2020 ESU Roly Sussex Short Story Competition




The English-Speaking Union Roly Sussex Short Story Competition literary award was launched in 2012. It is designed to foster original creative writing of outstanding quality, including experimental, challenging or thought-provoking work.


This competition is named after Professor Roly Sussex. Professor Sussex is an Emeritus Professor of Applied Language Studies at the University of Queensland, and a leading champion for language and languages in Australia. His weekly ABC Radio program A Word in Your Ear has been running for 23 years, and he is a weekly columnist on language for the Brisbane Courier-Mail.



Judging Panel


Chair of Judges: Emeritus Professor Peter Little AM, former Vice Chancellor (Corporate Programs and Partnerships), QUT.

Professor Little is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, a Fellow of CPA Australia and a Fellow of the Queensland Academy of the Arts and Sciences.  He is a board member of the European Foundation for Management Development, a Councillor of the RNA, a director of the RACQ Foundation, a director of Ormiston College Ltd, a co-founder of the Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame, a Consultant to McCullough Robertson Lawyers, an avid reader, and is chairman of the judging panel.



David Fagan
Director, Corporate Transition, QUT

David Fagan is a writer, editor and lover of the short story. While editor of the Courier-Mail he launched QWeekend, the home of some of Queensland’s best writers, and reintroduced serialised fiction to the newspaper’s summer editions through a five-year series of crime fiction written by one of Queensland’s best authors, Matthew Condon. Since leaving journalism he has joined the higher education sector, and works in the Vice-Chancellor’s Office at the Queensland University of Technology.




John Thompson-Gray BSc BEd MEng

Following honours in The Short Story as an Art Form at the University of Cambridge, John has published four books including bestseller Japanese Blitz on Darwin. His speaking engagements include the Shrine of Remembrance Melbourne, ABC radio and commercial TV. He earlier worked with the Department of the Interior, Scotch College Melbourne, Swinburne University, RMIT, and then for 25 years with BHP. In support of his friend, the late Ann Garms OAM, John has been a reader for the ESU Roly Sussex short story competition from day one.





2020 was a hard year for everyone, but it certainly didn’t impact the quality or distinction of the entries for the Short Story Competition. The judges reported that the 2020 entries were of a particularly high standard. Warm congratulations to all entrants from the Board of ESU Queensland.

First Prize: $7,500
Craig Cormick, ACT,                       Story Title. “The lost journal of Edmund Kennedy”

Second Prize: $1,500
Katrina Watson, Victoria.              Story Title. “Circumnavigation”

Highly Commended
Ian Hart. ACT                                  Story Title “All fairy stories come from China”
Michael O’Meara. WA                    Story Title “Who do you call when you don’t have a phone”
Ron Schroer, ACT                            Story Title “Hole in the wall”


First Prize: $1,000
Lara Kenny QLD                             Story Title “The portrait”

Second Prize: $500
Harry Walsh QLD                           Story Title “Temptation”

Highly Commended
Charley Anderson QLD                  Story Title “The cold blooded”
William Curr QLD                           Story Title “Dundee”
Rory Pearce. QLD                           Story Title “The Storm”


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