2019 NWF/joanne burns Microlit Award

The Newcastle Writers Festival and publisher Spineless Wonders are excited to announce the launch of the 2019 joanne burns Microlit Award. Melbourne writer and academic Cassandra Atherton will judge the competition entries, which are invited from writers across Australia as well as from Australians living overseas. The theme of this year’s competition is SCARS and the maximum length of entries is 200 words. The competition deadline is 30 September,

This award for microfiction and prose poems honours the work of experimental Australian poet joanne burns, who was the recipient of the prestigious NSW Premier’s Kenneth Slessor Award for Poetry.

What we are looking for:

We acquire scars sometimes by accident and sometimes by design. Scars may be evidence of past and ongoing hurt. They can stand witness to our rites of passage or transformation. They may mar or they may make our appearance. They may be invisible. We are looking for microlit on the theme of SCARS. Submissions may be fiction or creative nonfiction, memoir or speculative. The approach may be playful, witty, political, philosophical or all of the above.

Microlit includes any form of short writing such as flash fiction, prose poem, dramatic monologue, etc. Hybrid forms are encouraged. Please note that we do not accept poems with line breaks for this competition.

While the maximum length is 200 words, we particularly encourage entries under 100 words in length for installations that suit shorter texts.

Entrants may include up to three entries per submission.

Award categories:

There are both national and Hunter Region categories in the NWF/joanne burns Microlit Award. The national category is open to any person residing in Australia and to Australian citizens living anywhere. An entry fee of $15 applies to this category. The Hunter Region category is open to Hunter residents and is free to enter. Both categories will be judged by Cassandra Atherton.

Award prizes:

Cash prizes of $300 will be awarded to the winner of the National and Hunter categories.

Finalists in the award will be offered publication, alongside invited contributors, in the Spineless Wonders’ anthology, Scars ,which will be launched at the 2020 Newcastle Writers Festival.

All texts included in the anthology Scars will be considered for inclusion in a range of Spineless Wonders’ multiplatform collaborations including #storybombing activities such as StoryPhones, StoryPosters, StoryPostcards and Pavement Pages as part of the Newcastle Writers Festival.

For more details and competition guidelines, go to the Spineless Wonders’ website,

Length: 200 words max
First prize in each category: $300
Entry fee: $15 per entry for national category. Free for Hunter Region category.
Closing date: 30 September, 2019

Media inquiries:

Bronwyn Mehan
[email protected]

Filed under:

Stay in the loop:

The latest literary news, events, opportunities, workshops, competitions and more, delivered weekly to your inbox.

Major Supporters