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2023 Newcastle Short Story Award Shortlist

Hunter Writers’ Centre is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2023 Newcastle Short Story Award. After careful consideration, judges Angela Meyer and Winnie Dunn have chosen twenty-nine standout stories for publication in an accompanying anthology.

The judges commented on the diverse range of submissions, noting a mix of rural and urban settings, contemporary and historical pieces, and stories set in the future or alternate worlds. Themes explored include mistakes and regret, trauma and loss, as well as the search for belonging and community in various contexts. Some stories touched on the impacts of extreme weather and climate change, while others focused on childhood, major life shifts, ageing, and facing decline.

“We were delighted, moved, surprised, and entertained by the entries in the 2023 Newcastle Short Story Award. There were a high number of compelling stories with a strong voice and well-rounded characters, a promising setup and a fulfilling ending,” remarked Meyer and Dunn.

“The shortlisted stories show a range of perspectives, places, tones, and character journeys. They were set apart from the rest due to aspects of craft, subtlety, coherence, and the ways the authors pulled all their threads together in a satisfying way. We congratulate the shortlisted authors and look forward to reading more from them.”

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.

The winners will be announced on 30 January 2024. The Newcastle Short Story Award, an initiative of the Hunter Writers’ Centre, continues to champion exceptional storytelling in Australia.

2023 Newcastle Short Story Award Shortlist


Russell Anderson A Guest at the Wedding
Emma Bjorndahl Tadpole
Averil Bones Events at the Synapse
Meghalee Bose Sink
Adam Brannigan Lowanna’s Fever
Janet Brenkman Williams Dancing With Dora
Grace Buckley It Begins
Abigayle Carmody Red Fog
Courtney Collins Mary
Stephanie Meegan Davies Warm Bodies
Alison Davis Undercurrent
Philip Enchelmaier Claim
Phillip Everett Old Woman Crazy with the Snakes
Melissa Forge The Worst Thing
Patrick Forrest Kuya
Bronwyn Frost tu-kin-u-mil-li-ko
Stephanie Holm Revelation
Denise Kirby Out of the Blue
Jessie Lambert First Impressions
Susan McCreery The Marshmallow Game
Steven Moriarty Carwyn
Kate OConnor The Calling
Ellen Rodger Princess Coup
Simone Schwarz Real Estate Agent Solves Byron Bay Rental Housing Crisis
William Stanforth Conversations with God at the Fernwood RSL
Louana Sutcliffe Smoke and Berries
Natalie A Vella Papamosque
Meighan Williams An Outing for an Introvert
Ingrid Woodrow Mojo


About Hunter Writers' Centre

Hunter Writers’ Centre provides support and opportunities to writers and storytellers of the Hunter region and beyond.

In 2021, the Hunter Writers’ Centre established Lighthouse Arts, a multi-arts activation of Nobbys-Whibayganba headland cottages. The project involves writer and artist residencies, studio spaces, exhibition space, an arts trading store, and live events.