Together with the Peninsula Writers’ Club, the Shire recently invited local writers to apply for the Mayor's Short Story Writing Awards, the Shire’s first ever literary award.

The aim of the Awards is to encourage and support Mornington Peninsula writers of all abilities, celebrate our diverse talent and showcase local stories and voices.

Winners and Highly Commended

Entries for the Mayor’s Short Story Writing Awards have closed and the judges have read their way through 115 creative fiction stories from talented Peninsula storytellers.

Mornington Peninsula Shire Mayor Councillor Despi O’Connor together with esteemed writers authors Danielle Binks, Garry Disher and Paul Kennedy made up the judging panel and enjoyed stories of hope, heartbreak, humour and happiness.

18+ years

The winner is:
Due South by Rebecca Fraser, Mount Martha

Awarded $1000 in prize money, Mornington Peninsula bookstore vouchers and a two-week Police Point Artist Residency.

Our judges described this piece as:

“Brilliant! What pace and cracking telling, this author is absolutely a natural storyteller and we predict great, epic sagas in their future. This is quite possibly the next great Australian novel!”

Download: Due South by Rebecca Fraser

The highly commended award goes to:
Close to Home by Deline Skinner, Somers

Awarded Mornington Peninsula bookstore vouchers.

Our judges described this piece as:

“A beautiful musing on the need to get out of our own heads and roam, explore, conquer and wander near and far. Our judges loved the imagery and scene-setting, and the fleeting but precise language that evokes far-flung exploration in its many forms.”

Download: Close to Home by Deline Skinner

12 - 17 years

The winner is:
Untitled (the story of Jake) by Maddy Macdonald, Rye

Awarded $500 in prize money and Mornington Peninsula bookstore vouchers.

Our judges described this piece as:

Deeply moved by the heart on the page –intensely underlying emptions in this writing, a powerful, potent and gut-punching piece.”

Download: Untitled (the story of Jake) by Maddy Macdonald

The highly commended award goes to:
Untitled (the story of Eleanor) by Amira Lees, Somerville

Awarded Mornington Peninsula bookstore vouchers.

Our judges described this piece as:

“A tale full of heart and sweet, powerful messaging. A touching story of grief and friendship, with compelling setting as a powerful character too.”

Download: Untitled (the story of Eleanor) by Amira Lees

8 - 12 years

The winner is:
Running with the wolves by Chloe Brigden, Mornington

Awarded $500 in prize money and Mornington Peninsula bookstore vouchers.

Our judges described this piece as:

‘A great example of setting becoming a character unto itself. Impressive insight, language and sentence structures - so very clever and a unique character point-of-view!”

Download: Running with the wolves by Chloe Brigden

Our highly commended entrant is:
In My Wildest Dreams by Gracie Medlicott, Mount Eliza

Awarded Mornington Peninsula bookstore vouchers.

Our judges described this piece as:

“A fantastic and fantastical tale with a twist-ending that makes us want to keep reading and hope that the dream bleeds more into reality and keeps repeating! Superb descriptive metaphors similes great openers.”

Download: In My Wildest Dreams by Gracie Medlicott

Meet the Judges

Paul Kennedy is a national television presenter for ABC News Breakfast. He has worked for three television networks and has written numerous books, including Fifteen Young Men and co-authored Hell on the Way to Heaven with Chrissie Foster. His fifth book, Funkytown, is due in late September and published by Affirm Press. Paul lives on the Mornington Peninsula with his wife and their three sons.

Paul Kennedy head shot

Garry Disher has been a full-time writer for most of his working life. He lives on the Mornington Peninsula and is the author of over 50 books, including many award-winning, best-selling and widely translated crime and literary novels for adults and children. His latest novel is Consolation (2020).

Garry Disher head shot


Danielle Binks is an author and literary agent who lives on the Mornington Peninsula. The Year the Maps Changed was her debut middle-grade novel released last year, and recognised as a CBCA 'Notables' book for 2021. Her second novel The Monster of Her Age will be her first foray into YA, and is coming August 2021.

Danielle Binks head shot


Depsi O’Connor is Councillor for Briars Ward and the Mornington Peninsula Shire Mayor. Mayor Cr O’Connor is a teacher and long-term Peninsula resident. She is also a teacher at Mount Martha Primary School.

Mayor Despi O'Connor head shot


Award Sponsors

Thanks to the following local bookstores for contributing to the prizes:

  • Antipodes Gallery and Bookshop
  • Farrells Bookshop
  • Petersen's Bookstore
  • Rosebud Book Barn

Farrell's Bookstore Logo