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. Please subscribe to the Newsletter for updates on the Woollahra Digital Literary Award.
Warning: Some of the winning works include adult content and explicit language.
Fiction: Deniz Agraz, The Golden Bracelet
Judge's comments: The Turkish story ‘The Golden Bracelet’ is the winning story. The unique setting and hidden emotional trauma of lost relationships and baby, give the story a poignant power. Migrant experiences are important and stories that resonate with cultural richness are inspiring. I liked the combination of everyday observation of food, language and interconnections between family members. The weighing of the golden bracelet seems like a metaphor about weighing up an old life. A letting go of a past marriage and the hope for a new life.
Non-Fiction: Lucia Tường Vy Nguyễn & Reina Brigette Takeuchi, Not Your Miss or Madame: A Three-Act Meditation on Love, Opera and Friendship
Judge's comments: This inventive hybrid work brings together the textual, visual, lyrical and poetic within a sophisticated interweaving of autobiography and cultural critique. Written in collaboration, the work is driven by, and articulates, the creative and radical act of friendship. The notion of friendship as resistance, politics, and play is powerfully rendered through a nonfiction that is formally various, suggestive of the possibilities and future directions of the genre, particularly in the digital space. It’s such a clever and engaging piece in its structure, its use of multiple voices and forms, and in its incisive critique of the inequalities of gender and race, across social structures and cultural production. It forges a path for creative work that seeks to reckon with exclusionary systems and structures, and is experimental nonfiction at its finest.
Poetry: Caroline Reid, A Poem To My Mother That She Will Never Read
Judge’s comments: Caroline Reid may (or may not) be a shouty person. But let it be said, this poem screams off the screen and demands (in the most beautiful and heart-achingly urgent of ways) to be read. This is a wild, grief-fuelled ride through the landscape of two coexisting worlds (the world of dementia and the ‘other’ world); a poem where the poet straddles what feels like the unbridgeable distance where those closest to us are furthest away; where a daughter mistypes google searches and looks to algorithms for answers where there are none; where the poet, wet with crazy in my good daughter devotion keeps searching and trying to get a handle on something that has no handle. This poem, in all its heartbreaking, jaw dropping glory jumps from one idea to the next like an adult playing leapfrog in a swing park where they don’t want to play anymore. It is original and fresh and devastating in all its terrible beauty.
Digital Innovation: Rae White, Stand Up
Judge's comments: 'Stand Up' is my winner. It was the most integrated and engaging of the pieces. It was immersive and considered. I felt like I was part of a specific story in a way that enhanced my experience as a reader.
Readers’ Choice Award: Cher Tan, By Signalling Nothing I Remain Opaque
- Deniz Agraz, The Golden Bracelet, Meniscus Literary Journal
- Elizabeth Walton, Smoking Gym, The London Reader
The best nonfiction connects us to the world around us, harnessing the dynamic power of attention, extending beyond the words on the page to provide for the reader a heightened perception of the work's subject. It encourages us to think differently, with greater complexity and clarity, exciting imagination while being grounded in the tangible. The shortlisted entries, in all their variety of forms and approaches, exhibit this quality to the utmost through their formal experimentation, precision of critical thought, and skill in autobiographical expression." – Vanessa Berry
- Kerry Greer, A Silhouette in Gray: Life in the Aftermath of Suicide, Westerly
- Eda Gunaydin, Tell All, Sydney Review of Books
- Fiona Kelly McGregor, Acts of Avoidance, Sydney Review of Books
- May Ngo, Lives on the Line, Kill Your Darlings
- Lucia Tường Vy Nguyễn & Reina Brigette Takeuchi, Not Your Miss or Madame: A Three-Act Meditation on Love, Opera and Friendship, Going Down Swinging
- Felicity Plunkett, Plath Traps, Sydney Review of Books
- Cher Tan, By Signalling Nothing I Remain Opaque, disorganising
- Shastra Deo, Variations on the Word Ghost, Liminal
- Kylie Hough, Do You Find It Hard to Write?, OyeDrum Magazine
- Anna Jacobson, Memory Curls, Cordite Poetry Review
- Hannah Jenkins, Enderman’s Lament, Cordite Poetry Review
- Caroline Reid, A Poem To My Mother That She Will Never Read, Mslexia
- Saba Vasefi, The Portable Home, Red Room Poetry
Digital Innovation Shortlist
- Jenny Hedley, A Compendium of Failed Relationships, Cordite Poetry Review
- Dan Hogan, Creepy Pasta, Running Dog
- Anna Jacobson, How to Knit a Human, Australian Literary Studies Journal
- Rae White, Stand Up, Backslash Lit
Categories and prizes
Fiction ($2,500 prize)
A 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. 3,000-30,000 words.
Non-Fiction ($2,500 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. 3,000-30,000 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. There is no minimum word count.
Digital Innovation ($1,500)
Works of fiction, non-fiction, poetry (or a hybrid of these) published in the first instance online or in an electronic format that can be accessed on a computer, tablet or mobile device. This is a professional writing category where digital technology is used in an innovative way to enhance written storytelling. We are looking for works that seamlessly integrate digital elements in the story in a new and dynamic way to generate mood, tone and genre.
Maximum word count is 30,000 words.
The Readers’ Choice Award is an additional prize of $250 that is offered once the shortlist is announced. This Award invites everyone in the community to read the shortlist and cast a vote for their favourite entry.
Entries for 2022 have closed, and the shortlist will be announced on Friday 4 November 2022. The Award Presentation will take place on Tuesday 22 November 2022.
Please subscribe to the Newsletter for updates regarding the Judges of the 2022 Woollahra Digital Literary Award.
Meet our judges:
Fiction: Julie Janson
Julie is a Burruberongal woman of the Darug Aboriginal nation. She is a novelist, playwright, and poet. Her most recent novel Benevolence was longlisted for the NIB Literary Award (2020) and the Voss Literary Award. Her new Indigenous crime novel Madukka the River Serpent will be published in 2023. While living in remote Northern Territory Aboriginal communities in her early years as a teacher, Julie began writing Indigenous plays and making giant puppets, masks and costumes. Her career as a playwright began with productions at Belvoir St Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre and Sydney Opera House. She is co-recipient of the Oodgeroo Noonuccal Poetry Prize (2016) and the Judith Wright Poetry Prize (2019).
Non-Fiction: Vanessa Berry
Vanessa Berry is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Sydney, and lives and works on Gadigal land. Her writing examines memory, urban environments, material objects and imagination. She is the author of nonfiction works including Gentle and Fierce (2021), Mirror Sydney (2017), based on the popular Mirror Sydney blog, and the memoirs Ninety9 and Strawberry Hills Forever. She is the author of the long-running autobiographical zine series I am a Camera and her zine and illustration works have been exhibited at major Australian galleries.
Poetry: Ali Whitelock
Ali Whitelock is a Scottish poet and writer. Her poetry collection, the lactic acid in the calves of your despair is long listed for the ALS Gold Medal for an outstanding literary work in 2020 and is published by Wakefield Press. Her debut collection, and my heart crumples like a coke can (also Wakefield Press) has a forthcoming UK edition by Polygon, UK. Her memoir, poking seaweed with a stick and running away from the smell (Wakefield Press & Polygon) was launched at Sydney Writers' Festival to critical acclaim.
Digital Innovation: Brett Osmond
Brett Osmond has been Managing Director at creative and digital agency, Leading Hand Design since 2016.
He is a former Marketing and Publicity Director at Penguin Random House where he became Head of Digital and was part of the ebooks leadership team, and was also Director of the Federal Government’s Books Alive campaign.
The Woollahra Digital Literary Award is open to all Australian Residents aged 16 years and over, who have published work online in the first instance in last two years.
Submitted works must be available online as: .epub, .pbd, .mobi/azw, .ibooks or .pdf file from a known e-book vendor or platform (such as iBookstore, Google Play, Amazon, Bookworld, Kobo, Baker & Taylor or Overdrive), or as an article, essay or poetry available on an online magazine, journal or website that has an editorial selection process.
Please note: Entrants must provide a URL to the web location where digital work can be accessed as proof of publication. It is the responsibility of each entrant to provide a working URL. Only works that were published in a digital format in the first instance will be accepted for judging.
How to enter
All entries must be submitted via our online entry form, and include a link to a URL where the work can be accessed at no cost. If your submitted work is only available via a paywall (eg via an ebook vendor), please provide a version of your work for judging in a PDF format via our online entry form.
For judging, if your work is housed online behind a paywall, please help us to access and read your submission easily by formatting an electronic document as an A4 double spaced PDF in 12 point font with a page number on each page.
Please ensure PDF filenames include the name of the author and the title of the work.
Example: Woollahra Digital Literary Award NAME TITLE.pdf
Entries for 2022 are now closed.
Find out about our past winners, including judges comments and shortlisted entries.
For more information, please contact:
Events and Programs Coordinator
Telephone: 9391 7100