Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Ten days to enter Sunday Star-Times Short Story Awards

New Zealand writers now have ten days left to get in their entries for the prestigious Sunday Star-Times Short Story Awards, which since their inception in 1984 have become a shining light on the NZ literary scene - and in particular both a champion of and a showcase for New Zealand short fiction. This year, for the first time, there will also be a Peoples Choice Award (a new category where the winner is decided by public vote, from online extracts of the top 10 entries), in addition to the usual suspects; Open Division (1st, 2nd, and 3rd prizes), Secondary School Division (1st, 2nd, and 3rd prizes), and Best Unpublished Writer. There are $13,000 in prizes to be won, along with the chance to be published, of course.

The competition closes on Friday 28 August 2009. The terms & conditions of entry can be found at: http://www.stuff.co.nz/sunday-star-times/entertainment/more-entertainment-stories/short-story-competition/2554934/Short-Story-Awards-terms-and-conditions

The entry form (which has been in the past few issues of the Sunday Star-Times) can also be downloaded from: http://multimedia.stuff.co.nz/sstimes/EntryA5.pdf

There is a long and strong tradition of excellent crime fiction short stories. It could be said that crime fiction as we know it today started (Edgar Allan Poe) and then was popularised (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - Sherlock Holmes) more than 100 years ago via the medium of the short story.

So how about seeing some crime-related short stories in this year's competition? C'mon you Kiwi crime writers and budding writers - you have ten days left to pen 3000wds (or less). Wouldn't it be great to see a crime or mystery story do well this year?

Every year periodicals such as Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Crime Wave, and The Strand Magazine publish hundreds of new, exciting, crime fiction short stories. Hundreds more, from crime writers known and new, are published as part of anthologies, such as The Best American Mystery Stories, and The Best British Mysteries - often edited by high-profile international crime writing stars like Michael Connelly.

So come on Kiwis - let's write some (short) crime!

As an example of the competition, you can read the 2007 Open Division winner here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/sunday-star-times/entertainment/more-entertainment-stories/short-story-competition/15088/Necropolis-2007-winner


  1. I got myself organised and posted an entry in earlier in the week, although it is not, strictly speaking, crime.

    Short stories are not normally my thing, but I thought what have I got to loose?!

  2. exactly. though looking at the comments about some of the previous winners from the judges, it does seem that (unfortunately) they favour quirky little 'slice of life' stories that make you think or feel, or sound nice language-wise, without actually having any real 'story' as such.

    Hopefully this is just because it's what the judges get - rather than because of any inherent bias against anything else.

    Good luck Vanda! It would be awesome to see you feature, crime or not.