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The Bulletin Novel Competition
Subcategory of Awards Australian Awards
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Offered by the Bulletin with cash prizes of first prize of £5OO and two of £2OO between them. Further, stories that didn't win a prize may have been regarded as worthy of serial publication. Competitors could enter more than one story. Each entry had to have its own nom-de-plume.




  • Initiated under the editorship of S. H. Prior in 1928 (Red Page 14 March 1928). Superseded by the S. H. Prior Memorial Prize.

Latest Winners / Recipients

Year: 1932

winner y separately published work icon No Escape Velia Ercole , 1931 Z1248737 1931 single work novel

'The setting of "No Escape" is a small township in New South Wales, once a goldminers' paradise, now the unprogressive centre of a pastoral district. An Italian doctor named Leo Gherardi, settled there with his wife Teresa and their small son Leo, had been forced to leave Italy for political reasons just at the beginning of a promising career in medicine. His wife in accompanying him temporarily gave up a brilliant future on the concert platform. But both were convinced that absence from their beloved Italy would only be an unpleasant interlude during which they would save money to have Leo's case reviewed and his sentence annulled. This hope alone buoyed them up when they began life in the township of Banton.'


'An Italian Doctor's Life in Australia', The Sydney Morning Herald, 8 April 1932, p.4.

Year: 1929

winner y separately published work icon The Passage Vance Palmer , London : Stanley Paul , 1930 Z99150 1930 single work novel

Year: 1928

joint winner A House Is Built M. Barnard Eldershaw , 1929 single work novel historical fiction Submitted under the name Faith Sydney
joint winner y separately published work icon Coonardoo : The Well in the Shadow Katharine Susannah Prichard , 1928 Z1081769 1928 single work novel (taught in 39 units) Set in North-West of Western Australia, it describes life on cattle stations and the relationship between the white owner of the station and Coonardoo, an Aboriginal woman. Submitted under the name Jim Ashburton.

Works About this Award

Coonardoo : A 1988 Reading of a 1928 Novel Susan Sheridan , 1988 single work criticism
— Appears in: Blast , Winter no. 6/7 1988; (p. 5-6)
"The Bulletin" Today Douglas Stewart , 1945 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 18 July vol. 66 no. 3414 1945; (p. 2)
The Novel Competition Thomas Bailey Clegg , 1930 single work column
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 19 March vol. 51 no. 2614 1930; (p. 8)
Discusses the literary merits and deficiencies in the entries for the competition.
'Bulletin' Prize Novels : Second Competition 1930 single work column
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 19 March vol. 51 no. 2614 1930; (p. 9)

Announcement of the results of the second Bulletin Novel Competition. The competition closed on December 31 1929 and from 275 entries the judges made the following awards: First (£400) The Passage by Vance Palmer; Second (£250) Wards of the Outer March by K. G. Taylor (Daniel Hamline); Third (£100) Cattle Camp by J. J. Hardie.

Highly Commended: 'The Sow's Ear' by Eurus; 'Blue North' by Kullinoah; 'Johnny' by Edinensis; Break o' Day by Mateewa; 'Alien Corn' by Sorcerer; 'The Silent Voice' by Toc H.

Commended: 'The White Mantle' by Max Masterman; 'Bitter Bread' by Ian Grove; 'The Involuntary Adventure' by Andrew; 'A Knight in Moleskins' by Warrego; 'The Affair at Ardee' by Alison Starr; 'Thin Smoke' by Merentio; 'Billabong Gold' by Advance Australia; 'Three Daughters' by Kinapaka; 'Holiday' by Waradgery; 'Winning Out' by 1837; 'Boy in the Dusk' by Kelburn; 'Poet Polish' by Bokhara; 'Circumstantial Evidence' by Dobroyd; 'Three Waterholes' by E. M. Hosking (E.M. Chapman); 'The Duffers' by Ellen de Lacy [it's possible that this is Kay Glasson Taylor's Pick and the Duffers]; 'Lost Valley' by Billabong; 'Morning Glory' by Koongara.

Portraits of the prize winners on page 16.

Note: The authors were required to submit their manuscripts under a writing name. In many instances, their identities remain to be established.

'Bulletin' Story Prize-Winners 1930 single work column
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 26 March vol. 51 no. 2615 1930; (p. 31)