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Brotherhood of St Laurence

Searching for the modern Henry Lawson: calling all writers for short story prize exploring poverty and resilience

Tuesday, 29 December, 2015

Searching for the modern Henry Lawson: calling all writers for short story prize exploring poverty and resilience

Writers from across the country are being encouraged to enter The Hope Prize for short stories to be judged by actor Cate Blanchett, author Kate Grenville and former governor general Quentin Bryce.

With a January 31, 2016 deadline, the new national competition aims to explore hope and resilience in the face of poverty and disadvantage, and is a thought-provoking summer project for writers.

The Brotherhood of St Laurence anti-poverty organisation has assembled the high-profile judging panel to encourage authors from communities around Australia to tackle a subject that is all too often hidden from public view or reduced to stereotypes.

The inaugural The Hope Prize will have a total prize pool of $12,500, including a first prize of $5000 and an award for an emerging writer under 18.
Brotherhood spokesperson Farah Farouque said: "Our short story competition is called The Hope Prize because we want to see storytelling that reflects the resilience we know that people show in the face of poverty and testing times.

“This is a great opportunity for writers to hone their craft, and for some it will be the chance to reflect on their own life experiences. We are keen to see stories that convey the experience of people facing hardship – whether they live in cities, suburbs, towns, rural areas or the most remote regions of Australia.

“If we are lucky, we might discover a contemporary Henry Lawson, one of our great short story writers.’’

Cate Blanchett said she was pleased to support the aims of the competition. "The stories we tell ourselves are a reflection of who we are. To be excluded from such national imaginings is to live a half-life. I am excited to take part in the Brotherhood short story competition and look forward to reading the stories that shine a light on disadvantage."

Kate Grenville, one of Australia's best-known writers, said she was delighted to participate in such a good project: "Stories enrich both the storyteller and the story-reader, bringing new understanding and new perspectives to both."

Quentin Bryce says she would like to see The Hope Prize help raise community awareness and cultivate new audiences: "Poverty and disadvantage are pressing issues in contemporary Australia, especially in outer suburbs and rural areas. This important new short story competition will help illuminate this to new audiences. I congratulate the Brotherhood of St Laurence for their initiative."

$12,500 prize pool for The Hope Prize

Thanks to the generosity of the late Prudence Myer and the support of her family, in addition to the $5000 first prize, the competition includes $3000 for the second prize winner, $2000 as third prize and writers of highly commended stories will be awarded $500 each.

The short story entered for The Hope Prize can be fiction or fact. Whatever the genre, the story submitted must convey the experience of people facing hardship in their lives. The deadline for entry is 31 January, 2016. Stories submitted must be between 2000 and 5000 words.

The Brotherhood of St Laurence’s The Hope Prize is also supported by publisher Simon & Schuster and book retailer Readings.

For further information on how to enter and competition rules visit

MEDIA: Brotherhood spokesperson Farah Farouque is available for interview - please contact Bill Snaddon on 0424 751 926 or