Best Australian Yarn: Entries close for world’s richest short story competition

Alison WakehamThe West Australian
Minderoo co-founder Nicola Forrest with The West Australian’s editor-in-chief Anthony De Ceglie.
Camera IconMinderoo co-founder Nicola Forrest with The West Australian’s editor-in-chief Anthony De Ceglie. Credit: The West Australian

Authors across Australia have taken the nation’s biggest short story competition, the Best Australian Yarn, into their hearts, telling thousands of tales over the past three months.

Nearly 4700 people submitted entries spanning science fiction, fantasy, crime, love, loss and outback adventures.

The contest closed at midnight on Tuesday with a rush — more than 2000 entries were filed in the final three days.

The Best Australian Yarn, which is run by The West Australian in partnership with Minderoo Foundation, was launched in February with professional and amateur short story writers competing for a $50,000 prize pool, the richest in the world.

Anthony De Ceglie, The West Australian’s editor-in-chief, said he had been blown away by the amount of entries, with the biggest number coming from women aged between 18 and 35.

He said the stories would highlight the full range of Australian life, telling of a custodial officer who wanted to enter on behalf of an inmate who didn’t have access to the internet.

Every entrant has the opportunity to win the $30,000 major prize. Nine other finalists shortlisted for the overall prize will receive $1000 each, the top WA entrant $4000, the best Australian regional entry $3000 and the best youth entry $2000. Readers will have the opportunity to vote for their favourite, with the popular prizewinner taking home $2000.

All entries will first be read by experienced writers from The West Australian who will select the best 50 to go before a prize jury, which will be chaired by Mr De Ceglie and include Minderoo Foundation co-founder Nicola Forrest, author Robert Drewe and publishers Terri-Ann White and Rachel Bin Salleh.

Mr De Ceglie said the deadline may be extended to ensure anyone who wanted to enter didn’t miss out.

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