Mayor's Short Story Writing Awards 2023

Writing in a notebook

Mornington Peninsula Shire and Peninsula Writers' Club present the third year of the Mayor’s Short Story Awards. Local emerging writers were invited to enter.

The Awards encourage and support Mornington Peninsula writers of all abilities, celebrate our diverse talent, and showcase local stories and voices.

The judging panel, comprised notable authors Garry Disher, Else Fitzgerald, Monica Dux, Sam-Ellen Bound and Coral Vass. Winners and highly commended writers were presented their prizes at an ceremony at Somerville Mechanics Institute Hall on Wednesday 30 August 2023.


Together with the Peninsula Writers’ Club, we are excited to announce the winners:

8 - 12 Years

Winner: Macy A-W, Feather(PDF, 59KB)

Highly commended: Aaron M, The Raccoon(PDF, 97KB)

13 - 17 Years

Winner: Camryn S, The Garden of Lost Stories(PDF, 57KB)

Highly commended: Maya E-J, The Mysterious Disappearances of Wonga(PDF, 62KB)

Highly commended: Georgia H, Blooming(PDF, 130KB)

18+ Years

Winner: Jodie Kewley, All There Is(PDF, 115KB)

Highly commended: Sean Kelly, The Good Boy(PDF, 77KB)

Thank you to long-time sponsors of the Mayor’s Short Story Awards Antipodes Bookshop, Rosebud Book Barn, Farrells Bookshop and Petersen’s Bookstore for providing vouchers to all winners and highly commended writers.

In addition to receiving bookstore vouchers, Jodie Kewly receives $1,000 and a two-week Police Point Artist Residency and Camryn S and Macy A-W each receive $500.


In the third year of the Mayor’s Short Story Writing Awards, we received a record 200+ submissions! We are impressed with the quality of your stories and thank everyone for entering your work. Thank you also to the Peninsula Writers’ Club shortlist committee and judges for their time and care reading entries.

We are pleased to present the shortlist for all three age categories.

8-12 Years Category

  • Aaron M – The Raccoon
  • Lucinda M – Blue bird
  • Macy A-W - Feather
  • Eli D – The Item
  • Daisy C – Fight Back
  • Ella P – Just Imagine
  • Grace K – My Analee
  • Stella M – Only Human
  • Isabel M – The Fall of a Queen’s Reign
  • Flynn B – Untitled

13-17 Years Category

  • Georgia H - Blooming
  • Emma W – Break and Enter
  • Sophia VZ – Lights out
  • Sophie D – Moon Walk
  • Aubrey W – The Conductor’s Wish
  • Natalie S – The End
  • Camryn S – The Garden of Lost Stories
  • Maya E-J – The Mysterious Disappearances of Wonga
  • Ruby W – Those Around Us
  • Sophie K – Untitled

18+ Years Category

  • Suzi Mezei - Adjustments
  • Jodie Kewley - All There Is
  • Kate Reynolds - Beyond
  • Tanya Scott - Downfall
  • Roger Price – Life, Death and Learning
  • Dawn Markowitsch – Echoes and sepia
  • Jacqueline Hodder – Take her out for a spin
  • Andrea Louise Thomas – The Decider
  • Sean Kelly – The Good Boy
  • Bernadette Cronin – The Journey

Meet the judges

8-12 Judge

Coral Vass

Coral Vass is an award-winning Australian children's author. She has always loved telling stories and has been writing books for over ten years. With some of her books featured on ABC TV's Playschool and StoryBox Library, Coral is an ambassador for Reading Out of Poverty and is passionate about giving all children an equal opportunity to read.

13-17 Judge

Samantha-Ellen Bound

Samantha-Ellen Bound is a writer, editor and children’s author who lives on the Mornington Peninsula. From humble beginnings as an eight-year old writing Goosebumps rip-offs, she now has many years experience working with books. Sam-Ellen has been published in literary journals and shortlisted for short story awards, including most recently the Peter Carey and Write Around the Murray short story awards. She was also shortlisted for the Vogel Prize in 2018 and been a recipient of a May Gibbs Creative Time Fellowship. The first novel in her Seven Wherewithal Way series was named QBD Children’s Book of the Year and a CBCA Notable Book.

18+ Judges

Else Fitzgerald

Else Fitzgerald is a writer based on the Mornington Peninsula. Her writing has appeared in various publications including Australian Book ReviewMeanjin, The Guardian, The Suburban Review and Award Winning Australian Writing. Else has worked with various literary organisations including the Emerging Writers’ Festival, the Wheeler Centre, Blak & Bright First Nations Literary Festival and the RMIT University Writing & Publishing program. Else's collection of short stories, Everything Feels Like the End of the World, was published by Allen & Unwin in 2022.

Garry Disher

Garry Disher lives on the Mornington Peninsula and has published over 50 books, including the widely translated Hirsch, Wyatt and Peninsula crime novels, which have been on best-seller lists and won several best-crime-novel awards in Australia and Germany. The recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the Australian Crime Writers Association, his latest titles areThe Way it is Now, a stand-alone crime novel set on the beaches of the Peninsula, and the best-selling Hirsch novel,Day’s End. Garry has also recently been shortlisted for the ABIA Book Awards 2023.

Monica Dux

Monica Dux is a writer and commentator. She is the author of two memoirs:Lapsed: losing your religion is harder than it looks (HarperCollins ABC Books, 2021) and Things I Didn’t Expect (when I was expecting)(MUP, 2013). She is the co-author ofThe Great Feminist Denial(MUP, 2008) and editor of the anthology Mothermorphosis (MUP, 2015). Monica was a founding board member of the Stella Prize and the Feminist Writers Festival. From 2013 until 2022 she was a columnist for The Saturday Age. She is currently working on a third memoir and doing a PhD in Creative Practice at RMIT.

Awards sponsors

Thanks to the following local bookstores for contributing to the prizes:

Antipodes Logo Farells Logo Petersons Logo Rosebud Book Barn

Awards Partner

Thanks to our Awards partner, Peninsula Writers' Club.

Peninsula Writers Club Logo