Katrina’s 2023 Roly Page


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

Read the following information carefully to complete your entry.

View the winning entries from 2022.

Download a printable PDF flyer here.

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 26 years.



OPEN Category

First Prize: $7,500
Second Prize: $1,500
Highly Commended


First Prize: $1,000
Second Prize: $500
Highly Commended



Submissions should reach the ESU by Close of Business on 31 August 2023 (GMT+10).

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.



The results will be announced in late 2023 through the website of the ESU (https://www.esu.org.au). The release of the results will be notified to entrants by email. ESU (Queensland) will pay up to $500 for first or second place winners from outside SE Queensland to attend the awards ceremony (travel and accommodation).

Winners should discuss travel by email to rolysussexstory@esu.org.au.



Chief judge and chair, Open Division: David Fagan

Open Division judges: Kerry Davies, Georgina Steele

Chief Judge Secondary School Division: Talisa Pariss-Proby

Secondary Division judges: Brian Clarke, Belinda Pollard


1. cultural appropriation, and cultural diversity, authenticity and sensitivity

2. originality of material: plagiarism and use of AI software

Cultural appropriation, and cultural diversity, authenticity and sensitivity

In recent times, the matters of cultural appropriation, and cultural diversity, authenticity and sensitivity have been prominent in public debate. While much has been written and discussed, these matters remain complex – they are not easily explained or understood.

Writers need to consider whether their work meets community expectations around issues such as race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and religious and spiritual beliefs. This is especially true for exploitation of minority groups. To help you think about these matters, these definitions might be useful.

“Cultural appropriation takes place when members of a majority group adopt cultural elements of a minority group in an exploitative, disrespectful, or stereotypical way.”


“Cultural appropriation is the act of adopting certain aspects of a culture in a manner that disrespects the cultural significance and inaccurately represents a community.”


“Cultural appropriation refers to the use of objects or elements of a non-dominant culture in a way that reinforces stereotypes or contributes to oppression and doesn’t respect their original meaning or give credit to their source. It also includes the unauthorized use of parts of their culture (their dress, dance, etc.) without permission.”


Psychology website VeryWellMind expands on their definition:

… cultural appropriation is a layered and nuanced phenomenon that many people may have trouble understanding and may not realize when they are doing it themselves.

It can be natural to merge and blend cultures as people from different backgrounds come together and interact. In fact, many wonderful inventions and creations have been born from the merging of such cultures (such as country music).

However, the line is drawn when a dominant cultural group makes use of elements of a non-dominant group in a way that the non-dominant group views as exploitative.

Originality of material: plagiarism and use of AI software

Since the release of ChatGPT in November 2022, attention has focused on the ability of AI software to write in natural language.

While some writers might be tempted to submit stories composed by ChatGPT or similar software, entrants are reminded that all shortlisted stories will be checked by plagiarism-testing software to verify their originality.

Please follow the instructions below if your entry may raise any issues relating to the matters discussed here.



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.


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


Please follow the below instructions carefully to ensure your entry/submission is valid:

1) Entrants must first register and pay an entry fee via THIS Eventbrite form

Entry fees: $60 OPEN category / $30 SECONDARY SCHOOL Category

You will be required to provide the following information:

  • author’s name
  • email address
  • mailing address
  • telephone number
  • name of school (if entering the Secondary School Competition)
  • title of story
  • declaration of eligibility


2) Ensure your story is prepared correctly for submission using THIS Word template:

Length: Maximum 3,000 words.

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

Include only the title and text of your story on the document: do not indicate the author’s name or any other personal details.

Save the Word document with the following file name: “SECONDNAME_FIRSTNAME2023” (e.g. for Anita Sample: “ROBERTSON_ANITA2023.doc/.docx”)

The judging panel will not receive your name or any personal details when reviewing each submission.


3) Submit your story by Close of Business (GMT+10) on 31 August 2023:

Online upload (preferred) using THIS secure Dropbox upload link; OR

Posted hard copy to: Roly Sussex Short Story Competition, PO Box 1429, Milton BC, QLD 406′

Email rolysussexstory@esu.org.au with any queries.

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