Category: contest (Page 1 of 2)

Pamela Miller Prize to open

It’s time for our first Ballarat Writers competition for 2021 … and this one is open only to members of Ballarat Writers!

The Pamela Miller Prize was first run in 2015, in memory of Pamela Miller, who was a very active and productive member of Ballarat Writers. She was a writer of short stories and poetry, and won the Murder at MADE short story competition in 2014. Early in 2015, Pamela wrote a very popular poem called ‘Bronze Heads—The Prime Ministers’ Walk’ as part of a Ballarat Writers project run during the Begonia Festival.

The winner of the Pamela Miller Prize will receive a certificate and $100 first prize, as well as publication in the Ballarat Writers newsletter. The winner will be announced at the Ballarat Writers June Members’ Night. 

Entries open: Saturday 1 May
Entries close: Tuesday 1 June

Ballarat Writers is accepting fictionalprose entries of up to 500 words on the theme A New Start. Entry is free.
All entries must be:

  • Original and unpublished
  • Written by a current member of Ballarat Writers
  • Engage with the theme A New Start, and be less than 500 words in length
  • Sent to with the subject line, ‘2021 Pamela Miller Prize Entry’

As the competition will be a blind judging, please do not include your name or contact details on the entry.

Happy writing!

Prizewinners and picnickers

It’s an action-packed week as we bid farewell to 2020, with prize announcements on Wednesday and a picnic on Sunday!

Our last monthly members’ meeting for the year is on Wednesday November 25, at which the winners of the Martha Richardson Memorial Poetry Prize (judged by Terry Jaensch) and the Pamela Miller Prize will be announced, as well as affording members a chance to catch up. The meeting will be held online using Zoom. It will start slightly later than usual, at 7.30pm. We look forward to returning to in-person meetings in the new year!

Details for joining the meeting have been sent in the members’ newsletter. Please get in touch if you’ve missed it or need help accessing Zoom.

Then, on Sunday, the easing of COVID restrictions means we can go ahead with our end-of-year picnic! Please join us at South Gardens, Ballarat Botanic Gardens, on Wendouree Parade, from 2pm on Sunday 29 November. BYO snacks, chairs and rugs as we exercise COVID-safe distancing to finally catch up in the flesh, reflect on 2020 and look forward to a more social and active 2021. 

Bonus: We will have a signed copy of Lament, by Beaufort’s Nicole Kelly, to give away to one lucky picnicker!

Martha Richardson Memorial Poetry Prize 2020 is now open

Ballarat Writers is now accepting entries into the Martha Richardson Memorial Poetry Prize, to be judged this year by Terry Jaensch.

The competition has an open theme and accepts poetry to 40 lines.

It closes on 11 October 2020

Entry Fee: $25 first poem

$20 first poem for members of Ballarat Writers

$15 for second or subsequent poems

Prizes: First $1,000; Second $400; Third $100

Finalists and winner will be announced in November 2020.

Please see the competition website for details on how to enter.

Little Bridge Street Poetry Pocket Park

The City of Ballarat is seeking responses from interested poets to create a public display of their poetry at Little Bridge Street Pocket Park.  The poem(s) will be incorporated into new seating in the Pocket Park design. The selected poet will work with selected street furniture designers to successfully incorporate the poem into the selected seat design.

The commissioned poetry will reflect the stories of the local community. The selected poem will reflect the theme of contemporary life in urban Ballarat.  The commissioned poet should consider the broad appeal of the poem they submit, noting that the area is used by a cross section of the Ballarat community including families.

A sum of $2,000 and will be paid to commission the poem.  The City of Ballarat will provide and install seating for the poem(s) and will cover the cost of integrating the poem to the seats up to the value of $3,000 (as arranged by the seat designer in collaboration with the poet)

The selected poet will work with the selected designer and seat manufacturer ‘Street Furniture Australia’ to produce the poetry seating.  The selected poet will work with an existing seat design and input into the seating colour, spacing and layout of text and the integration of the words onto four seats (for example this may be etched or printed, an audio recording or another creative integration).  The poet will be asked to strongly consider how public interaction may affect their work and include in their proposal how their design addresses threats of graffiti vandalism, incidental and wilful damage and any ongoing maintenance requirements.


Submission date and requirements

Interested poets should provide one PDF file containing the following to  by 5pm Monday 29 January 2018.


  • The full name and contact details and CV of the poet (maximum 2 pages)
  • A one paragraph biography of the poet
  • Up to four poems for selection for the poetry seats (i.e. one poem across all seats, or one per seat)
  • A one page description/design of your concept for the poetry integration onto the seats including an indicative production cost (to be confirmed once seat design is selected)


If you have queries or concerns about these requirements, please contact Kate Gerritsen on 03 5320 5199 for assistance.

2017 Southern Cross Short Story Competition Results


Ballarat Writers Inc. would like to thank everyone who submitted to the 2017 Southern Cross Short Story competition. Two entries were read aloud at our final members’ night for the year, and they were both stunning yet incredibly different.

All cheques and certificates for the winners and honourable mentions are now in the mail.

Maurilia Meehan’s Judge’s Report.

Thank you to each participant in the 2017 Ballarat Short Story competition.

It is an achievement in itself to finish your story and to send it out to make its own way in the world. You are already one in a thousand, as so many lack the basic writerly discipline of finishing a task. So, congratulations to all 119 entrants for taking your commitment to writing this far.

Our dedicated team of pre-readers whittled the field down to 13 stories, each of which display promise. Kangaroos hopped about more than once. Settings ranged from Africa to Ararat.

Themes frequently concerned childhood memories and grief for lost loved ones. Many were related in the first person. Although these stories were sensitive and touching, they were also static and lacked momentum.  Many stories presented a potentially creating an interesting character, setting or mood of foreboding that needed to be further developed.

However, few delivered what most readers demand in a story.

And that is Reversal.

Reversal of reader’s expectations at the end of the story. The sting-in-the-tail. The twist in the plot and/or character that we thought we were familiar with. In short, the element of well-crafted surprise.

Which brings me to a consideration of the outstanding entries.


The Man with the Dolphin Teeth.       By Suzannah Churchman – Perth WA

The writer of this story is, I suspect, the love-child of Angela Carter and Stephen King.

A story full memorable detail and vivid imagery, it is set in a waxworks in a bygone Melbourne. This story is elevated from being simply a genre horror tale about ‘monstrous’ characters because of the writer’s control of pace and compassionate humanism.

It is filmic in its cumulative effect, as we watch a stranger enter a closed world, on a quest for truth. And, importantly, it is structured around not one, but TWO, Reversals. I do hope it is published.


Safari.              By Kathy George – Indooroopilly QLD

Locked into an external environment which she perceives as a death trap, the central character overcomes her parallel emotional fears of falling in love. Classic structure where a change in the protagonist’s emotional life is the Reversal we are waiting for.


Follow Suit.                By Maryanne Ross – Ballarat VIC

This story is structured around a quest for truth, this time set among the op-shops and rooming houses of St Kilda. Refreshingly, it features the milieu of an ageing, feisty woman. A gold jacket she buys in an op-shop leads her into a world of ageing ex-TV stars and the unravelling of a mystery.


THREE HONORABLE MENTIONS, in no particular order.

Shazza’s Sheep.                      By Tee Linden – Sutherland NSW

Interesting psychological study of an artist whose painting of her beloved sheep comes to life and wreaks revenge.


The Devil’s Food.                   By Susan Bennett – Warragul VIC

An eagle, a Scottish laird, food and mushrooms, moodily evoked, lead to a satisfyingly murderous Reversal.


The Trials Of Saint Lurlene.   By Heather McKenzie -Capalaba QLD

A domestic setting. An internal monologue, delivered by a wife about her husband. Lurlene mixes so many clichés that the author makes her unwittingly comic. Excellent control of voice, each of her twisted cliches providing the reader with a mini-Reversal.

Southern Cross Short Story Competition Update

As our awards presentation draws closer, Ballarat Writers is proud to present the shortlist for the 2017 Southern Cross Short Story Competition.

The shortlisted stories, and their authors, listed in alphabetical order according to the story’s title are:

Big Red                                              Fiona Lewin                         Carss Park NSW
Bounds                                              Tee Linden                            Sutherland NSW
Burned                                              Jane Smith                            Toowoomba Qld
Every Shiny Thing On Fire     Keren Heenan                    Montmorency Vic
Follow Suit                                      Maryanne Ross                  Redan Vic
Hole In The Wall                          Ron Schroer                        Canberra ACT
Pain                                                      Andrew Scobie                  Auburn NSW
Safari                                                  KW George                           Indooroopilly Qld
Shazza’s Sheep                              Tee Linden                            Sutherland NSW
The Beacon                                    Helen Carmody                  Stawell Vic
The Devil’s Food                         Susan Bennett                     Warragul Vic
The Man with The Dolphin Teeth          Suzannah Churchman      Perth WA
The Trials Of St Lurlene          Heather MacKenzie          Capalaba Qld

Please check out website after the 29th of November when the winners will be announced, or feel free to turn up to our final member night for the year to see the announcement live!

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