Woollahra Digital Literary Award
The Woollahra Digital Literary Award is a national literary award supporting innovation in Australian literature and publishing, encouraging writers producing work in a digital medium.
The award seeks submissions of a literary nature that are digitally born - published online or in electronic form.
Winners Announced for the 2019 Award
On Thursday 30 May we were delighted to host an evening to announce the winners of the 2019 Woollahra Digital Literary Award at Woollahra Library at Double Bay.
Fiction winner Rachel Ang for her vivid storytelling in Toot Toot from Going Down Swinging.
Non Fiction winner Fiona McGregor for her enlightening essay The Hot Desk: Working Hot by Mary Fallon from Sydney Review of Books.
Poetry winner Jason Nelson for his distinctive voice through Nine Billion Branches from Hyperrhiz.
We were thrilled to receive so many compelling entries this year, and thank our judges Stephen Pham, Sam Twyford-Moore and Pip Smith for their work as they compiled a shortlist and selected this year's winners.
The 2020 Digital Literary Award will open for entries in December 2019.
Fiction: Rachel Ang, Toot Toot
Judge’s comments: In Rachel Ang's “Toot Toot”, a run-in with an ex turns her protagonist's otherwise banal train trip into an emotional vivisection that transforms the landscape. Her protagonist moves from acting out on her jealousy to realising that these behaviours are as comforting as they are self-destructive to, at last, moving on, all of which is facilitated by Ang's concise writing, deft visual storytelling, and eye for detail. 'Toot Toot' offers storytelling that is vivid and specific, honest and illuminating. In excavating the journeys both on which we embark on a daily basis, Ang unsettles the familiar and skilfully makes familiar her protagonist's psychological landscape.
Non Fiction: Fiona McGregor, The Hot Desk: Working Hot by Mary Fallon
Judge’s comments: Fiona McGregor’s retrospective account of the publication and reception of Kathleen Mary Fallon’s little known 1989 novel Working Hot is a rich work of literary archiving and activism. This is far more than an account of a single (and singular) text – “Don’t worry, I’m not going to do a blow by blow exegesis,” McGregor assures us – as it captures a long history of intersections between Australian publishing and queer culture, while both positioning the book within global literature and documenting McGregor’s early and formative reading practice. Centering and prioritising quotes from Mary Fallon, McGregor writes with both political fire and an urgent comic vernacular. “The Hot Desk: Working Hot by Mary Fallon” is an exemplary and enlightening essay, one which demonstrates that literary criticism can be, and often is, at the forefront of forging new ways of writing non-fiction within digital spaces.
Poetry: Jason Nelson, Nine Billion Branches
Judge’s comments: The spaces “Nine Million Branches” by Jason Nelson encourages us to interact with the everyday: a shopping mall, a bedroom, a lounge room, a computer screen dizzy with words - but he uses the rabbit-warren-like structures of the web to direct our gaze in ways only possible in poetry, and online. Tiny details are circled in crude red pen, drawing us in to contemplate a quilt, an ear, an escalator. Once clicked on, the screen zooms in to a short poem, or shifts our gaze to see this object in a new way. The tone of his poem is cheeky and playful, as is the awkward, even sometimes ugly visual aesthetic. "Nine Billion Branches” by Jason Nelson has a distinctive voice, and is like nothing I have engaged with online before.
- Rachel Ang, Toot Toot, Going Down Swinging
- Alexander Bennetts, Osaka, Short Australian Stories
- Ashley Kalagian Blunt, My Name is Revenge, Spineless Wonders
- Rivqa Rafael, The Day Girl, Escape Artists
- Jonno Revanche, Step on Me, Seizure
Non Fiction Shortlist
- Evelyn Araluen, Snugglepot and Cuddlepie in the Ghost Gum, Sydney Review of Books
- Rebecca Giggs, The Leech Barometer, Granta
- Eda Gunaydin, Gothic Body, in Two Parts, Voiceworks
- Dan Hogan, Shitposting the Pain Away (Or All the Cars I Have Owned), Meanjin
- Fiona McGregor, The Hot Desk: Working Hot by Mary Fallon, Sydney Review of Books
- Kate Osana Simonian, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Stalker, Shenandoah
- Toby Fitch, Vague, Or I can’t Explain it Any Other Way, Overland
- Ross Gibson and Chris Abrahams, Holding Pattern, Cordite Poetry Review
- Jason Nelson, Nine Billion Branches, Hyperrhiz
- Barnaby Smith, Instructional: A baited poem, Nokturno.fi
- Christy Tan, Origami, Cordite Poetry Review
Categories and prizes
The Woollahra Digital Literary Award offers a Non Fiction, Fiction and Poetry prize for works published digitally in the first instance.
Non Fiction ($3,000 prize)
A monograph, collection of essays or a long essay - published in the first instance online or in an electronic format that can be accessed on a computer, tablet or mobile device. 3,000-80,000 words.
Fiction ($3,000 prize)
A novel, novella or short story collection - published in the first instance online or in an electronic format that can be accessed on a computer, tablet or mobile device. 3,000-80,000 words.
Poetry ($1,000 prize)
Works of poetry published in the first instance online or in an electronic format that can be accessed on a computer, tablet or mobile device. The maximum word count is 3,000 words, or 100 lines, whichever is greater. There is no minimum word count.
- Entries open: Monday 17 December 2018
- Entries close: Monday 11 March 2019
- Shortlist announced: Friday 10 May 2019
- Winners announced: Thursday 30 May 2019
Meet our judges for the 2019 Award.
Sam is the author of The Rapids: Ways of Looking at Mania, which was released in 2018 by NewSouth and named one of the Sydney Morning Herald's best books of the year.
He is the founding host of The Rereaders, a fortnightly literary and cultural podcast and is a former Festival Director and CEO of the Emerging Writers' Festival from 2012 until 2015, during which time he launched the Digital Writers' Festival.
Stephen is a Vietnamese-Australian writer from Cabramatta. He has been published in Sydney Review of Books, Meanjin, and Griffith Review.
Stephen received the 2018 NSW Writer's Fellowship to commence work on his debut manuscript Vietnamatta.
Pip is a writer of songs, poems and stories. Her first poetry collection, Too Close for Comfort (SUP), won the Helen Ann Bell Award in 2013.
Pip is a SMH Best Young Novelist of 2018. Her debut novel Half Wild (A&U, 2017) was recently shortlisted for the 2018 Voss Literary Award. She ran the monthly writing event Penguin Plays Rough, for which she published and edited the multimedia anthology, The Penguin Plays Rough Book of Short Stories (2011). She was a Faber Academy Writing a Novel scholarship recipient, has been a co-director of the National Young Writers' Festival, and holds a doctorate in creative arts from Western Sydney University.
Find out who our past winners were, including judges comments and shortlisted entries.
For more information, please contact:
Events and Programs Coordinator
Telephone: 9391 7994