Sydney Hammond Memorial Short Story Writing Competition


 The 2022 Sydney Hammond Memorial Short Story Competition is now open. 

Competition Details

Competition Details:

2022 Theme: Water Under the Bridge

Water under bridge


First prize $250AU Hawkeye Publishing Gift Voucher + anthology cover based on the winner’s story.
Short-Listed and Long-Listed announced.
TOP 40 published in an anthology – free copy to all published entrants.

(Sponsorship Opportunities Available – Contact Carolyn)

Closes 6PM Monday 1st August 2022

Maximum 1,000 words 

Theme: Water Under the Bridge

$15AU entry

We’re looking for jolly good tales. Show us the positive. The growth. The light-hearted. The heart-warming. The gut-wrenchingly beautiful. Sadness can feature, but we’re looking for evolution in the mix.

Critical thinking, humour, difference will be highly regarded.  

The theme WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE is expansive, allowing for imaginations to run wild. If you’re unsure where to start, here are some prompts to get you started. You may write of, for example, about life choices made by an individual, a group, or a government. It can be a fictional tale or a fictional tale inspired by a true story. Your character might reflect on how choices made by others affected their own life, or how they are gripped with indecision as they face a life altering situation and how they will reflect on their decision in the future. The possibilities are endless. These are just a few suggestions and we look forward to reading your stories and seeing where your mind takes you.

Judges are looking for the following:

  • Writing ability: correct tense, point of view, minimal redundant words and adverbs, show not tell.
  • Story arc: rising tension, climax, resolution.
  • Adherence to the competition theme.
  • Spelling & Grammar.
  • Layout conforms to the competition guidelines.

Read this feature from the 2020 competition for notes from the judges on what made the published 40 stand out from the field.

Want an insight into the types of stories that win first prize and get published in our anthology?           Then grab a copy of the 2021 Anthology, Jump and find out. Details here.

Judges : 

L. E. Daniels – Bestselling author, writing teacher, and editor with over 90 published books to her editing portfolio.

C T Mitchell – Bestselling international mystery crime writer.

Kylie Kaden – a thrilling voice in Australian Domestic Noir. Her second book Missing You was nominated People’s Choice Awards 2015.

Carolyn Martinez – Director, Hawkeye Publishing + Editor + Author.

Prize Pool :

  • Winner: $250AU Hawkeye Gift Voucher + Anthology front cover design based on winner’s story.
  • Shortlisted (2nd – 4th placed) names published.
  • Top 40 stories will be published in an anthology. All those published receive a free copy of the anthology.

Shortlisted (Top 10) and Longlisted (11-40) finalists names will be published on

Judges can’t wait to read your stories!

Great feedback on our competition

Thanks for all the lovely feedback you send us on the Sydney Hammond Memorial Short Story Competition, like this one from Finola on 2/8/21 – ‘Really appreciate the work that goes into such competitions and the opportunity it provides. Kudos to the organisers!’

Read about last year’s long listed here.

See last year’s anthology, Reset, here. The theme for 2020 was If Only.

We recommend Winning Short Story Competitions as an essential writing guide. Competition judges L. E. Daniels and C. Sawyer show what it takes to win, short-list and long-list in competitions. Short list and long list credits are just as beneficial to a writer’s career, as wins are.

Hawkeye Publishing extends a huge thank you to our Gold Sponsors of the inaugural prize in 2019, Tony and Christine Hammond (Sydney Hammond’s son and daughter-in-law), for enabling the winner’s cash prize, the printing of the 40 anthologies for the Top 40, and the cover design for the book!

And Karen & Shane Traversari – Silver sponsors – we thank you, thank you.

Hawkeye Publishing extends a big thank you to Lynette Hammond (Sydney Hammond’s daughter) and Silvana Nagl for sponsoring proofreading services!

It was a family & friends affair to launch the inaugural Sydney Hammond Memorial Short Story Competition in 2019…

Editing, Page Setting, Distribution & Sales, and Publicity provided by Carolyn Martinez (Sydney Hammond’s daughter) through Hawkeye Publishing.

Who was Sydney?

Who is Sydney (Syd) Hammond?

Syd Hammond appeared to be like any ordinary guy. But those who loved him, knew different. He was so much more than ordinary. Syd was born in 1937 and died in 2007, aged 70. As a teenager he taught himself to play guitar. When rock-n-roll first sounded on radio there wasn’t sheet music to follow. Syd and his mates crowded into booths at record stores. They listened keenly to identify their instruments. He hand-made his first electric guitar. He was one of the first Brisbane musicians to play music on TV. 

In 1964, Syd received a bravery award for capturing one of Queensland’s most wanted criminals – Bernard Morrow. Driving in his police patrol car, Syd noticed a drunk driver. He pulled him over, and casually suggested the gent go to the police station to sleep it off before he drove any further. Bernard Morrow complied. At the station, with Bernard sleeping it off, Syd sat at a desk and a WANTED poster caught his eye.  Staring back at him were the eyes of the man already locked in the cell. He orated with glee the story of luck getting him a bravery award.

Syd portrayed a quintessential Aussie spirit of larrikin, ‘give it a go, mate’, mateship, and do the best you can for your family. Syd loved Australia. He believed in standing up for what you believe in. He believed that music, art, humour and stories are the drumbeats that bring people together.

Tragedy struck in 2000 when his daughter, Julie, and son-in-law, John, were murdered by an intruder. The grief and injustice ran deep. When tragedy strikes we’re reminded of what really matters in our lives. When families are so harmed they often look to transform their heartbreak into community support for others to find the positive.

The Sydney Hammond Memorial Short Story Competition to honour his memory was founded by his family.

For Carolyn, Syd’s daughter and the Director of Hawkeye Publishing, words are held with reverence. The ability to articulate to be meaningful, thought-provoking and entertaining fosters community, understanding, change, healing, celebrating all that should not be taken for granted.

Words are powerful, and our wish with this competition is to acknowledge talented wordsmiths and give writers the opportunity to be heard.

The competition is not-for-profit—profit from the year before is used as the following year’s prize money. Judges announce the winner, short-list, long-list and Best 5 Junior. These top 45 stories are published in an anthology, and all those published receive a free copy of the book. Guidelines and entry form can be found at

Hawkeye Publishing thanks the inaugural sponsors who made the competition possible: Tony & Christine Hammond (gold sponsors), Lynette Hammond, and Shane & Karen Traversari. We also thank our current gold sponsor: Brisbane Writers Workshop.

Entry Form

Entry Form

Terms & Conditions

Competition Terms & Conditions

Entry Terms and Conditions 2022 – Sydney Hammond Short Story Award

By entering a piece in the Sydney Hammond Short Story Award – a writing competition – you agree to be bound by the following terms and conditions.

  1. Entries close 6pm EST Monday, 1st August, 2022.
  2. The word limit is 1,000. This includes titles and any sub-headings. There is no minimum.
  3. Submit your entry in Times New Roman, 12 point font, 1.5 line spacing with paragraph first line tab indent. Your name must not appear on your story. Word or PDF acceptable. You must address the theme – Water Under the Bridge. Maximum 1,000 words.
  4. Entries can be fiction, or fiction inspired by true events.
  5. Winner receives $250 Hawkeye Publishing Gift Voucher for professional services (ie. editing or author coaching or cover design) + Anthology front cover design based on winner’s story. Shortlisted (2nd – 4th placed) names published.
    Top 40 stories will be published in an anthology, and all those published receive a free copy of the anthology. 
  6. Your story must not include your name or any identifying marks.
  7. Entry is online only.
  8. Entries must be the original work of the applicant and must not be published in any form or currently offered for publication.
  9. If you prefer your story published under a pseudonym, there is an optional field on the entry form.
  10. Entrants are welcome to submit more than one story. There is no limit on number of entries. A separate entry form, and separate entry fee of $15 (incl. GST) must accompany each entry.
  11. You must acknowledge any quotes from other writers that you use.
  12. Staff of Hawkeye Publishing and competition judges and their family members are not eligible to enter the Sydney Hammond Memorial Short Story  Competition.
  13. The judges’ decisions are final and no correspondence will be entered into with either the judges, or the staff.
  14. By entering the Sydney Hammond Short Story Writing Competition, the author gives permission to Hawkeye Publishing to publish his/her work in the anthology if selected by the judges. The copyright to the work is always retained by the author. As publisher of the anthology, Hawkeye Publishing will have First Publication Rights to all submitted works and may use any title or phrase from any entry for the purpose of promoting the competition and the anthology. Any collection or publication subsequent to the Sydney Hammond Memorial Short Story Competition that includes the author’s story should acknowledge Hawkeye Publishing.
  15. Prize winners may be required to participate in media-related events associated with the competition.
  16. By supplying your contact details you agree to us sending you opt-out correspondence.
  17. The finalists to be published in the anthology will be announced on this website and across our social media channels early October 2022.