shady CosgroveFrom judge, Shady Cosgrove:

Maybe great writing happens when readers understand themselves in the global. All of the winning entries were about Australia’s place in the world or the world’s place in Australia. It’s hard to pull off characters that are both personal and universal – but that was the core strength of these three pieces. We’re taken beyond ourselves, and in that process, recognise ourselves.

Winner ($300): ‘10.42 to Sydenham’ by Mark Smith

This is a short-short story about a girl being bullied on the train from the perspective of an African migrant. It’d be easy to overdo this, to rely on stereotype or the grotesque – but by using tight, controlled language, the writer expertly leads the reader through the shifting loyalties of the story. There’s set-up, tension, and a resolution that’s not as smooth as we were expecting. And this discomfort is what makes the story.

Runner-up ($100):  ‘happy’ by Hilary Hewitt

This prose poem follows Hao Zianzhang and his boutique pear venture. The poem tackles consumerism, waste, communism, infanticide and poverty in thirteen lines and the reader wants more. It’s crazy. But each word is precise and this kind of care is riveting.

Runner-up ($100) ‘cities that are not dublin’ by Mark Roberts

This writer uses great detail (‘all the girls seem to be dressed in orange and green’) and there’s a wonderful sense of Australia answering back to the colonial canon. The lulling pace and use of white space add to the ambience so that the reader, too, feels like they’re tucked beside a train window, burrowing into Ulysses.


Writing to the EdgeWe would like to thank our judge, Shady Cosgrove and all entrants to the 2013 joanne burns Award (Writing To The Edge competition). Details about this year’s competition will be available in coming months.

Writing To The Edge, an anthology of prose poems & microfiction edited by Linda Godfrey and Ali Jane Smith is currently in production and is due for release in May.

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