We are delighted to open the 2025 NWF/joanne burns Microlit Award.

Theme: Ricochet

Maximum length: 200 words

Prizes: $300 for winners of both the National and Hunter categories

Due: 30 June 2024

Enter via Submittable: National or Hunter

About the award

Something that rebounds in a ricochet has an unexpected trajectory.

In works of microliterature—whether prose poetry or microfiction—sentences, phrases, images, and meanings may also ricochet, highlighting how literary language often moves slantwise.

For this year’s NWF/joanne burns Microlit Award, we invite submissions which respond to the theme of ricochet. Award judges, Cassandra Atherton and Paul Hetherington will look for ricochets or instances of sudden redirection which function to skew the reader’s sense of a work and take them toward unexpected places. They will look for writing which challenges the idea of linear connection. Writing which involves deflected ideas, redirected themes, or the skewing effects of simile and metaphor.

We particularly invite ekphrastic submissions which ‘bounce off’ artistic works. The choice of artwork can take any form—from paintings, sculptures, photos, posters, comics, graffiti to digital images of all kinds. Even some presentations of food, architecture, music and dance performances might be art that inspires your piece. Please include the reference to the relevant artwork(s) in your submission.

Finalists selected from this award, along with invited contributors, will be published by Spineless Wonders in Ricochet, a Microlit anthology which will be launched at the 2025 Newcastle Writers Festival.

Send us your best microlit, providing it includes a rebound.

On MicroLit by joanne burns says: poetry, fiction, essay, contemplation, perhaps flirtation – condensed, sudden, gnomic, implosive – a kind of petit pointillism – where enough may be more than enough ….

About the judges

CASSANDRA ATHERTON is a widely anthologised and award-winning Australian prose poet. She is the successful recipient of many national and international grants including Australia Council, Copyright Agency and VicArts grants and is currently working on a book of prose poetry on the atomic bomb with funding from the Australia Council. Her books of prose poetry include Exhumed, (2016) Trace, (2016) Pre-Raphaelite (2018), Leftovers (2020) and the co-authored Fugitive Letters (2020). She is a commissioning editor of Westerly magazine, series editor for Spineless Wonders Microlit anthologies and associate editor at MadHat Press (USA). She co-authored Prose Poetry: An Introduction (Princeton University Press, 2020) and co-edited the Anthology of Australian Prose Poetry (Melbourne University Press, 2020). With Paul Hetherington, she is co-writing a book, Ekphrastic Poetry: An Introduction for Princeton UP. Cassandra is a Professor of Writing and Literature and currently acting Head of the School of Communication and Creative Arts at Deakin University, Melbourne Australia.

PAUL HETHERINGTON is Emeritus Professor of Writing at the University of Canberra. He has written or edited 44 creative and critical books and numerous academic chapters and articles. He is co-founding editor of the international online journal Axon: Creative Explorations. He founded International Poetry Studies at his university in 2013, and also founded the international Prose Poetry Project in 2014. He has published 17 full-length collections of poetry, including Ragged Disclosures and Her One Hundred and Seven Words, as well as the collaboratively written Fugitive Letters. His poetry has appeared in more than 70 anthologies and has won or been nominated for more than 40 national and international awards and competitions. With Professor Cassandra Atherton, he co-authored the monograph, Prose Poetry: An Introduction (Princeton UP, 2020) and co-edited the Anthology of Australian Prose Poetry (Melbourne UP, 2020). Paul and Cassandra are co-writing a study of ekphrastic poetry for Princeton University Press.

Entry conditions:

  1. Submissions will only be accepted via a Submittable link.
  2. Entry fee is $15.00 for National category. (Please note: only one submission per entry. There is no limit to the number of entries per person.) Submit here. Entry for the Hunter category is free. Limit of three submissions per entry. Submit here.
  3. Entrants must be over 18 years of age and must be either an Australian citizen (living anywhere) or a person residing in Australia.
  4. Entries will be judged anonymously. The author’s name must not appear on the manuscript.
  5. The judges’ decisions will be final. No correspondence will be entered in to.
  6. Entries are to be no more than 200 words (title not included).
  7. Submissions under consideration by another competition or publication or work that has been previously published or awarded will not be accepted.
  8. The winning entries and finalists will be offered publication in the annual anthology of microlit due for release in early 2025 and entitled Ricochet. No author fees will be offered for inclusion in this publication apart from a complimentary copy of the anthology.
  9. By entering this competition, writers grant Spineless Wonders and the Newcastle Writers Festival limited, fee-free, licence to publish their work and/or produce and broadcast it as audio or video. Intellectual Property shall remain with individual author on the understanding that the work not be published elsewhere until after December, 2025.
  10. The closing date is 30 June, 2024. Entries will be accepted up until midnight AEST. Late entries will not be accepted.
  11. Submitters will be notified about their submission by December 2024 and edits and page proofs will be sent in January, 2025. To ensure that you receive all important emails from us, please include our email address <info@shortaustralianstories.com.au >in your email Address Book. If you change your email after entering, please let us know.

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