Mayor's Short Story Writing Awards 2024

Writing in a notebook

The Shire presents the fourth year of the Mayor’s Short Story Writing Awards and invites local emerging writers aged 8 and up to enter.  

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

The judging panel comprises notable writers Barry Reynolds, Else Fitzgerald, Monica Dux, Sam-Ellen Bound and Coral Vass. 

We are excited to partner with Western Port Writes Literary Festival this year for our Shortlist Committee for 18+ entries. 

Shortlisted stories

Thank you to everyone who entered the Awards. It was once again a tough competition and challenging to decide on the Shortlist for all categories. It was fantastic to see the literary talent on the Mornington Peninsula across all ages.

Congratulations to all writers on the Shortlist! All entries have been deidentified as the final judging process is taking place. Entries will be identified again on August 1.

All shortlisted writers will be invited to an Awards Ceremony where the winners will be revealed on Friday 13 September.


In no particular order:

8 - 12 years

Elemental Catastrophe

The Underwater Rollercoaster

The crossing of the Blue Mountains

Robo Magic


Ding Ding Ding

The sweetest fig

Alice Black

The Forlorn Umbrella


The Lost Soul

The Leech at Caspian Lake

13 -  17 years

A Geometrically Focused Visitation

Dandelions Don’t Grow in Glasshouses

Sedimentary Sentiments



The First Step

The underground

A Piece of the Wind

I Believe

The Motel Life

18+ years

Blue Elephant

Deep Water


Where the stingrays swim

Winnie Blue

In Search of Retirement



One True Sentence

The Birdcage

Thirty seconds; thirty beats

Tin Shack

Award categories and prizes

8-12 Years judged by author Coral Vass 

  • 500-word limit/ short creative fiction only 

  • $500 prize and bookstore voucher 

13-17 Years judged by Samantha-Ellen Bound 

  • 1000-word limit/ short creative fiction only 

  • $500 prize and bookstore voucher 

18+ Years judged by Barry Reynolds, Else Fitzgerald & Monica Dux

  • 2000-word limit/ short creative fiction only 
  • $1000 prize, bookstore voucher and two-week Police Point Artist Residency  

Mornington Peninsula Shire is proudly funding the prize money and the residency at Police Point, while bookstore vouchers have been generously donated by local businesses including Antipodes Bookshop & Gallery, Farrells Bookshop, Petersen’s Bookstore and Rosebud Book Barn.

Meet the judges

8-12 Judge

Coral Vass

Coral Vass is an award-winning children’s author, presenter, editor and reviewer. She has a background in Media, and this year marks her 25th published children’s book. Her books include Sorry Day 2018 (Speech Pathology Awards Book of the Year and 2019 CBCA Book of the Year - Eve Pownall Award), Grandma’s Treasured Shoes (2021 Caleb Book of the Year), Jørn’s Magnificent Imagination (2023 CBCA Notable and shortlisted for 2023 Speech Pathology Book of the Year) and The Forgotten Song: Saving the Regent Honeyeater (2024 CBCA Notable).

Coral’s books have appeared on ABCTV’s Playschool, the UK's Milkshake TV, as well as on StoryBox Library. Coral is an ambassador for Reading Out of Poverty and is passionate about children’s literacy and giving all children equal opportunity to learn.

13-17 Judge

Samantha-Ellen Bound

Samantha-Ellen Bound is a children's author, editor and podcast host who lives on the Surf Coast. From humble beginnings writing Goosebumps rip-offs, she now has many years experience working with books in all areas of the industry. Sam-Ellen has been published in literary journals and shortlisted for short story awards, including most recently the Geelong Writers Prize. She has been shortlisted for the Vogel Prize and a recipient of a May Gibbs Creative Time Fellowship. Her current work is the epic folklore-inspired middle grade series, Seven Wherewithal Way.

18+ Judges

Else Fitzgerald

Else Fitzgerald’s writing has appeared in various publications including Australian Book ReviewMeanjinThe Suburban Review, The Guardian and Award Winning Australian Writing. Her collection of short fiction, Everything Feels Like the End of the World, won the 2019 Richell Prize for Emerging Writers and was published by Allen & Unwin in 2022. Everything Feels Like the End of the World was shortlisted for the 2022 Aurealis Awards and the 2023 Queensland Literary Awards.


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 of The 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.

Barry Reynolds is a freelance journalist and writer whose work has been published in the Australian Book Review, The Australian, the Melbourne Herald Sun (where he was books editor and a senior sub-editor), as well as in London newspapers. He has written numerous stories on authors including Garry Disher, Gerald Murnane, Helen Garner, Jock Serong, Rodney Hall, Susan Orlean and Lynda La Plante, among many others. In London he wrote about travel, food, wine and walking, while in his early career he won awards for his stories on basketball.

Winners 2023

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)

Winners 2022

8-12 Years

Winner: Xavier G, From the Window(PDF, 109KB)

Highly commended: Jasmine S, Cloud 9(PDF, 63KB)

13-17 Years

Winner: Emma D, A Dragons Cry(PDF, 52KB)

Highly commended:Thomas H, Percys Toy Plane(PDF, 144KB)

18+ Years

Winner: Suzi Mezei, Altitude(PDF, 177KB)

Highly commended: Kate Herring, Carol(PDF, 113KB)

Highly commended: Rebecca Fraser, Dishlickers(PDF, 137KB)

Winners 2021

8-12 Years

Winner: Chloe B, Running with the Wolves(PDF, 83KB)

Highly commended: Gracie M, In My Wildest Dreams(PDF, 592KB)

13-17 Years

Winner: Maddy M, the story of Jake(PDF, 62KB)

Highly commended: Amira L, the story of Eleanor(PDF, 79KB)

18+ Years

Winner: Rebecca Fraser, Due South(PDF, 156KB)

Highly commended: Deline Skinner, Close to Home(PDF, 151KB)