December 2019

It's officially the end of the decade. As we head into the roaring twenties, Spineless Wonders has some exciting projects planned. We have plenty of writing opportunities, from ebook publication to the chance to see your work turned into a short film. Little Fictions live is back, with our first show to ring in the new year at the trendy Knox St Bar next month.

To top it all off, we've decided to gift one of our lucky subscribers with a three ebook package of this year's Carmel Bird Digital Literary Award winners. 

Find out more in this one handy email!


2020 Carmel Bird Digital Literary Award open for submissions

We are thrilled to call for submissions to the 2020 Carmel Bird Digital Literary Award. Now in its third year, the award is for short story collections up to 30,000 words in length. The award includes cash prize amounts of $3000 for the winner  and $1000 for two runners-up as well as world-wide digital publication of all three winning entries as part of our Capsule Collections series.

 The judge for 2020 is the co-editor of The Lifted Brow, Justin Wolfers.

"As a writer and editor who has worked with books, short forms including magazines, as well as digitally-specific forms of writing, I’m particularly interested in reading entries that are conscious of their form as a ‘digital’ work; and writing that reflects upon, and pushes against, the established norms of what an Australian short fiction collection might be."

We recently announced the winner of the 2019 prize, Tanya Vavilova for her short story collection, Grub. Judge Moya Costello described Grub as "astonishingly outside of realism – vividly imagining a queer dystopian future of sex, sadness and sly humour".

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 purchase the previous winning and shortlisted ebooks on our website.

Enter today until February 2nd, 2020.


Microflix Awards Night 2019

 The 2019 Microflix Writing Award was won by Wagga Wagga author, Dorothy Simmons for ‘On The Hour’, a microfiction about the death of Ned Kelly told from his mother’s perspective. Originally published in Flashing the Square (Spineless Wonders, 2014), it was adapted into the 90-second animation ‘Die Like A Kelly’. Jurist Will Simon said Simmons’ piece was, ‘uniquely Australian and brilliant in its brevity and mythopoetic execution’.

The 2019 Microflix Festival was hosted by the City of Sydney at the Green Square Library with the night-time award ceremony event screened in the library’s amphitheatre. Spineless Wonders publisher Bronwyn Mehan says it was especially fitting for a literary-based film festival to take place in a library.

‘We were delighted to have the support of the City of Sydney and we hope to attract other grants and sponsorship for this cross-artform festival which recognises the central role of Australian authors and fosters excellence in the art of adaptation.’

Intern Bridgette Sulicich experienced the magic of the night firsthand and wrote about it in a blog, "being a part of a night that celebrated such an amazing array of talent was an experience I am not likely to forget in this lifetime." Read what she had to say on our Microflix blog

Microflix 2020

This year, Microflix invites authors to submit microlit texts on the theme of IMAGE for adaptation by filmmakers. The texts submitted will be reviewed by microlit specialist and Spineless Wonders’ editor Associate Professor Cassandra Atherton. Submissions will be accepted until 1 February, 2020 and those selected by Cassandra will be included in the 2020 IMAGE Texts section on our website.

Exploring the theme of IMAGE

We are looking for short prose writing of any genre which reflects on the theme of IMAGE. You may wish to reflect on image vs reality, on the use, misuse and changing role of image and images over time. Or you may think about the image (and imagery) in terms of the imagination. Whether you turn to doppelgangers, alter egos, clones, dead ringers, avatars, simulacra or chips of the old blocks… be sure to take a fresh approach. We are looking for writing that will zing off the page and onto the screen.


Slinkies deadline extended

In the Chrissy spirit of giving, we have decided to extend the deadline for our Slinkies competition. That means you now have plenty of time to polish off your drafts or make that NaNoWriMo manuscript that didn't quite hit 50k words into something incredible. We can't wait to cast our eyes over your creative endeavours!

Get published! Get paid! Make sure your ID says you’re under 30 years old. So simple! Submit and be in the running to feel that unadulterated rush of doing something that other people will read and say ‘Yes! We like that! Let us pay you!’

What: prose in any form under 10,000 words

Who: Australian writers younger than 30. 

Submissions close Feb 1st.


Little Fictions: Year of the Rat

To mark the 2020 Lunar New Year, Little Fictions presents an evening of rat-inspired stories.

With everything from interspecies love to revenge to an epic battle over a sandwich, these short Australian stories offer something for everyone. There are rats as a tourist attraction, divine rats, plague-infected rats, genealogy-obsessed rats, human rats and much more.

There are stories that will make your skin crawl, stories that will have you laughing out loud and stories that will have you re-evaluating your views of rats.

Featuring stories from award-winning Sydney author Eileen Chong, as well as Malaysian-born writers Ru Bee Chung and Seetha Nambiar Dodd. Plus stories by regular Little Fiction contributors.

Join MC JENNIFER WONG, Sydney based writer, comedian and the creator and host of shows such as Comedy vs Racism, Pitch a Classic Today, and Book Club Impro, for a great night of storytelling. Performers include Sam Wang, Aileen Huynh and Lap Nguyen.

Set in The Drum Room of the groovy Knox Street Bar, where you and your friends can enjoy fabulous cocktails, a wide selection of wine, beers and cider as well as delicious snacks and meals from the kitchen while you sit back and enjoy an earful of great rat tales.

When? Tuesday, January 28th



To win a THREE ebook package of 2019 Carmel Bird Digital Literary Award winner Grub by Tanya Vavilova, as well as Understanding Almost Nothing of the World by James Hughes and All Hands by Megan McGrath, tell us in 25 words or less about your favourite holiday gift.

Email your answer to

Last month's winning entry:

Tell us in 25 words or less about your favourite book title and why.

Too Much Lip (by Melissa Lucashenko). 

Three little words … torment … control … silence.

Just don’t speak and everything will be fine.

Three menacing words repeated to women and children under threat at home. 

I’ve heard it too often.  I’ve seen it too often.  We’ve copped it too often.

Three words of family violence - shut up, or I'll shut you up.

Says it all.

Kristine Philipp has won a copy of Grub by Tanya Vavilova. Congratulations!


‘Quote’ unquote

The radio is crackling and everything smells of tobacco. Nobody's listening. Hazel has it on so they don't miss the Queen's 3pm Christmas message. Everybody's knackered from the midnight mass and nobody can be stuffed cleaning up. The aftermath of Ed's pig trotter feast is now a gelatinous mass on the sink. Flies chinwag in the corners of the trays and stick there. It's a rotten mess for another day. 

Skedaddling around the Christmas tree are Ed and Hazel's daughters. They're shrieking like cockatoos, trying to trip each other over. It's mayhem among the cellophane. Ed and Hazel are just lolling on the settee, watching. Ed's smoking. The baby gum he cut down a month ago is gradually turning a crunchy brown and the baubles are looking brighter and brighter against it. He stubs his fag out at the base of the tree.

From The Waterfowl Are Drunk by Kate Liston-Mills


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.

Jan 28 - Little Fictions: Year of the Rat

Feb 1 - Slinkies + Microflix Writing Award deadline

Feb 2 - Carmel Bird Digital Literary Award 2020 deadline


This month’s Sluglines was prepared by Hannah Oakshott.