Website Banner 4


2016 Wollongong Writers Festival Short Story Prize


We are very pleased to announce the winner of our $1000 inaugural Short Story Prize! Our judges Michelle Cahill and Patrick Lenton had such difficulty narrowing down the top stories, that Mascara Literary Review will publish not just the winner, but also two Highly Commended Stories.


And the winning stories are:

‘Caught in the Rip’ – Karen Whitelaw (Highly Commended)

Karen Whitelaw is a Newcastle writer and teacher. Her stories have been published in various anthologies, including Newcastle Short Story Award Anthology 2012, Cutwater Literary Journal, Award Winning Australian Writing 2016, and performed at the Sydney Writers’ Festival and the Sydney Fringe Festival in 2016. Her story which won the Newcastle Writers’ Festival Joanne Burns Award for Microlit 2016 was developed into a visual presentation.


‘By Proxy’ – Cassie Hamer (Highly Commended)

Cassie Hamer is an emerging writer from Sydney who tends to make up stories in her head while walking around Centennial Park. Occasionally, she writes them down but mostly she kicks herself for not carrying a notebook. Her story, ‘By Proxy’ was inspired by a recent visit to Hobart where she saw a beautiful exhibition of photos and mementoes, telling the story of women who travelled in the turbulent post-war years to the other side of the world to make a new life for themselves. Cassie remains in awe of their bravery.


‘Offshore’ – Kay Sexton (Winner)

Kay Sexton’s fiction has appeared in over 70 anthologies and literary magazines. Her recently published novel, Gatekeeper, was shortlisted for the Dundee International Book Prize and in addition to being shortlisted, finalist or winner of many literary competitions, she has had two non-fiction books on gardening published. This is remarkable given that her sole ambition as a child was to become a librarian so she could read all the books ever written, rather than writing anything.


The Judges

Michelle Cahill

Michelle Cahill wrote The Accidental CageVishvarūpa and Night Birds and is winner of the Hilary Mantel International Short Story Prize. She edits Mascara Literary Review, and is Visiting Scholar in Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. Her collection Letter to Pessoa is forthcoming with Giramondo.

JUDGE Michelle Cahill


Patrick Lenton

Patrick Lenton is the author of A Man Made Entirely of Bats. His short stories have been published in places like The Best Australian Stories and The Best Australian Comedy Writing. He is the winner of the Thiel Grant for Online Writing. He runs Town Crier, a social media and digital marketing consultancy for authors. He tweets @patricklenton.

Patrick Lenton


Question about the competition? Feel free to shoot us an email at:



Mascara Literary Review Logo

WWF Logo