Roly Sussex Short Story Competition


The Roly Sussex Short Story Competition celebrates and rewards the use of the English language to do its most important job – to provoke through stories that effectively and powerfully use language as their tool. The judges look for stories that thrill, entertain and then leave an aftertaste for the mind but with the discipline of brevity essential for a short story. Our panel has a variety of backgrounds and different experiences of reading, writing and publishing. We are united by the passion the competition’s namesake has for language, both its beauty and precision. The range of winners and finalists over the years shows the range of interests that will capture the judges’ attention. But they carry one common attribute – each of them is a story worth sharing, written skilfully. These stories showcase the English language at its best.

David Fagan, Chair of the Judging Panel

The short story is a special genre of its own. Far from being just a cut-down version of the resonant caverns of long-form novelists like Tolstoy or Proust, in the hands of writers like Chekhov or Maupassant it has its own proper space and dimensions, its own rhythm. Its very brevity is an art form and a challenge. Each word counts, and one superfluous word can destroy the whole. Like a Schubert Lied compared to an opera, or an impromptu compared to a symphony, a short story is concentrated, sharp, focused, and all the details count. It isn’t easy to be brief and excellent. Achieving a successful short story is a wonderful act of focusing the mind on what is strictly necessary, and resolutely excluding everything that is not.

Roly Sussex


IMG_7444.JPG David Fagan is a former decade-long editor and editor-in-chief of The Courier-Mail. He is the author of four nonfiction books and has contributed to many others. He has been a judge of the competition for six years and chair of its judging panel the past two.
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Emeritus Professor Roland (Roly) Sussex, OAM, FQA, Chevalier des Palmes Académiques

Roly Sussex retired from the position of Professor of Applied Language Studies at the University of Queensland in 2010. Since then he has been president of the Alliance Française (Brisbane) and the English-Speaking Union (Queensland Branch). He is involved in research into pain and communication, and intercultural communication. He fulfils a role as a public intellectual by radio broadcasting on language with the ABC in Queensland (since 1997) and South Australia (since 2000), and a wide-ranging program of public speaking to professional and community groups.

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