2021 Roly Sussex Short Story Competition




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.



The English-Speaking Union (Queensland Branch) has much pleasure in announcing the winners of the 2021 Roly Sussex Short Story Competition.


Emeritus Professor Peter Little
David Fagan
John Thompson-Gray

In 2021 there were over 160 entries, or nearly four times as many in 2020.

The stories are available for reading from this website. Click on the author’s name.


First Prize: $7,500
Carmel Lillis, VIC                                  In the wake of Sparrow

Second Prize: $1,500
Ange Pennell, QLD                               Man’s best friend

Highly Commended
Anne Andrew, QLD                              Food for thought
Marilyn Chalkley, ACT                         Sing yourself free
Tracy Kollmann, QLD                           She was fine
Jason Leigh, NSW                                The hitman and the Elvis box



First Prize: $1,000
Luke Rohan, QLD                                A shadow of time

Second Prize: $500
Andy Memory, QLD                             The tragedy of ’75

Highly Commended
Joseph Picone, QLD                             Cold hearted
Logan Azzopardi, QLD                        Action through fear
Yashodhan Rayani, QLD                     Fate


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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