Saturday, August 08, 2009

Republican challenge to Australian writers

2009 is a milestone as it will be 10 years on 6 November 2009 since the republican referendum was lost. To commemorate this event and to remind Australians what they still don’t have the Australian Republican Movement is running the First National Republican Short Story Competition.

Short stories will be required to portray an Australian republican future in a positive light and demonstrate the absurdity of a hereditary monarch as the Australian Head of State in twenty-first century Australian society.

It seems strange there is no tradition of republican speculative fiction in Australia. In colonial times there were republican poets such as Charles Harpur writing in the 1840s and 1850s, and republican writers such as John Dunmore Lang and Daniel Deniehy in the 1850s and William Lane, Henry Lawson and John Norton in the 1880s and 1890s. But where have been the republican stories for the past century? There have certainly been many republican writers during this time but almost no examples where republican settings or arguments have been explored in Australian fiction. Republican arguments and explorations of the past and imaginations of the future are always written within the framework of constitutional debates.

Where do the people of Australia fit into this? Where are their myths and stories to tell and retell and remember about Australia’s emerging republican identity?

This First National Republican Short Story Competition challenges Australia’s fiction writers to speculate on the possible futures of the Australian republic.

Speculative fiction writers deal with possibilities.

They speculate.

They make the future seem real.

However, we can’t achieve anything unless we imagine it first. Before every great invention and before every great journey is the idea. Without ideas and imagination, we are all trapped in the past.

So, the Australian Republican Movement (Q) would like to point the way forward through Australian stories with a republican backdrop. They don’t have to be political thrillers or constitutional whodunits as long as they are an exploration of our future, our republican future.

Entry Form.

The Australian Republican Movement invites submissions of original short stories to be considered for the First National Republican Short Story Competition.

How to enter

Simply fill in the entry form and send together with a cheque for $11.99 and your republican speculative fiction short story to:

Australian Republican Movement
PO Box 87
Geebung QLD 4034

Entries must be the original work of the entrant and must not have won another competition.

First prize is $611.99

Personal Details

Given Name(s) / Surname__________________________________________________
Postal address______________________________________________
Email address______________________________________________
Story title_________________________________________________

Please write the title of your story on each page of your submission.By submitting my entry into the competition I agree to be bound by the terms and conditions of the competition. (posted at )

Signature _______________________ Date _________

Entries will be accepted until close of business on 31 August 2009.

Further information contact or go to

Competition Terms and Conditions.

1. Entry is open to all Australian residents. Entry forms can be downloaded from

2. The purpose of the short story competition is to promote non-constitutional change towards an Australian republic and to remind Australians what they still do not have.

3. Short stories will be required to portray an Australian republican future in a positive light and demonstrate the absurdity of a hereditary monarch as Australian Head of State in twenty-first century Australian society.

4. First prize is $611.99. The First Prize and Short Listed stories are eligible for publication in Republican Roundup and on the ARM website. Copyright of each short story will remain with the author.

5. Entry fee is $11.99 (incl GST). Each additional submission fee is $6.11 (incl GST) Entry fees are to be paid by money order or cheque to Australian Republican Movement. Please do not send cash.

6. Entries must be unpublished and not have won any other awards. Each manuscript entered must meet all of the following requirements:
* Length -- 2000 to 4000 words
* Typed -- double spaced on one side of the paper
* Title Page -- must include your name, address, phone number, story title, length, and email
* Do not submit originals. Manuscripts will not be returned.
* While appropriate colourful language might be accepted (within moderation), entries must not contain extreme foul language, racial or sexually explicit content that would render the entry unsuitable for publication.
* Electronic copies will be accepted at
* Deadline -- postmarked on or before 31 August 2009 (Advice: enter early -- avoid deadline crush)

7. The competition will be judged by Nick Earls, Professor Brian Matthews, Professor John Warhurst, and Dr Glenn Davies. The judging committee will select the best short stories from the qualified entries and determine the winners. The decision of the judging committee is final.8. The prize money will be awarded by Australian Republican Movement in accordance with the decision of the judging committee. First Prize will be publicised on 6 November 2009. Each contestant after 6 November 2009 will receive the following information: Name of the competition winner / Name and background of the judges / The 2009 competition statistics9. Mail signed official entry form and your manuscript (s) on or before 31 August 2009 to: Australian Republican Movement (Qld), PO Box 87, Geebung Q 403410. If you have any questions, please feel free to email or post a blog query at

Best of luck!

Judging Panel announced.

The judging panel was announced on 1 May 2009 for the First National Republican Short Story Competition.

Nick Earls is the author of twelve books, including bestselling novels such as Zig Zag Street, Bachelor Kisses, Perfect Skin and World of Chickens. His contribution to writing in Queensland led to him being awarded the Queensland Writers Centre’s inaugural Johnno award in 2001 and a Centenary Medal in 2003.

Professor Brian Matthews is Honorary Professor of English at Flinders University. He has won the Victorian, New South Wales and Queensland Premiers' awards for literature and the Gold Medal of the Australian Literature Society. His most recent book is Manning Clark A Life.

Professor John Warhurst recently concluded fifteen years as Professor of Political Science at the Australian National University. He is Adjunct Professor at both ANU and Flinders University, Senior Deputy Chair, Australian Republican Movement and was ARM Chair from 2002 to 2005.

Dr Glenn Davies is Queensland State Secretary, Australian Republican Movement, a republican historian and author, and a 2008-2009 Aurealis Awards Speculative Fiction judge.