You Write the Stuff!

VOYAGER: THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY. VOYAGER 1 left Planet Earth on 5 September 1977, forty years ago. It took off after VOYAGER 2, which launched in August 1977. (Yes, we know! It confused journalists at the time, but the launch dates were to do with windows of opportunity necessary for the different missions of the two spacecraft – really!). VOYAGER 1 entered interstellar space in 2013 and is currently about 13 billion miles (or 21 billion kilometres) away from Planet Earth. VOYAGER 2 has yet to reach interstellar space but is right on its tail. Both Voyagers send signals home every day, which take up to 18 hours to reach us. Should the probes be picked up by interstellar travellers they will still insist on bleeping ‘Phone home!’ and pointing at Earth, so let’s hope the aliens are friendly. (Photo courtesy of NASA)


On these pages you will find competitions and other opportunities for authors, performance writers for stage and screen, illustrators and filmmakers. See entries below the quick list for more detailed information.

  • THE WOLLONGONG WRITERS FESTIVAL SHORT STORY PRIZE will be awarded for a story up to 2,500 words on the theme ‘World-Changing Words’. Entries close on Friday, 15 September 2017.
  • All writers are invited to enter this year’s HORNE PRIZE with an essay of up to 3,000 words addressing some part of the theme ‘Australian life’. Entrants need not be published or professional writers, but craft skills of professional calibre are essential. Entries close on Monday, 18 September 2017.



Who: Wollongong Writers Festival.


Entries close: Friday, 15 September 2017.

Contact: For guidelines, the entry form and payment details, visit the website at Read the Terms and Conditions carefully and email if you’re still unsure. To enter, please pay the entrance fee of $15 via Paypal (see the website) then email your entry to Your story should be attached as a Word document or PDF.

Cost: $15. There is no limit on the number of entries.

What’s happening: The Rules. THE WOLLONGONG WRITERS FESTIVAL SHORT STORY PRIZE will be awarded for a story up to 2,500 words on the theme ‘World-Changing Words’. The theme can be interpreted as broadly and playfully as you like. Feel free to experiment with form and content but make sure that you keep your submission within the word count. 

This is an international competition, so writers located outside Australia can also enter. All entries must be in English but works translated by the author into English will be accepted. All entrants will receive a confirmation email when their entry is received.

Please note that as part of the submission process you will be subscribed to the festival’s newsletter. You may find it helpful to read the winning and highly commended stories from the 2016 Wollongong Writers Festival Short Story Prize in Issue 19 of Mascara Literary Review.

About the Judges: CHRISTOPHER RAJA is the author of the novel The Burning Elephant (Giramondo, 2015) which was launched in China at the 9th annual international conference of the Asia Pacific Writers and Translators, Guangzhou. Christopher Raja migrated from Kolkata to Melbourne in 1986. He has been twice shortlisted for the Northern Territory Writers Centre’s Chief Minister’s Book of the Year award.

NATHAN LUFF holds a Bachelor of Arts (Theatre/Media) and a Graduate Diploma in Screenwriting from AFTRS. He juggles his time between writing, teaching and knitting stuffed animals. Nathan is the author of two novels for children (Chicken Stu and Bad Grammar) and as a playwright has produced a number of plays including Smashed, which was nominated for an AWGIE award (Australian Writers’ Guild) in the Community & Youth Theatre category.

The Prize: First Prize $1,000 and publication in Mascara Literary Review. Highly Commended $200.


Who: Aesop and The Saturday Paper.


Entries close: Monday, 18 September 2017.

Contact: For guidelines visit the website at and to enter, click on Any enquiries relating to the Prize should be emailed to:

Cost: NIL to enter.

What’s happening: The Rules. THE HORNE PRIZE is named for the late Donald Horne AO, in honour of his exceptional contribution to Australian letters. An eminent author, editor, journalist, academic and public intellectual, Donald Horne (1921-2005) is widely remembered for his book The Lucky Country, an incisive critique of Australian culture first published in 1964.

Horne’s writing career began in 1945, after his service with the AIF during World War II. He worked predominantly as a journalist and editor into the 1970s, on newspapers and magazines including The Daily TelegraphThe ObserverQuadrant and The Bulletin. In 1973, he joined the University of New South Wales, and on retirement was awarded the title of Emeritus Professor. Subsequently, he served as Chancellor of the University of Canberra.

Aesop and The Saturday Paper have been cultural partners since 2014, promoting the written word through an annual calendar of events. Together, they nurture writers of longform non-fiction through THE HORNE PRIZE, and essay award valued at $15,000.

All writers are invited to enter this year’s Horne Prize, which will be presented in early December 2017, for an essay of up to 3,000 words that addresses some part of the theme ‘Australian life’ – shining light on a particular aspect of who we are from a contemporary perspective, be that a profile or a reported feature centred on a particular issue, or a series of vignettes. The essay could be hard news or it could be something softer, so long as it is grounded in interviews and observation.

Entrants need not be published or professional writers, but craft skills of professional calibre are essential. Taking cues from Donald Horne’s rigorous exploration of Australian culture, essays should be founded on reportage, and bring light to a person or issue that helps us to understand who we are. For a benchmark, we suggest reading last year’s winning essay, Anna Spargo-Ryan’s The Suicide Gene, and the work of other prominent contemporary essayists.

The Prize: $15,000. The winning entrant will be notified by the Promoters on 4 December and their name announced publicly on 23 December 2017, simultaneous with publication in The Saturday Paper.






VOYAGER: THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY. They had a dream! In August 1977 NASA'S VOYAGER MISSION began on a journey to Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and beyond. From the first detection of active volcanoes outside Earth to the first up-close images of Neptune, the 40-year Odyssey of NASA's Voyager mission is full of unforgettable memories. The Voyager spacecraft were built by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, which continues to operate both. JPL is. The Voyager missions are a part of the NASA Heliophysics System Observatory, sponsored by the Heliophysics Division of the Science Mission Directorate in Washington (visit the websites at and for more information about the Voyager spacecraft). In honour of their 40th launch anniversaries, scientists and engineers who have worked with the spacecraft, as well as enthusiasts inspired by the mission, were asked to SHARE THEIR MOST MEANINGFUL VOYAGER MOMENTS. Some Voyager team members began their careers in the early days of the mission. Designing science sequences for the 1986 Uranus encounter was a first job after college for Suzanne Dodd, now the Voyager project manager: ‘We were making history,’ she said. Read these stories and more at (Montage by L.J. May)