Stories for Strange Times

Year 7 and 8 Category
  • 321 entries
Winning entry
  • Into the Mountains by Olivia Campbell (PLC) 
Notable entries
  • At Least I am Alive by Ella Groves (Nagle College)
  • Tranquil Magnolia by Anastasia Zaytseva (Brighton SC) 
Year 9 and 10 Category
  • 175 entries
Winning entry
  • Brace for Impact by Claudia Anthony (Nunawading Christian College)
Notable entries
  • Asset X by Katrina Luu (PLC) 
  • Back to the Path by Eleanor Prowd (Shelford Girls’ Grammar) 
Staff Category
  • 29 entries
Winning entry
  • Winner by Sarah Darling (Epping SC) 
Notable entries
  • Ants by Ahmad Jawid Siddiqi  (Melbourne Islamic College)
  • The Thirteenth Hour by Rachael Rippon (Glenroy College)


VATE is pleased to announce Stories for Strange Times, a short story competition and online teaching and learning package for Years 7-10 students and their teachers. We are also delighted to include well-known writers Maxine Beneba Clarke and Will Kostakis in the program.

The writing competition

Students and teachers are invited to write and submit a short story inspired by the theme Stories for Strange Times. There are three categories available in the competition:

Years 7-8 students | Years 9-10 students | Teachers

Entries of no more than 1000 words are due Friday 12 June 2020 and should be emailed to An application form to accompany each short story entry is available as a PDF or a Word document. The competition is open to all schools who have 2020 VATE organisational membership. To check your member details, please email

Thanks to our friends at The Little Bookroom/Neighbourhood Books each winner will receive a $150 book voucher.  
Shortlisted submissions will receive a book from our supporters at The Little Bookroom/Neighbourhood Books and Hachette Australia.

Find out more here!

Online teaching and learning package

To accompany the short story competition and support remote learning in Term 2, VATE has developed an online teaching and learning package that will be available from Monday April 20. Download the order form as a PDF or Word document and submit your order or any queries you may have to Please note that you are welcome to submit your order via email if you are not able to complete and submit the form.


Maxine Beneba Clarke is a widely published Australian writer of Afro-Caribbean descent. Maxine's short fiction, non-fiction and poetry have been published in numerous publications including Overland, The Age, Meanjin, The Saturday Paper and The Big Issue. Her critically acclaimed short fiction collection Foreign Soil won the ABIA for Literary Fiction Book of the Year 2015 and the 2015 Indie Book Award for Debut Fiction, and was shortlisted for the Matt Richell Award for New Writing at the 2015 ABIAs and the 2015 Stella Prize. She was also named as one of the Sydney Morning Herald's Best Young Novelists for 2015. Maxine has published three poetry collections including Carrying the World, which won the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Poetry 2017 and was shortlisted for the Colin Roderick Award. The Hate Race, a memoir about growing up black in Australia won the NSW Premier's Literary Award Multicultural NSW Award 2017 and was shortlisted for an ABIA, an Indie Award, the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards and Stella Prize. The Patchwork Bike, Maxine's first picture book with Van T. Rudd was a CBCA Honour Book for 2017.


Will Kostakis is a writer of all things, from celebrity news stories that score cease and desist letters, to tweets for professional wrestlers. That said, he’s best known for his award-winning YA novels. His first novel, Loathing Lola, was released when he was just nineteen. His second, The First Third, won the 2014 Gold Inky Award. It was also shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year and Australian Prime Minister’s Literary awards, among others. The Sidekicks was his third novel for young adults, and his American debut. It went on the win the IBBY Australia Ena Noel Award. As a high school student, Will won Sydney Morning Herald Young Writer of the Year for a collection of short stories. He has since contributed to numerous anthologies, including Begin, End, Begin: A #LoveOzYA AnthologyMonuments is his fourth novel.


Competition supporters:

Hachette Australia The Little Bookroom Neighbourhood Books