Ballarat Writers Inc. (BWI) invites writers to enter the 2023 Southern Cross Short Story Competition.

Opening date:            1 August, 2023

Closing date:              1 October, 2023

Short stories to 3000 words on the theme TRACKS OF DESIRE.

First prize -$1000 AUD

Second Prize –          $400 AUD

Third Prize –              $100 AUD

Two Highly Commended certificates will also be awarded.

Winners to be announced November 2023

Entry Fee to be paid online at Please read condition of entry carefully before submitting your work.

Ballarat Writers Inc is a non-profit organisation, Incorporation No. A001874SK


Graeme Simsion was born in Auckland, New Zealand; at twelve, he migrated with his family to Melbourne, Australia. His early interests were  in the physical sciences, including quantum and particle physics, although a clear writing ability helped him stand out from his peers.

A career in computing data management and consulting in the UK and Australia led to the publication of his first book, Data Modeling Essentials in 1993. A side interest in screen-writing led to a first script and amateur film-making. Graeme had been bitten by the screenwriting bug, studying at RMIT and winning an award for an unpublished/unproduced romantic comedy script.

In 2010, Graeme had a life-threatening ‘meltdown’ (rhabdomyolysis) in a marathon, and turned his focus to fiction writing. The Rosie Project was a critical and popular success. Graeme followed it with The Rosie Effect a year later, and four years after that, The Rosie Result. The series has since sold over six million copies in forty-two languages. Numerous novels, and awards, followed.

He continues to write at a pace of around a book a year, and dips his foot in the screenwriting pond from time to time. His current project is a collaboration with his partner Anne Buist, set in a mental-health facility.

Graeme lives in Melbourne with Anne, and is a frequent traveller, walker, jogger, and drinker of wine and cocktails. More details at


The winning stories will be announced at an award presentation in Ballarat on 29 November 2023. The full results and judge’s report will be published on the Ballarat Writers Inc website in December 2023.


  1. Competition is open to anyone over the age of 18 years as of 1 August, 2023
  2. Entries may be in any genre and interpretation of the theme can be as literal or as broad as one likes
  3. Entries must be NOT MORE THAN 3000 words including the title
  4. All entries must be in English, and must have a title
  5. Entries must be the original work of the applicant
  6. Entries must not have been published anywhere, including personal blog or website, broadcast, or won a prize in any competition
  7. Entry fee for non-BWI members is AUD$20 per story/entry
  8. Entry fee for BWI members is AUD$15 per story/entry
  9. Entrants may submit up to three entries, each at the specified entry fee
  10. The entry fee is payable online by credit card before midnight on the closing date 1 October 2023 – refer to submission instructions below
  11. Entries must be emailed to the email address below, before midnight on the closing date 1 October 2023 – refer to submission instructions below
  12. All entries to be in English, double-spaced and using the standard 12 point font ‘Times New Roman
  13. Entrant’s name must not appear on/in the story
  14. Fees will not be refunded
  15. No corrections will be accepted, or correspondence entered into
  16. Results will be announced at the BWI end-of year member’s night, and on the website, on 29 November 2023
  17. Copyright remains with the author
  18. The judge’s decision is final
  19. Neither the BW Competitions Co-ordinator nor any person involved in pre-reading or judging of entries may enter.

N.B. By submitting an entry, or entries, to this competition, you give permission for your work to be published in part or in full on the Ballarat Writers Inc website, and/or in any Ballarat Writers Inc publications, and you further agree and declare that the work submitted is your own original work and has not been copied in part or in full from any other source.


The 2023 submission process has two parts:

  1. PAY the entry fee online by credit card through Trybooking. A booking fee of 50 cents applies to each entry. See below for the payment website.
  2. EMAIL your story to the email address below ( Save your story as a PDF file, and attach it to your email. The subject title of your email must be ‘Southern Cross Competition 2023’. In the body of the email, include your full name and address, the title of the story and the word count. Do not include your name anywhere in your entry document. The email address by which you submit your entry will be the email address we use to contact you if necessary.

Both parts above must have been completed before midnight (Australia EST) on the closing date 1 October 2023.

Failure to follow/abide by any of the stated rules may make your entry, or entries, ineligible.

PAY fee online at:
EMAIL  story to: