2021 Roly Sussex Short Story Competition




The 2021 ESU Roly Sussex Short Story Competition is now closed. Entries are being assessed by the panel of judges.

This prized literary award is designed to foster original creative writing of outstanding quality, including experimental, challenging or thought-provoking work.


The English-Speaking Union (Queensland) is delighted to have Professor Roly Sussex as our partner in English. Professor Sussex is an Emeritus Professor of Applied Language Studies at the University of Queensland. He is one of Australia’s leading champions for language and languages. His ABC Radio program A Word in Your Ear has been running for 24 years.




Open Category Secondary School Category
First Prize: $7500 First Prize: $1000
Second Prize: $1500 Second Prize: $500
Highly Commended Highly Commended



Submission opening date:              28 June 2021.
Submission closing date:                Submissions should reach the ESU by Close of Business on 30 September 2021. No submissions will be accepted after this date.


Authors must be Australian citizens or Australian residents who are not related to the judges or members of the Executive of the English-Speaking Union.

Entrants to the Secondary School section must be enrolled full-time at a secondary school.

Submitted stories should not have been published before.



Length:                           Maximum 3,000 words.

Text format:                   Microsoft Word, .doc or .docx, double-spaced, A4.


On-line templates for submission are available through links in the following section.



To ensure the anonymity of the judging process, include three documents with each story:

  1. Entry form, including evidence of payment and declaration of eligibility
  2. Separate title page, including:

author’s name, email address and telephone number;

the title of the story;

Secondary school students should indicate the name of their school.

  1. Story (title and text, no indication of the author’s name or other details)

This is the only document available to the judges until the judging process is


  1. Details of the payment of the entry fee of $60 for Open and $30 for Secondary

School Category stories should accompany the submission (instructions on the

Entry Form above).


You may choose either of two methods to submit your story:

1. Email the completed forms (Entry Form, Title Page, Story) as attachments in a single email to rolysussexstory@esu.org.au. 


2. Post the completed forms (Entry Form, Title Page, Story) to PO Box 1429, Milton BC, QLD 4064



The results will be announced by email to the winners, and more generally through the website of the ESU (https://www.esu.org.au/). ESU will pay up to $500 in travel and accommodation costs to attend the awards ceremony to each of the first place winners if they come from outside SE Queensland.



All stories submitted to the Roly Sussex Short Story Competition will be considered for publication by the ESU and may be used for marketing and publicity in conjunction with the ESU. In submitting their stories for publication authors indicate their consent to these initiatives.



Authors retain copyright of their work. Stories published by ESU will be protected under a Creative Commons licence: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0):




Enquiries may be directed to rolysussexstory@esu.org.au.




Judging Panel


Chair of Judges: Emeritus Professor Peter Little AM

Professor Little is a former Deputy Vice Chancellor at QUT; a Fellow of CPA Australia; a Fellow of the European Foundation for Management Development; a Fellow of the Queensland Academy of the Arts and Sciences; a director of the RACQ Foundation; a director of Ormiston College Ltd; a Councillor of the RNA; co-founder of the Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame; and an avid reader.




David Fagan

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

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.



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