Should I include my name on my submission and on my cover letter?

No. The 2020 award entries will be ‘blind judged’. That is, there should be no identifying information about the author on the submitted manuscript (including in the Header or Footer fields and you will not be required to submit a cover letter.

Will the winning entries be published in print as well as ebook format?

The three finalists will be published in digital form as part of the prize for the award. Any print publication will be subject to further discussion with the publisher.

Can I include illustrations in my submission?

Yes, audio and video mp4, and URLs can all be included in the submission.

Will you accept a collection of microfiction?

Yes. And while the word count for microfiction submissions may be much less than the maximum allowed, the submission should still be substantial, that is, close to a minimum of 15-20,000 words.

What if I plan to enter my work in another award being judged at the same time as The Carmel Bird Digital Literary Award?

It is acceptable to submit a collection of work which includes some content which has been previously published or has previously attracted awards (see #9 in Submission Guidelines below). But  if the work you submit wins any other prize, is accepted for publication, or is self-published AFTER submission, then you should notify Spineless Wonders at info[at]shortaustralianstories[dot]com[dot]au immediately. In any of these circumstances, your submission will be deemed ineligible for the award and will be withdrawn from the judging process.

Will the winning submissions be able to be purchased by libraries and borrowed out as ebooks?

Yes. It is part of the publishing agreement with Spineless Wonders that ebooks will be available at online bookstores and online distributors, including libraries and other suppliers.

Are all genre types accepted?

Yes. Submissions may be written in any fiction genre and all prose forms are acceptable, including non-fiction prose.  You could, for example, include short stories and reflective essays. For examples, see My Hearts Are Your Hearts by Carmel Bird, My Life & Other Fictions by Michael Giacometti and the anthology, Cracking The Spine: Ten short Australian stories and how they were written, ed by Julie Chevalier and Bronwyn Mehan. You may also submit hybrid collections which include both fiction and non-fiction. For example, My Name Is Revenge A novella and reflective essay which was a runner-up in the 2018 award, or I Put A Spell On You by Sam-George Allen one of the Slinkies Under 30s collections.  The award is not open to submissions comprised only of poetry.

Does a submission that includes various media have an advantage over a written text?

‘The writing and the writing style – the excitement of the writing – is what matters.’ CARMEL BIRD, 2018 award judge.

What if I include some published stories in my submission?

It is perfectly fine for you to submit previously published work. ‘It would be really nice, however, if some of the submission, some of the stories, are not yet published. It’s thrilling for the publisher to have the opportunity to be the first to publish the work.’ CARMEL BIRD, 2018 award judge

Do you have to describe in your cover letter, what has been previously published?

No, you are not required to submit a cover letter. We will only ask for information about what text has been published (or won awards) and where, once your submission has been selected by the judge.

What ‘rating’ should the text have? What audience are we aiming for?

In the terms and conditions it states you must be over 18 years of age; Spineless Wonders is not a children’s publisher but a publisher for adult readers. As a guide, you can check out what Spineless Wonders has already published.

In terms of layout, are there specific requirements?

The ebook layout will be arranged by the publisher. You do not need to set out a Table of Contents for the collection, a simple list of story titles will suffice.

Can you submit more than one entry?


How long will the long list be?

It will come down to the quality of the submissions.

Will any of the submissions, especially those on the longlist, receive any feedback?

No, there will be no feedback provided from the judge.

*These questions were submitted online and in person for the Information Session with award judge, Carmel Bird and publisher, Bronwyn Mehan at the State Library of Victoria on Thursday, March 1, 2018. If you have further questions, please email info[at]shortaustralianstories[dot]com[dot]au


  1. To enter you must reside in Australia or be an Australian living overseas
  2. You must be over 18
  3. Submissions are sought for collections of short prose up to 30,000 words. The writing may take the form of fiction or creative non-fiction. The collection may be comprised of short stories, micro-fiction or novella. Submissions may also include reflective essays on the stories in the collection.
  4. All entries to be made via Submission Manager.
  5. Entry fee is $25. Concession holders and full-time students may enter for $20 via a Concession entry form.
  6. Submissions must consist of maximum 30,000 word manuscript.
  7. Entries may consist of audio-visual content, hyperlinks as well as text.
  8. Entries close midnight AEST, February 2, 2020.
  9. Entries may consist in part, but not in total, of work previously published in print or online provided this work is not subject to any existing copyright or licence or any other third party rights; entries may be comprised, in part but not in total, of work which has previously won or been a finalist in other competitions or awards; all work submitted must be your original work. Entries may be co-authored.
  10. The winner will be awarded $3000 and two runners-up will be awarded $1000 each. All three finalists will be offered a digital publication agreement by Spineless Wonders. This includes editorial, art and design, distribution and promotion and ongoing royalties from sales.
  11. The winner and runners-up will be announced in October, 2020.
  12. Entrants selected by the award judge will be contacted prior to the announcement.
  13. By submitting to the Award you are agreeing to the above entry conditions.

For inquiries, email info [at]

General submissions, click here. Concession submissions, click here.