Poetry and Fiction Competition

By Right Now
writing on notepad

Right Now is holding a short fiction and poetry competition! We encourage creative and striking compositions, and the entries must have some connection to human rights in Australia – whether those rights pertain to children, women, Indigenous people, asylum seekers, prisoners, the LGBT community, and so on.

The winning poem and the winning short story will be awarded $500 in prize money each and will be published in Right Now’s highly anticipated print anthology. All shortlisted pieces will be published on our website.

The fiction competition will be judged by Anna Funder and Tony Birch, and the poetry competition will be judged by Benjamin Solah, Maxine Beneba-Clarke and Amanda Anastasi.

Writers may submit up to 3 pieces of work. Fiction should not be longer than 3000 words, and poetry should not be more than 50 lines. All submissions must be previously unpublished. All entires will be read anonymously.

Send your entries to submissions@rightnow.org.au with either “fiction competition” or “poetry competition” in the subject line.

Feel free to email Erin (erin[at]rightnow.org.au) if you have further questions about the competition.

The competition closes at 5pm on Friday, 31 January 2014. Shortlists will be announced on 1 March 2014.

Our first Poetry and Fiction competition has drawn to a close. We received an overwhelming number of submissions and thank everyone who submitted their creative work. We would like to congratulate all shortlisted writers – their works are listed here in no particular order.


They Leave by Night, by Sharon Hammad

Number 631, by Robert Verdon

Hope Road, by Kathleen McLeod

The Long House, TM Collins

No Asians. Your desire, by Jake Dennis

The Single Father, by Tiggy Johnson

Another World, by Margaret Ruckert

Borderlands, by Hayley Elliott-Ryan


Wednesday is Cooking Day, by Laura McPhee-Browne

Short Story ideas about Violence, After Doris Lessing, by Sam Wilson

Anna Be Quick, by Jamie Derkenne

Akinyi Martha (full stop), by Filipa Bellette

Sediment, by Alice Bishop

After, by Christy Collins

Here are the Dogs, by Laura McPhee-Browne

Hard Rubbish, by Rose Hartley

All shortlisted pieces will be published on the website during the month of March. Be sure to check this page for links to read these incredible works.

Additionally, we will now announce the competition winners and runners up:

Poetry Winner: No Asians. Your desire, by Jake Dennis

Poetry Runner Up: Number 631 by Robert Verdon

Fiction Winner: Akinyi Martha, by Filipa Bellette

Fiction Runners Up: Hard Rubbish, by Rose Hartley; and
Short Story Ideas about Violence, After Doris Lessing, by Sam Wilson

We hope you can celebrate these creative pieces with us at the launch of the anthology, around 29 May 2014.


  • Carrie

    Hi there!

    Just wanted to ask if the 50 line max rule excludes spaces or includes them?


    • Erin

      Hi Carrie,
      Thanks for your question. The 50 line rule excludes spaces.
      Best of luck in the competition!
      The Right Now Team.

  • Josh

    Hello, just wondering if only unpublished material means I can’t enter a poem I’m simultaneously entering into another competition?

    • Erin

      Hi Josh,

      As your poem isn’t published, you can submit it to us as well as for another competition. If your poem does become published before 31 January, this would make your work ineligible for the prize, and we would ask you to let us know by emailing submissions@rightnow.org.au.

      Best of luck!


  • Christina Aitken

    Hi, just wondering if a single poetry entry can include a set of small related poems – eg Haiku?

    Cheers Christina

    • Erin

      Hi Christina,

      A single poetry entry can include a set of small related poems, provided it doesn’t exceed the 50-line limit, and it can be read as a cohesive work.

      Best of luck!


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  • AG

    Hi there,
    Will the entries be read blind?

  • Stevie


    I’m just wondering what format to send the entry in. Can it be sent as a word attachment to an email or is another format preferred?

    Thanks 🙂

    • Erin

      Hi Stevie,

      Attaching it as a word doc would be perfect, thanks! We look forward to reading your submission.

      Best of luck,


  • Erin Handley

    Hi AG,
    Yes, entires will be read blind.
    Best of luck,

  • Stevie

    Thanks Erin 🙂

  • ERB

    Should we put our name in the word document of our piece, or not, since it is being read blind?

    Thanks 🙂

    • Erin Handley

      Hi ERB,
      Ideally it would be best not to include your name in the piece – just in the email you send through. However, as a back up, we will have one person from our team to ensure that names are removed from the pieces we read. Best of luck for the competition.

  • Lucy N

    Is free verse poetry accepted?

    • Erin Handley

      Hi Lucy,
      Absolutely! We look forward to reading your submission.
      Best of luck for the competition,

  • Sarah

    Hi there,
    I was wondering if there are any age restrictions or not..?
    Sarah A.

    • Erin Handley

      Hi Sarah,
      We have no age restriction.
      Best of luck for the competition,

  • Stevie


    I was just wondering if should expect a confirmation of entry email? My computer is having a few troubles. I sent my entry through, just wanted to ensure it got to you guys 🙂

    Thank you! 🙂

    • Stevie

      Confirmation received. Thank you 🙂

  • I’m definitely interested in this an will have a Go, because one of my loves is Writing.

    • Erin

      Fantastic Stephen, best of luck.

  • Ed

    When I email my entry, where do I write my name and details?

  • Erin

    Hi Ed,

    You can include your name and other details in the email you send to submissions[at]rightnow.org.au. We will assign your piece a number to read it anonymously.

    Best of luck!


  • Josh

    Thankyou Erin, I submitted my poem at 4:57 pm on the 31st in WA, but that means it was 7:57 pm Eastern Standard Time. It wasn’t specified which Time Line was acceptable, I’m not sure if that made a difference, and if my poem 7 has been accepted to be judged or not?

  • Sarah

    When will the short list be announced?

  • Hi, I was wondering where to find the short list for the competition? Thank you.

  • You said in your email that a shortlist would be announced early February, and winners announced on February 14. None of these things have happened. Why have you not kept your contestants up to date with the manifest changes you have made to this competition? If your contestants are not informed, how can you expect to maintain trust for future competitions?

  • Ed

    Any updates on the competitions?

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