Friday, July 1, 2011

Republican challenge to Australian writers

Entry to the Third National Republican Short Story Competition is now open. The theme for the Third National Republican Short Story Competition is 'Citizen or Subject'. Short stories will use the theme to speculate on Australian republican futures.

First Prize: $500
Highly Commended: $50
Length: 2000 to 4000 words
Entry is open to all Australian residents

The Third National Republican Short Story Competition challenges Australia’s fiction writers to speculate on the possible futures of the Australian republic.

Speculative fiction writers deal with possibilities.
They speculate.
They make the future seem real.

However, we can’t achieve anything unless we imagine it first. Before every great invention and before every great journey is the idea. Without ideas and imagination, we are all trapped in the past.

It seems strange there is no tradition of republican speculative fiction in Australia. In colonial times there were republican poets such as Charles Harpur writing in the 1840s and 1850s, and republican writers such as John Dunmore Lang and Daniel Deniehy in the 1850s and William Lane, Henry Lawson and John Norton in the 1880s and 1890s. But where have been the republican stories for the past century? There have certainly been many republican writers during this time but very few examples where republican settings or arguments have been explored in Australian fiction. Republican arguments and explorations of the past and imaginations of the future have almost always been written within the framework of constitutional debates.

Where do the people of Australia fit into this? Where are their myths and stories to tell and retell and remember about Australia’s emerging republican identity?

So, the Australian Republican Movement would like to point the way forward through Australian stories with a republican backdrop. They don’t have to be political thrillers or constitutional whodunits as long as they are an exploration of our future, our republican future.

To read more about the Australia’s emerging republican speculative fiction genre go to

Previous National Republican Short Story winners are:

Helen Bersten, Double Lives, 2010 Highly Commended
Sean Oliver Ness, Inauguration Day, 2010 Highly Commended
Kel Robertson, Rook Feast, 2009 First Prize

The competition guidelines and entry form and list of judges are available at

For more information contact

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