generous support of our major sponsor, University of Newcastle for their ongoing commitment to the literary arts and for cultivating an outstanding creativity community in the Hunter region and beyond. We thank our local partners FogHorn Brewery, Macquariedale Organic Wines, and Tulloch Wines for championing Australian writers.

And lastly, thank you to the writers. We salute you.

Read more about Patrick Cruz Forrest here:

2023 Newcastle Short Story Award Anthology

The 2023 Newcastle Short Story Award anthology, skilfully edited by Winnie Dunn, 2023 Judge and General Manager of Sweatshop Literacy Movement, features the the complete shortlisted stories from the 2023 competition. This collection represents the finest examples of Australian short stories.

The 2023 anthology is available for preorder from the Hunter Writers’ Centre website, and is set to be released in late February

Contributing (Shortlisted) WritersRussell Anderson, Emma Bjorndahl, Averil Bones, Meghalee Bose, Adam Brannigan, Janet Brenkman Williams, Grace Buckley, Abigayle Carmody, Courtney Collins, Stephanie Meegan Davies, Alison Davis, Philip Enchelmaier, Phillip Everett, Melissa Forge, Patrick Cruz Forrest, Bronwyn Frost, Stephanie Holm, Denise Kirby, Jessie Lambert, Susan McCreery, Steven Moriarty, Kate O’Connor, Ellen Rodger, Simone Schwarz, William Stanforth, Louana Sutcliffe, Natalie A. Vella, Meighan Williams, Ingrid Woodrow.

Cover image by Sarah Gentle.

About the Newcastle Short Story Award

Established in 2012, the Newcastle Short Story Award has become one of Australia’s most respected short story competitions, attracting high-calibre writers and esteemed judges each year.

Generously sponsored by the University of Newcastle, the award offers a first prize of $3,000, publication in the anthology, and various Local Awards exclusive to Hunter region authors. The prize pool includes $1,000 for second place, $500 for third, and $200 for a highly commended entry, sponsored by local award-winning brewery, FogHorn Brewery. In addition to the cash prizes, Hunter writers selected for the anthology have a chance to win Local Awards with generous gift vouchers from Macquariedale Organic Wines, Pepper Tree Wines, and Tulloch Wines.



Submissions open Monday 4th September, and close on Friday 20 October 2023 at 11:59pm


 First Prize: $3,000

– Second Prize: $1,000

– Third Prize: $500

– Highly Commended: $200

In addition to the cash prizes listed above, if you are selected for inclusion in the Newcastle Short Story Award anthology AND you are a Hunter Region LGA resident you are eligible to win one of the following Local Awards: 

  • Macquariedale Organic Wines: $250 gift voucher
  • Pepper Tree Wines: 6-pack of Varietal Pepper Tree Wines, plus a voucher for a ‘Bespoke Tasting @ Pepper Tree’ for four people. Total value $260
  • Tulloch Wines: VIP Tasting Voucher to value of $100


If you’re an Australian resident or citizen aged 18 years and above, you’re eligible to entero minimum line limit.


Works of fiction up to 2,000 words. This includes titles and sub-titles.


The Newcastle Short Story Award is open for entries from Monday 4 September 2023 and close on Friday 20 October 2023 at 11:59pm.

  1. IMPORTANT: Read carefully the Terms and Conditions of Entry, and the Frequently Asked Questions.
  2. Fill out the submission form below, and upload your entries. We only accept Word document (.doc, docx). There is no limit on the number of entries, however a separate entry form is required for each entry.
  3. Please ensure the uploaded filename is the name of your entered story.
  4. Pay entry fees. Entry fees are $16.50 per entry ($15.00 + $1.50 GST).
  5. You will receive a confirmation email with an overview of your entry form. If you have not received this, please check your spam folder as it may be hiding there. If you have still not received it, contact the Hunter Writers Centre


Not mandatory, but it would be fantastic if you could:

  1. Like the Hunter Writers Centre’ on Facebook and/or Instagram
  2. Please share the competition through your social pages and networks. We appreciate it!

If you have any further questions, please contact us on info(@)


  • Submissions open Monday 4 September 2023

  • Submissions close: 11:59pm, Friday 20 October 2023

  • Shortlist announced: Early December

  • Winners announced and 2023 Newcastle Short Story Award Anthology released: 30 January 2024


2023 Newcastle Short Story Award Judge Angela Meyer

Angela Meyer

Angela Meyer is a writer, editor and teacher. Her debut novel, A Superior Spectre, was shortlisted for an Aurealis Award, the MUD Literary Prize, an Australian Book Industry Award, the Readings Prize for New Australian Writing and a Saltire Literary Society Award (Scotland). She is also the author of a novella, Joan Smokes, which won the inaugural Mslexia Novella Award (UK), and a book of flash fiction, Captives. Her second novel, Moon Sugar, was released in October 2022. Her work has been widely published in magazines, journals and newspapers, including Island, The Big Issue, Best Australian Stories and Kill Your Darlings. She has worked in bookstores, as a book reviewer, in a whisky bar, as an editor and publisher, and is now a lecturer in the Master of Writing and Publishing at RMIT.

Twitter @ LiteraryMinded
Instagram @ literaryminded
Facebook @ LiteraryMindedblog

Winnie Dunn by Tyler Aves Square

Winnie Dunn

Winnie Dunn is the General Manager of Sweatshop Literacy Movement and the editor of several critically acclaimed anthologies, including Another Australia (Affirm Press, 2022). She is a writer of Tongan descent from Mount Druitt and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Western Sydney University. Her work has been published in The Guardian, HuffPost Australia, Griffith Review, Meanjin and SBS Voices. In 2022, she was a finalist for Western Sydney University’s Breakthrough Alumni Award. Winnie is currently completing her debut novel, Dirt Poor Islanders (Hachette, 2024), which has been assisted by the Australia Council for the Arts.