Let your creative writing juices flow

THE Newcastle Herald is inviting writers from the Hunter to enter its inaugural summer story competition.

Stories must relate in some manner to the theme “from the valley to the sea”, and creativity is encouraged across all prose genres.

Submissions must be between 800 and 1000 words and participants must be residents of the Hunter.

A shortlist of 25 finalists will be selected by Hunter Writers Centre director Karen Crofts, HarperCollins publisher Jeanne Ryckmans, Herald editor Chad Watson and Herald writer Rosemarie Milsom.

All short-listed stories will be published in the Herald from December 26 to January 25.

The winner will receive a library of 50 new-release books valued at $1000, as well as a Kobo touch e-reader and leather folio package valued at $152, courtesy of Domayne Kotara. The runner-up will receive a $200 voucher from MacLean’s Booksellers and third place will receive a $100 MacLean’s voucher.

All three winners will also receive 12 months’ membership of the Hunter Writers Centre and a 12-week subscription to the Herald. 

Please read the conditions on theherald.com.au, and email your entry to features@theherald.com.au by midnight on Monday, December 3.


1. Entry is open to Hunter region writers aged 18 and over.

2. One entry per author will be accepted.

3. The maximum length of each entry is 1000 words (excluding title) and minimum 800 words.

4. Stories must be submitted electronically to features@theherald.com.au.

5. Each story file must have a cover sheet as its first page. 

6. Your name must not appear on the story but only on the cover sheet. Do not send the cover sheet as a separate file, but as the first section of your submission. Include your name, address and contact number.

7. Computer file titles are to be named in the format “surname - story title.doc” For example. If your story is called “The Delicatessen” and your name is Jane Smith, your file would be called Smith - The Delicatessen.doc (or docx or .rtf).

8. Stories are to be single spaced and use 0.5cm indented paragraphs.

9. Stories are to be sent as a Microsoft Word file (.doc or .docx), Pages file, Open Office doc file or an RTF. They are not to be hosted on other websites where they have to be downloaded by the judges. PDF, WPS, TXT formats are not acceptable.

10. The story must match the competition theme. To meet the theme for this competition the story must relate in some manner, no matter how small or inconsequential, to the Hunter Valley and the sea.

11. By submitting a story, the author warrants that the story has not been published elsewhere (including electronically) and that they own the copyright to the story.

12. If the story wins a place then the author gives the Newcastle Herald permission to publish that story in any form, including newspaper, website and book. 

he right to publish the story. The copyright to the story is always retained by the author and the author may submit it elsewhere.

13. The decision of the judges is final and legally binding and no correspondence shall be entered into regarding the competition.

14. The closing date for submissions is midnight, December 3, 2012. No submissions will be accepted after this time, under any circumstances as it is not fair on the other competitors.

15. Finalists will be notified by December 14, 2012 by email, and their stories published from December 26 to January 25.

16. The winner and two runners-up will be announced on January 26.