Nillumbik Prize for Contemporary Writing

Nillumbik Prize Contemporary Writing graphic

The winning entries of the Nillumbik Prize for Contemporary Writing will be published in an anthology and announced at an event on Saturday 28 May at the Diamond Valley Library.

Join us for the event via livestream on Council’s YouTube Channel and Arts and Culture Facebook page. 

The Nillumbik Prize for Contemporary Writing (NPCW) is awarded every two years and builds on the Shire's strong tradition of supporting contemporary Australian writing. 

Entries are accepted in the following streams:

  • Fiction - with open, local and youth categories
  • A changing genre award - with open, local and youth categories. In 2022 that category is Poetry.

The competition awards the best work in each category

  • The Alan Marshall Short Story Award is awarded to the best short story in the ‘open’ section.
  • A Mayor's Award may also be awarded.

2022 shortlists announced

We are pleased to announce the shortlists for this year’s Nillumbik Prize for Contemporary Writing. The quality of writing we received across youth, local and open categories was extraordinary, and the involvement of all entrants, whether shortlisted or not, is greatly appreciated.

Shortlisted entries for the 2022 Nillumbik Prize for Contemporary Writing are:

Trigger Warning: A title in these lists may be disturbing or upsetting to some readers.

Alan Marshall Short Story Award: Local

"Hitachi Train" - Tyler Howie

"The Bin Chickens" - John Jenkins

"A Pass Across the Sky" - Andrew Drummond

"Too Late to Leave" - Penni Russon

"One Small Steph" - Michelle Wright

"Ghostlands" - Andrew Drummond

"Session" - Clemence Overall

"Dirty Laundry" - Jennifer Porter

"Goodbye Stranger" - Anastasia Warmuth

"Nothing More To See" - Michelle Wright

Alan Marshall Short Story Award: Open

"A Dog's Life" - Dominic Amerena

"The Intricacy of Magpies" - Saraid Taylor

"The Nightingale" - Meredith Tucker

"Orbit" - Jacob Dean

"Beach Haiku" - Kelly Simpson

"Panic Strap" - Clair Aman

"Legend of Billy the Kid" - Craig Cormick

"Judgement" - Kevin Brophy

"Balladona" - Claire Aman

"Concealed Defects" - Marisa Black

Alan Marshall Short Story Award: Youth

"The Kindergarten Train" - Eve Ballard

"The Laptop Saga" - Eleni Chapman

"The Last Mission" - Rose Simkin

"The Bet" - Hannah Pemberton

"An Underserving Star" - Casey Luo

"The Birthday Files" - Eleni Chapman

"I Knew You Were Coming" - Eve Ballard

"Atonement" - Harry Poole

"Willing of the Parraya" - Connor Meldrum

"Waltz Around the Billabong" - Leo Slater

Poetry: Local

"Empty Highway" - Ryan Griffith

"For I will consider my Mother" - Paul Whitby

"The Epic Runaway Virus Stress Test" - John O'Sullivan

"As Above, so Below" - Ava Marlow

"The Words We Dominate" - Ella Summers

"Coke" - Paul Whitby

"Within Me" - Leigh Simmonds

"Observing Intimate Strangers" - Arielle Roberts

"First Taste" - Karen Andrews

"Picking Weeds" - Karen Andrews

Poetry: Open

"The Year I Found Out My Takata Airbag Might Kill Me" - Jenni Mazaraki

"Improvisation" - Judith Bishop

"Fledgling Affair" - Susanne Kennedy

"The Howling" - Helen Hopcroft

"Empty Nest" - Indrani Perera

"What We're Not Going To Talk About" - Gayelene Carbis

"Too Late To Leave" - Marguerite Pulham

"Opening Our Time Capsules" - Alicia Sometimes

"Sugarskin" - Saraid Taylor

"Tongue" Surya Prabhu Matondkar

"Spot The Difference" - Yaron Fisher

Poetry: Youth

"This Body Is Not An Apology" - Is Hay

"After Rain" - Syzzwani Saifudin

"Boyfriends Don't Rape" - Olivia Campos

"Fourteen" - Edie Halliday-Morris

"Broken Things and Shattered Glass" - Lara Christ

"Calling Youth Support Services" - Syazwani Saifudin

"Dog Brodie" - Willem van Hasselt

"There is Nothing Like Her Kind" - Zoe Leary

"Colour" - Is Hay

"Scheele's Green" - Syazwani Saifudin

"Electric Like Eltham" - Esha Serai


Congratulations to all shortlisted writers.

The winning entries will be published in an anthology and announced at an event on Saturday 28 May. The NPCW is presented in association with Yarra Plenty Regional Library. 

2022 NPCW judges

Alan Marshall Short Story Prize judges

Tim Richards
Tim Richards is a Melbourne-based writer, script consultant and screenwriting teacher. He is the author of three story collections. His latest book is Approximate Life: The Prince and Other Stories (Ligature, 2022).

Bec Kavanagh
Bec Kavanagh is a Melbourne-based writer and academic. She has written fiction and non-fiction for a number of publications including WesterlyMeanjinReview of Australian Fiction and the Shuffle anthology.

Nillumbik Prize Contemporary Writing – Poetry judges

Cassandra Atherton
Cassandra Atherton is an international expert on the prose poetry form and an award winning prose poet. Cassandra has authored and edited over thirty critical and creative books and has been invited to edit twelve special editions of leading refereed journals.

Paul Hetherington
Paul Hetherington is a distinguished Australian poet and has published 16 full-length collections of poetry and prose poetry. He has won or been nominated for more than 30 national and international awards and competitions, recently winning the 2021 Bruce Dawe National Poetry Prize. Paul is Professor of Writing at the University of Canberra, head of the International Poetry Studies Institute (IPSI) and joint founding editor of the journal Axon: Creative Explorations.

2020 NPCW winners

Congratulations to the 2020 NPCW winners:

  • Alan Marshall Short Story Award (Best work of fiction - open category)
    Dominic Amerena - Show Don't Tell

  • Best work of fiction - local
    Catherine Padmore - Work Experience
  • Best work of fiction - youth
    Irene Lu - Hiraeth
  • Best work of creative non-fiction - open
    Anna Jacobson - Songs from the Vault
  • Best work of creative non-fiction - local
    Alessandra Prunotto -The Things We Leave Behind

The 2020 NPCW Anthology 2020 features all the winning pieces along with introductions from the category judges.

View the Nillumbik Prize for Contemporary Writing Anthology 2020(PDF, 1MB)

Previous anthologies