September 2019

2019 Carmel Bird Digital Literary Award Winners and 2020 Judge Announced

We are very pleased to announce the winner of the 2019 Carmel Bird Digital Literary Award – writer Tanya Vavilova for her short story collection, Grub.

Author and prize judge Moya Costello described Grub as ‘astonishingly outside of realism – vividly imagining a queer dystopian future of sex, sadness and sly humour’.

Vavilova’s collection includes a range of stories, from the eponymous Grub – charting one woman’s obsession with cleanliness – to the dystopian The-Handmaid’s-Tale-esque Whipped Cream

Two finalists were also announced: Megan McGrath for her short story collection All Hands and James Hughes for his short story collection Understanding Almost Nothing of the World.

Vavilova receives $3000 in prize money, and McGrath and Hughes both receive $1000 each.

Launched in 2017, the Carmel Bird Digital Literary Award is an annual competition that showcases new works of short fiction up to 30,000 words in length from Australian writers.

You can now purchase all three ebooks on our website.

The 2020 Carmel Bird Digital Literary Award will open on February 2nd, 2020.


joanne burns Microlit Award

The joanne burns Microlit Award was established in 2011 to showcase the best writing in the forms of micro prose and poetry, in honour of the Australian experimental poet. Finalists chosen by the judging panel are offered publication in Spineless Wonders’ annual anthology, as well as a range of our multiplatform collaborations including #storybombing and Microflix. Cash prizes of $300 will be awarded to the winner of the National and Hunter categories.

The 2019 theme is ‘Scars’. 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.

Your submission may be fiction or creative nonfiction, memoir or speculative. You may choose to write in any prose genre or mode (including prose poetry) – in fact, hybrid forms are encouraged. Your approach may be playful, witty, political, philosophical or all of the above.

Deadline: 30th September

Please see our website for terms and conditions: joanne burns microlit award.


Ashfield Sound Bites to give local authors an EDGE

We collaborated with the Inner West Council to inspire local writers at Ashfield EDGE festival.

Did you know that P.L Travers, author of Mary Poppins and Pulitzer-prize-winner Geraldine Brooks were once residents of Ashfield?

We recently held a competition that asked local writers to write up to 500 words on the theme of sound in Ashfield. The chosen winners can be viewed around Ashfield accompanied by commissioned illustrations. Pictured to the left is Sheryl Dixit next to her piece, 'Tale of Two Ashfields' illustrated by Loni Thomson.

Also at the festival was the inimitable Richard Holt and his amazing guitarpwriter – an electric guitar/typewriter hybrid that he uses to create unique performed fiction. 

Richard Holt is a visual artist and a writer of short stories and microfiction. He was cofounder of Melbourne zine store Sticky and produces microlit videos for outdoor screens under the banner ‘Flashing the Square’. His debut collection, What You Might Find, was published in 2018 by Spineless Wonders. He blogs about microfiction at

The Microlit Karaoke Machine also made its debut at the festival! This clever machine helps you give voice to microlit by Australian authors – this is one to unleash your inner performer. Keep an eye out for future opportunities to make use of it…

Microflix Festival announced

Green Square Library is proud to host the second annual Microflix Awards and Festival.

Whether you’re a film buff, a lover of literature or a budding filmmaker, come and experience this exciting showcase of contemporary Australian storytelling through film. Enjoy free film screenings, the awards ceremony and a mobile filmmaking workshop over 3 days.

Special screening event: 7.30–9pm, Thursday 24 October
Get a taste of the entries in this year’s competition with a special preview of selected films. Discover the stories the films are based on with some behind-the-scenes insights into how they were made. Reserve ticket

Microflix awards ceremony: 7.30–9pm, Friday 25 October
Join our esteemed judges, Fenella Kernebone, Stephanie King and Will Simon for the screening of finalist films, followed by the awards ceremony. Categories include Best adaptation, Best film made on a smartphone and Best direction. Reserve ticket

Mobile filmmaking workshop: 12pm–3.30pm, Saturday 26 October
Get hands-on experience in this free workshop for new and emerging filmmakers with Microflix Festival and short story publishing house, Spineless Wonders. Presented by Screenability filmmaker, Shawn Spina and with a focus on story-to-film adaptation, this workshop will allow you to explore smartphone filmmaking including how to adapt micro-stories for the screen. Reserve ticket

No prior knowledge of filmmaking is required to attend the workshop. While the workshop is suitable for ages 16 years and over, parental guidance is advised for the screening and awards night due to adult themes in the films screened.

All sessions are free, however bookings are recommended as places are limited.

Presented with City of Sydney Library.


Little Fictions on Air shortlisted at the Community Radio Awards 

Little Fictions on Air has brought performed short fiction to the airwaves each fortnight for a little over a year now. The program has now been listed as a finalist for Best Radio Program: Talks.

Congratulations to our presenter, Ella Watson-Russell, producer Bronwyn Mehan and to all the authors, actors and sound engineers who have worked on the show. And huge thanks to our wonderful radio host 2RPH!

The winners will be announced at the 2019 CBAA Community Radio Awards Gala Dinner, on Saturday, 26 October in Melbourne.

Slinkies submissions open soon

Do you battle with Millenial Fatigue? Symptoms include a generalised sense of impending doom about our planet whilst at the same time tuning it out entirely to focus on what really matters … why does this person’s Instagram feed horrify me to my very core, yet I keep going back to see what the hell they’ve done now? It’s okay, you might just be Under 30!

And congratulations, that qualifies you to use your undoubtedly futuristic creative energy to enter our writing competition.

We’re looking for writing that isn’t afraid of trying stuff out. The hypercolour t-shirt of creative non-fiction. The crimped hair and butterfly clips of collected micro-fiction. We want writing that is “happy, free, confused and lonely, in the best way”. That is still amused by prank phone calls. We want it all and we want it now.

What: prose in any form under 10,000 words

Who: Australian writers younger than 30. 

Submissions open November 10th.



To win a copy of 2019 Carmel Bird Digital Literary Award winner Grub by Tanya Vavilova, tell us in 25 words or less – what is your favourite book title and why?

Email your answer to

Last month's winning entry:

Tell us in 25 words or less about a historical event you would like to write about and why.

Fromelles – a past life experience needs explaining: I’m a soldier, wet, tired, trembling, entrenched.  The whistle to go over shrieks. What does this mean?

Ted Bassingthwaite

Ted has won a copy of My Name is Revenge by Ashley Kalagian Blunt. Congratulations!


‘Quote’ unquote

Do we have to take it?’ asked Dean.

‘It was bequeathed to us.’

‘I can’t play the piano. Neither can you.’

‘My grandmother wanted me to have it.’

It was not true that Vivien could not play. She had not played for many years. Certainly not since she married Dean.

The piano had ended up in the ‘study’, an empty little room at the back of the house looking onto the garden. She did not touch the piano for weeks. Then, one

morning, while the baby slept, she placed a hand on the keys, experiencing their coolness for the first time since girlhood. The keys dipped in the shape of fingers, her grandmother’s fingers. Vivien’s hand of itself formed an E minor chord – the blue chord, she remembered. Why hadn’t she struck out on sunny C major?

From Small Forest by William Lane


Dates for your diary

Catch Coffee Podcast and Little Fictions on Air (LFOA) every fortnight where all good podcasts are found. LFOA also airs live every Monday fortnight on 2RPH radio at 3pm.

September 17th – Author talk: My Name is Revenge with Ashley Kalagian Blunt, 6.30pm-7.30pm Sutherland Library, Sutherland. Book here.

September 20th – First Time Feels with the First Time Podcast 6pm
Gleebooks, Glebe.

Co-hosts of The First Time Podcast, Kate Mildenhall (Skylarking) and Katherine Collette (The Helpline) talk debut publication with authors John Purcell (The Girl on the Page), Cassie Hamer (After the Party) and Ashley Kalagian Blunt (My Name Is Revenge).

Come along to a live recording of this popular writing podcast, and stay for a wine and a catch up with other writing folk. Book here.

September 30th – joanne burns Microlit Award deadline.

October 19th – Microlit Chocolate Wheel at StoryFest.

October 24th – Microflix special screening event, 7:30-9pm Green Square Library. Reserve ticket.

October 25th – Microflix awards ceremony, 7:30-9pm Green Square Library. Reserve ticket.

October 26th – Mobile filmmaking workshop, 12pm-3:30pm Green Square Library. Reserve ticket.

October 30th – Little Fictions: Year of the Rat call out closes.

November 10th – Slinkies submissions open.


This month’s Sluglines was prepared by Hannah Oakshott.