Sydney Hammond Memorial Short Story Winners 2023

Sydney Hammond Memorial Short Story Winners 2023

Sydney Hammond Memorial Short Story Competition

This is the news you’ve been waiting for! The competition’s judges, the Brisbane Scribes writing group and Hawkeye’s Meesha Whittam and Alex Wilson, have been meticulously evaluating the shortlisted ten stories to decide on the overall winners for the 2023 Sydney Hammond Memorial Short Story Competition.
These top three stories, as well as the winner of the junior category, display a mastery of writing techniques and keep the reader absorbed throughout the story.
Hawkeye congratulates the top three entrants for their exceptional achievement, and is thrilled to announce the winners of the 2023 competition. 


The winning short story is:

Mr Popperwell Takes the Lead by Ned Stephenson.
Here is what the Brisbane Scribes have to say about Mr Popperwell Takes the Lead:
‘A well-written, witty story with sharply observed details, this entry was a standout favourite with the judges. As one, we commented on the very clever use of humour, which is an acknowledged skill in a short story. The development of the characters was well done, particularly that of Mr. Popperwell. The author’s play on words was also notable, as was the well-chosen title.’

The runner-up is:
Breakfast by Pete Armstrong.
‘In Breakfast, the use of detour was unexpected and particularly memorable,’ the Scribes say. ‘Very well written with a clever twist in the tail, the author has used words economically while still maintaining tension through to the story’s surprising resolution.

Third place honours go to:
Lefty Righty by Kathleen Klug.
Lefty Righty makes wonderful use of a children’s game to mask the darker elements of a story played out too often. The tension builds quickly to a surprising and unexpected ending. The story shows rather than tells very well and finishes with a thought-provoking final sentence.’

The winning story in the junior category is:
The Bicycle of Forgotten Things by Pippini Niamh
‘Congratulate yourselves on a fantastic effort,’ says Carolyn Martinez. ‘It has been a pleasure to read these three excellent stories, and this year’s entries confirm the high quality of Australian writing talent.’
All three winners receive a year-long membership to the Queensland Writers Centre. The overall winner, Ned Stephenson, also receives a coveted ticket to the Children and Young Adult (CYA) Conference for 2024, and the cover of the 2023 anthology of the competition will be designed based on Mr Popperwell Takes the Lead.

What Makes a Winner?
As our judges have seen, engaging short stories can take on a variety of forms, writing styles, themes, and plot shapes, but there are some important things that winning stories have in common.
Experienced writers know what to leave out of a short story as well as what to leave in. Hawkeye’s Director, Carolyn Martinez, shares the following tip:
‘You’ve only got 1000 words for the Sydney Hammond Memorial competition, so every word needs to be placed strategically. Prioritise the most compelling aspects of the story – action, character, and mood – rather than explaining information. Remember that “showing” one small detail can do the work of “telling” a whole backstory of a character, and it’s much more engaging for readers.’
Uniqueness is another characteristic of winning entries. Short stories can offer us an interesting and unique way of perceiving the world, either through the idea and plot, or through the narrator’s perspective. In the winning stories, the narrative voice is unique and interesting, and complements the themes of the stories as well as showing us the characters’ personalities.
For further advice, consider purchasing a copy of the five-star writing guide Winning Short Story Competitions: Essential Tools for the Serious Writer, by Cate Sawyer and L. E. Daniels, from Hawkeye’s online store, or borrowing it from your local library.

Thank You to Our Judges
The judges of this year’s Sydney Hammond Memorial Short Story Competition were the Brisbane Scribes writing group, and Hawkeye’s Meesha Whittam and Alex Wilson. Hawkeye thanks the judges for their thoughtful consideration of all the entries, and for their expert insight on what makes a short story brilliant.
The Brisbane Scribes was founded in 2020 and comprises a group of talented and highly experienced Brisbane-based writers, editors, and literature enthusiasts: Jo Skinner, Jane Connolly, Jennifer Adams, Bernadette Condren, Marnie Bolton, and Tatia Power.
Meesha Whittam is a University of Queensland Creative Writing graduate and has been a publicist at Hawkeye for a year and a half.
Alex Wilson, assisting Meesha, is a volunteer editor at Hawkeye. Alex learnt her craft in a Bachelor of Creative Industries from the University of South Australia, majoring in Creative Writing and Literature.

Thank you to all entrants
Hawkeye extends a sincere thank you and congratulations to all entrants in the Sydney Hammond Memorial Short Story Competition. The judges were impressed by the quality of this year’s submissions, and encourage all entrants, regardless of whether or not they made the longlist, to keep crafting clever and creative stories.
The anthology will be published on the 1st of December, 2023. The top forty entrants will receive a complimentary copy of the anthology.
‘There’s nothing quite like holding a published copy of your work in your hands!’ Carolyn Martinez says. ‘We at Hawkeye are looking forward to releasing the 2023 anthology of the Sydney Hammond Memorial Short Story Competition, and we hope you have all enjoyed this competition as much as we have.’
We hope to read your stories once again in the 2024 competition. It’s never too early to start brainstorming for next year’s theme, which is: The look that said it all.

Thank You to Our Sponsors

Sydney Hammond Memorial Short Story Competition
Details of next year’s writing competition available here.

Want to learn how to write a great Short Story?
Then why not buy a copy of Winning Short Story Competitions. Written by two highly experienced editors and published authors, you’ll get all the best tips and advice to help you take your writing to the next level.

Winning Short Story Competitions
Winning Short Story Competitions
Need help with your manuscript?
Hawkeye’s Structural Assessment service provides exceptional editing skills to help you polish your work and bring it to a publishable level. For more information visit Hawkeye Publishing.
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