Creative Writing Competition

Dymocks Beyond Words is Back for 2024!

Having had such a successful 2023 we are back with more categories and the biggest prize pool to date with over $20,000 in prizes to be given!

So get ready to start writing! Entries open on the 1st of March and close on the 31st of May.  Winners will be announced at the Awards Night on 11 October 2024 in Parramatta, NSW.

Last year’s long listed writers are linked below – be sure to read the entries for some inspiration.

Entry Submissions Closed

31 May 2024

Submission Deadline

11 October 2024

Winner Announcement

Prize pool

High School Prize Pool

$3000

Winner

$1000

Runner Up

$500

Shortlist (8 awarded)

Primary School Prize Pool

$2000

Winner

$1000

Runner Up

$500

Shortlist (8 awarded)

Special Category Prizes

Primary & Highschool

$1000

Regional Australia Winner

$1000

Greater Western Sydney Winner

$1000

EAL/D Winner

$1000

First Nations Winner

$1000

LGBTQIA+

Long List Prizes

All 100 Longlisted Entrants will receive a Prize Pack thanks to Milligram containing stationary and accessories worth over $50

All longlisted students will also be entered into the 2024 Dymocks Beyond Words Longlist Book!

Milligram Prize Pack!

COMPETITION DETAILS

All primary and secondary school students across Australia are able to enter!

Your story must be between 500 and 1500 words.

Entries over the word limit will be disqualified.

The competition is open theme

This means that your story can be about anything you want. It can also be written in any genre.

Entries open March 1st 2024 and close May 31st 2024.

Your entry must be submitted within these dates or you will not be able to enter.

Unfortunately not. As this is a short story competition, all entries must be written in prose, not verse.

Poetry might be used as an element of the story, but the majority of the story must be written in prose. Entries written entirely in verse will be disqualified.

No – every entrant may only submit one story. If you submit multiple entries, the most recently submitted entry will be accepted and all others will be disqualified.

Stories are being judged on two key things:

CRAFT: Is your story well written and descriptive? Have you shown a strong command of language, structure, and vocabulary? Is it clear that you understand what key elements go into making a good story?

 

IDEA: How original and unique is your idea? Has your story got something interesting to share? Does it affect the reader emotionally? Does your story grab the reader and make them want to read more?


We encourage all students to enter the competition! We are judging based on ideas and passion for storytelling just as heavily as on technical craft and command of language.

No – you must submit a new story this year. All longlisted entries will be cross-checked against last year’s entry pool to ensure that they are new submissions.

  • To enter the REGIONAL prize your home address must not be within a location classified as MM1 (major cities) in the Modified Monash Model. You can search locations at the Department of Health.

 

  • To enter the GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY PRIZE your home address must be within the Greater Western Sydney region as defined by the NSW Department of Planning Metropolitan Strategy. 

 

  • To enter the EAL/D prize you must speak English as an additional language or dialect; it should not be your first language. You may be interviewed to discuss what winning this prize means to you.

 

  • To enter the FIRST NATIONS prize you must be an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander student and be accepted by your First Nations community as a member of that community. You may be interviewed to discuss what winning this prize means to you.

 

  • To enter the LGBTQIA+ prize you must identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community. Please be aware that if you win this category your full name will be displayed publicly as prizewinner on the website. You may also be interviewed to discuss what winning this prize means to you.

A longlist will be announced in August 2024 and winners will be announced in October 2024 at a prize ceremony held in Sydney.

JUDGING PANEL

Overall Prize: Will Kostakis

Will Kostakis is an award-winning author for young adults. He’s been at it fifteen years, but his mum insists it’s just a phase and any day now, he’ll pursue a real career. He signed his first book deal in high school. Loathing Lola was released when he was just nineteen. His contemporary novels, The First Third and The Sidekicks, warmed (then broke) hearts the world over. His first foray into fantasy, the Monuments duology, saw teenagers accidentally killing gods hidden under different Aussie high schools, absorbing their powers, and wrestling with what it means to be gods. We Could Be Something is his latest novel. It’s a humorous yet heart-rending look at family, fame and falling in love.

Shortlist: Josephine Sarvaas

Josephine is a trained teacher qualified in English, history and TESOL, who graduated from the University of Sydney with first class honours. She has been working in private tutoring since 2014 and has nine years’ experience teaching students from kindergarten up to the HSC. She is passionate about helping all students gain confidence in their learning, and believes English is a subject area where all students can be empowered to develop their self-expression. Josephine is also a short story writer whose work has been published in magazines and anthologies. She won first place in NYC Midnight’s Flash Fiction Competition and The Academy of Teachers’ ‘Stories Out of School’ Competition, and was runner up in the 2022 Best Australian Yarn, Australia’s biggest short story contest. Her work has been long-listed for the Grindstone International Novel Prize and the Mslexia Novel Competition.

First Nations and LGBTQIA+ Prizes: Luke Patterson

Luke Patterson is a Gamilaroi poet, educator and musician living on Gadigal lands. His poetry has appeared in Cordite, Plumwood Mountain, Rabbit, Running Dog and The Suburban Review. You will also find his work in anthologies including NANGAMAY dream MANA gather DJURALI grow as well as Best of Australian Poems 2023. Luke’s research and creative pursuits are grounded in extensive work with First Nations and other community-based organisations across Australia.

Regional Prize: Bonni Que

Bonni is the Story Leader at The Story Island Project, running dynamic in-school storytelling workshops in areas of need around Hobart. She has a background in creative arts and health, with a strong focus on social justice and community development programs. As well as maintaining her own creative practice in writing, music and visual art, Bonni has experience working as an arts facilitator within a range of diverse environments and demographics both across Australia and internationally. She is a strong believer in the power of creative expression as a means of nurturing imagination and cultivating social, cognitive and emotional development.

EAL/D Prize: Khaled Damag

Khaled is a writer and skilled bilingual communicator. He is a Board Member of The Story Island Project—a Hobart-based not-for-profit organisation that nurtures the creativity and writing skills of young Tasmanians—and has served on Amnesty International Australia’s Youth Advisory Group. A graduate of the University of Tasmania (with a Business degree majoring in Finance and Business Economics), Khaled is currently a research and policy officer at RACT, working on advocacy projects in areas such as road safety, mobility and sustainability.

Greater Western Sydney Prize: Ally Burnham

Ally Burnham is an AWGIE-award winning screenwriter, novelist and author of comics. A NIDA graduate (2016, Masters, Writing for Performance), she is also the Creative Producer at Westwords – Western Sydney’s literature development organisation. Ally is best known for her feature film Unsound, and is the lead writer on Metropius. She is a contributing author and editor to The New Mythic, which was nominated for two 2023 Aurealis Awards. She is a producer and guest on the podcast Prose & Cons, and also teaches screenwriting for film and television at NIDA Open.

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