The Griffith University Josephine Ulrick Poetry and Literature Prizes


Winning entries


2015 Literature Prize
First Prize ($10,000) ‘Manyuk’ by Mark Smith, Victoria (This story is published on the web. Read it at Review of Australian Fiction Vol 14, Issue 3)
Second Prize ($5,000) ‘Floodlit’ by Laura Stortenbeker, Victoria (This story is published on the web. Read it at Review of Australian Fiction Vol 14, Issue 3)
The Judges said of the First Prize winner: ‘Against the backdrop of the approaching wet season in Darwin, a young woman separated from her country, her language and her family tries to stay connected to her culture against the wishes of her husband. The judges found the story to be very well crafted, with the accumulation of minor, but significant, detail hinting at more than what is otherwise said. This story shows a writer displaying great restraint, with the result being a story that demands to be re-read, and which grows with each reading.’  - Matthew Lamb & Frank Moorhouse
The Judges said of the Second Prize winner: ‘Three teenage girls preparing for a night out on the town. This story throws a light on the paradoxes of trying to rebel, while at the same time trying to fit it. And the early corrosion that can take place within a person’s character on the cusp of adulthood. The dialogue, which drives the story forward, with both what is said, and what is only hinted at, suggests a writer of great promise.’ - Matthew Lamb & Frank Moorhouse

2015 Poetry Prize
First Prize ($10,000) ‘The Book of Interdictions’ by Amanda Johnson, Victoria
Second Prize ($5,000) ‘Peeling’ by Tug Dumbly, New South Wales
The Judges said of the First Prize winner: ‘“The Book of Interdictions” takes sanction and prohibition (religion, warfare) and confronts hard reality in lyrical, original ways. Using a wide-angle and zoom lens, the poem investigates fear, anticipation, tradition and intimacy. We are moved and confronted by fierce, complex images in a landscape where drones, soldiers, birds and children move in and out of focus.’ - MTC Cronin & Anthony Lawrence
The Judges said of the Second Prize winner: ‘“Peeling” is an intimate portrait of father and son. It is also a poem about self-reflection and the repercussions of certain actions in a world where responsibility and imagination intertwine and sometimes come to grief. “Peeling” is remarkable for its sustained, emotional pressure and wisdom.’ - MTC Cronin & Anthony Lawrence

2014 Literature Prize
First Prize ($10,000) ‘Monster’ by Lauren Clarke, Tasmania
Second Prize ($5,000) ‘The Cusp’ by Nicholas Brooks, New South Wales (not uploaded)
The Judges said of the First Prize winner: ‘An unsettling story where menace and sexual desire collide… There’s an attempt to look obliquely at the heart of a monster while leaving it ambiguous as to where the true monster is - in the people or in the way the media represent them… A brilliant re-imagining of the femme fatale for our times.’ - Sally Breen & Matthew Lamb
The Judges said of the Second Prize winner: ‘A delicately rendered story about failure and resurrection. Two men, one young, one old, are set to work clearing scrub on a coastal track… While trying to make sense of the losses they’ve suffered, and perhaps even caused, they find solace in their talk and for the younger man perhaps even a way forward. All this from a young writer with enormous talent.’ - Sally Breen & Matthew Lamb

2014 Poetry Prize
First Prize ($10,000) ‘The Persistence of February 1, 2012.’ by John Watson, New South Wales
Second Prize ($5,000) ‘The Turning Light’ by Jonathan Hadwen, Queensland (not uploaded)
The Judges said of the First Prize winner: ‘An exquisite homage … this poem celebrates the life, and commemorates the death, of a great poet – the 1996 Nobel Prize winner, Wislawa Szymborska. The poem does this in the most humanly perfect, and thus always most imperfect, of ways: one person wanting to say quite beautifully what cannot really be said.’ - MTC Cronin & Anthony Lawrence
The Judges said of the Second Prize winner: ‘Clarity. Movement. The city.  Lovers. Radio. The night. ‘The Turning Light’ is a young poem. In it we have the dawning of what love means… Every word says ‘Why not’ and there is no question mark.’ - MTC Cronin & Anthony Lawrence

2013 Literature Prize
First Prize ($10,000) ‘Replica’ by Laura Elvery, Queensland
Second Prize ($5,000) ‘Neggiah’ by Eli Glasman, Victoria
The Judges said of the First Prize winner: ‘“Replica” is one of those stories that grabs you immediately and then resonates on so many levels. Replica is a layered piece about economic realities in western culture post 911 and post GFC, and in this way it’s zeitgeisty and compelling.  It takes us into the world of a younger gallery assistant struggling to survive while working in a place that sells replicas of Damien Hurst artwork for the same price as her annual salary. The story threads a complex set of meanings in an accessible narrative – the life of this young woman and her curious take on the world is never lost in the ideas as we ponder the space between the fantasy, solace and elitism of contemporary art and the necessity of leftovers and microwave lunches. It’s a fabulously fresh voice from an exciting new talent.’ - Sally Breen & Frank Moorhouse
The Judges said of the Second Prize winner: ‘“Neggiah” is a charming and delicately told story of a first date between a young man and woman from orthodox Jewish families – their first hook up in the young man’s bedroom is a comedy of manners where family expectations, desire and the expectations of their pop fuelled peers collide. A darker premise underlies the relative innocence of the characters’ actions though as we begin to realize that the young man is suffering from an illness that is not only embarrassing for him but could change the way he feels about his desirability forever. Another strong piece honed in the particular absurdities of contemporary life.’ - Sally Breen & Frank Moorhouse

2013 Poetry Prize
First Prize ($10,000) ‘Selling Meaning in Negative Space’ by Nathan Shepherdson, Queensland
Second Prize ($5,000) No award given
The Judges said of the First Prize winner: ‘“Selling Meaning in Negative Space” is a visceral literary transaction where both sides keep losing. The touch of the pen, literally, leaves red welts on the page while the writer is bruised by the punch of each revelatory word. This is scary stuff for the poet: with what he has written he reads himself into oblivion. If we follow the text will we go the same way?’ - MTC Cronin & Peter Boyle

2012 Literature Prize
First Prize ($20,000) ‘Long Grass Over Home’ by Matthew Lamb, Tasmania.
The Judges said: ‘The winning story is quietly traditional – “Lawsonian”, one judge called it. It is set in the country – it is about the ways of rural folk. Calling it “Lawsonian” is something of a compliment, but also something of an expression of surprise that such a relaxed, traditional story could have captivated us both. Of course, it ends with high drama but again, done in that low-keyed way of the Australian story. It is a very accomplished piece.’

2012 Poetry Prize
First Prize ($20,000) ‘S.O.S’ by Maria Zajkowski, Victoria.
The Judges said: ‘These fine poems are open, they prod but don’t preach, they’re full of the unexpected, they carry a sense of human vulnerability, they come from the heart or better the whole self and not just the intellect or the level of cleverness... They have mystery – perhaps something of Paul Celan in them – which is extremely unusual in Australian poetry... They are willing to take risks in order to stay true to how life is experienced and would rather tread this tightrope than sit comfortably on a pedestal... This writing has that kind of imaginative rightness that tells us something essential about ourselves and at the same time is in no way a cliché, [it] reads like something no one has ever said before.’

2011 Poetry Prize
First Prize ($10,000) ‘The loophole or how the sky ignores us’ by Maria Zajkowski, Victoria
Second Prize ($5,000) ‘And then when the’ by Dan Disney, Victoria
Commended ($2,500) ‘Please’ by Kristen Lang, Tasmania
Commended ($2,500) ‘Philosophy in a Ghosting Universe’ by Rhyll McMaster, New South Wales
Judges’ comments

2011 Literature Prize
First Prize ($10,000) ‘Tryst’ by Rachael S Morgan, Queensland – published in Griffith Review No 34 ‘The Annual Fiction Edition’
Second Prize ($5,000) ‘Forgetting’ by Maya Linden, Victoria – published in Griffith Review No 34 ‘The Annual Fiction Edition’'
Commended ($2,500) ‘Into the Deep’ by Sarah Klenbort, New South Wales
Commended ($2,500) ‘How to make custard’ by Campbell Mattinson, Victoria
Judges’ comments

2010 Poetry Prize
First Prize ($10,000) ‘endtime’ by Nathan Curnow, Victoria
Second Prize ($5,000) ‘Always Sometimes Never’ by Andrew Slattery, New South Wales
Commended ($2,500) ‘One Broken Knife’ by Carmen Leigh Keates, Queensland
Commended ($2,500) ‘Dead Sea Psalms’ by Jill Pattinson, Victoria
Judges comments

2010 Literature Prize
First Prize ($10,000) ‘The Geometry Lesson’ by Jewelene Barrile, Victoria
Second Prize ($5,000) ‘Steeple Chase’ by Krissy Kneen, Queensland
Commended ($2,500) ‘The Early Hours of the Morning’ by Bronwyn Lea, Queensland
Commended ($2,500) ‘Ruined Girls’ by Felicity Plunkett, Queensland
Judges comments

2009 Poetry Prize
First Prize ($10,000) ‘The Ministry of Going In’ by Christine Paice, New South Wales
Second Prize ($5,000) ‘Red Tulips’ by Mark Tredinnick, New South Wales
Commended ($2,500) ‘Economy’ by Oliver Driscoll, Victoria
Commended ($2,500) ‘Wrotisserie’ by Nathan Shepherdson, Queensland
Judges comments

2009 Literature Prize
First Prize ($10,000) ‘The Real Thing’ by Catherine Harris, Victoria
Second Prize ($5,000) ‘Next’ by Felicity Castagna, New South Wales
Commended ($2,500) ‘Clay’ by Erica Woolgar, New South Wales
Commended ($2,500) ‘Lucy’ by Hilary McDowell, New South Wales
Judges comments







  Return to Home Page  
  The Griffith University Josephine Ulrick Poetry and Literature Prizes are funded by Griffith University under agreement with the Win Schubert and Josephine Ulrick Foundation for the Arts and are managed by the School of Humanities, Griffith University