2022 Furphy Literary Award winners and shortlist announced

Trophy with gold confetti on aqua background

The winners and shortlist of the 2022 Furphy Literary Award have been announced. Acclaimed writer and poet Cate Kennedy won the Award for her story ‘Art and Life’, with second prize awarded to Lisa Moule for ‘The Game'. And  Natalie Vella has been awarded third place for her story ‘Winter is for Regret’. We’re also thrilled to see Australian Writers' Centre graduates Christine Jackman, Deborah May and Sue Osborne have made the shortlist.

According to the media release:

Acclaimed writer and poet Cate Kennedy has won the 2022 Furphy Literary Award with her entry ‘Art and Life'. As the winner of one of the richest short story writing prizes in Australia, Kennedy was awarded a $15,000 cash prize in addition to a residency at La Trobe University and publication in The Furphy Anthology 2022, which will be published later in the year.

With over 600 entries received, the highly-credentialed judging panel made up of Anson Cameron, Tara June Winch, Margaret Hickey, John Harms, Thornton McCamish and John Kerr had their work cut out for them. However, unusually, there was little debate about the standout entry for 2022.

Judges said of the winning story, “Cate's ‘Art and Life' had us smiling and nodding from the beginning. It's so funny and insightful, so light of touch. We felt like we knew parents like that, and we knew pressured students like that. And the response of the young classical musician is brilliant. The story is totally engaging and entertaining and invites us to ask ourselves questions.”

Cate Kennedy has previously published two collections of short stories, one novel and three volumes of poetry. She works as a writing mentor and teacher and lives in Castlemaine, Victoria with her daughter and a huge book collection.

On writing short stories, she says: “Short stories are the form I find myself returning to again and again – learning how to compress and distil my ideas, seeing ways to take the reader on a journey, reflecting on how the form brings out our instinctive storytelling powers to make each other laugh, cry and think.

Second place ($3,000 plus publication in The Furphy Anthology 2022) was awarded to Lisa Moule for ‘The Game'.

Judges' comments: “Lisa totally nails the school staffroom and some of the archetypes who make it their habitat. But, equally, her story applies to any organisation where merit should prevail but is subsumed by politics and self-promotion.”

And in third place ($2,000 plus publication in The Furphy Anthology 2022) was ‘Winter is for Regret' by Natalie Vella.

Judges' comments: “This story is particularly evocative, but the complexity runs deep. The way Natalie presents the violence as a subtle and remarkably mundane occurrence is done with skill and deftness of prose.”

About the Furphy Literary Award

The Furphy Literary Award is named in honour of Australian writer Joseph Furphy and celebrates Australian story telling in the short story format. Joseph Furphy was the author of a number of works written under the pen name Tom Collins – the most famous of which was Such is Life, published in 1903.

The Open category is for short stories of 5000 words or less with total prize money of $20,000, entrants must either reside in Australia or, if overseas, be citizens of Australia. The ongoing theme for the Award is ‘Australian Life in all its Diversity'.

After 28 years as a local competition, in 2020 The Furphy Literary Award re-launched as a national award. It has discovered some extraordinary talent and through the publication of the annual Furphy Anthology the best of each year's entries are recorded for posterity in a gorgeous hardcover book.

There are also four Junior and Youth Short Story and Poetry categories, open to young people from the Goulburn Valley.

The 2022 Furphy Literary Award Winners & Shortlisted Writers


1st: Cate Kennedy ‘Art and Life'

2nd: Lisa Moule ‘The Game'

3rd: Natalie Vella ‘Winter is for Regret'


Thomas Alan – ‘All the Way Through'

Daniel Alwan – ‘Sunshine'

Isabella Ballestrin – '00:00′

Craig Billingham – ‘Breadcrumbs'

Dean Croxon – ‘Bat on a Wire'

Marian Edmunds – ‘The Flood'

Janet Fuller – ‘Hardly David'

Christine Jackman – ‘A Brush Turkey's Guide to Life'

Scott Limbrick – ‘Fake Plants'

Deborah May – ‘Protection'

Magdalena McGuire – ‘Pause, remember?'

Sue Osborne – ‘Moon Standing'

Kym Tyzack – ‘Leaving'

Congratulations to all winners and shortlisted writers!

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