In this edition of Furious Fiction, we’ve been packing our bags. But no, we aren’t disappearing for good. These were November's criteria:
- Your story must include someone PACKING A SUITCASE.
- Your story must include the phrase “ACROSS A CROWDED ROOM” (as dialogue or narrative).
- Your story must include the words CHARM, CRUSH and FAINT. (Longer variations were accepted as long as original spelling was retained.)
With that combo of challenge criteria, there were a lot of relationship-based stories this month (as we expected), and it was a treat to see how more than 1300 of you approached the required story prompts.
As for suitcases… let’s just say that a large variety of baggage rolled past on the carousel waiting to be claimed. From old leather cases covered in travel stickers to hard-shell Samsonites on smooth wheels, and everything in between. But it was the suitcase belonging to Renee Mangan that we locked eyes on from across a crowded room – and yes it was love at first sight, with her story Harry netting her $500AU.
You can read her winning story below, along with SIX shortlisted ones, plus view our longlist. And no matter how you did, a big thank you for allowing our sniffer dogs to rummage through your storytelling suitcase. Keep creating – we love reading all your entries.
NOVEMBER 2021 WINNER
HARRY by Renee Mangan, Vic
Harry is watching her pack a suitcase. She’s not throwing things in wildly like in the movies. She’s careful, intentional. Her lips are moving silently as if recording inventory, making lists in her head.
His left leg jiggles. A habit since he was a kid. Waiting outside the principal’s office or sitting exams. Waiting for news from his specialists. The ball of his foot bouncing so his entire leg dances.
He presses the clammy palm of his hand on his thigh in an attempt to control it.
She doesn’t see it.
She counts on her fingers now. Touching each digit on her left hand with those from her right. An incy-wincy spider portrayal that makes him want to smile and cry at the same time.
A faint melody of the nursery rhyme tinkles in his ears. His knee bounces in time.
The case is getting full. Clothing rolled in perfect piles. She’s put a straw sunhat aside so as not to get crushed within. Will she carry it? he wonders.
The golden strands criss-cross over each other to make a firm, wide brim. A blue silk ribbon tied around its base. She’ll have to carry it, he decides.
She clicks her tongue. The first audible sound from either of them since she said she’d leave tonight.
It’s like a spell is broken and Harry imagines what words he could speak that might make her stay.
Apologise. But for what, specifically, she’d want to know. They might talk a while if he just said it.
But to reach her now, it feels like he would have to wade through a self-loathing swamp. Have to lurch his way across a crowded room teeming with regret, heaving with grief.
So instead, he sits. His leg with a mind of its own.
She’s zipping the case now. Pressing it down in one corner so the other side springs back up. She’s leaning forward, and the gold charm of her necklace swings in the space between her throat and breasts. Like a hypnotist’s pocket watch, his eyes follow it swaying back and forth.
He doesn’t move when she heaves the suitcase from the bed.
Harry sits while the wheels clatter on the floorboards.
He waits in the bedroom listening to her fuss over their cat, Charlie.
When he hears the familiar jingle of Kate’s keys from the porcelain bowl on the kitchen counter, his leg ceases its jiggle, and he stands.
He follows her to the giant front door, painted her favourite shade of green last spring. Harry’s hands are stuffed deep in his pockets, shoulders raised in a permanent shrug.
Has she got her shower cap? He thinks, no, she’ll probably just buy a new one.
He clears his throat and astonishes himself by saying ‘safe travels’.
Harry will remember those two idiotic words for the rest of his life. Curse the pride, the stupidity that meant he couldn’t utter the words he actually meant.
What we loved:
This story feels fresh and accessible yet rich with detail – immersing the reader in Harry's deep POV and becoming all the more compelling as a result. It’s a heartbreaking scene that pulses with realism, choosing to skirt around melodrama, arguments and cliche – only officially confirming the scenario after five paragraphs but never weighing the story down with extra exposition. Its emotive qualities instead are conveyed by Harry’s intense familiarity and history with Kate… an intimate yet seemingly incompatible love that is being packed away before his eyes. It’s a scene that plays out in almost total silence, yet speaks volumes through Harry’s ability to observe small details while struggling with the big picture. And the ending lands with aplomb – a powerful reminder that uttered words can be wholly different to the true feelings of those who spoke them.
UNTITLED by Freya Nicholls, ACT
It was time. Mary reached high up into the wardrobe, teetering on tiptoes to grasp her trusty suitcase. She caressed its lined rich leather shell, the perfect partner to her own wizened, sun-drenched outer casing. She knew she looked her ninety-eight years even though inside she still felt a shy eighteen, each day a wonder.
Opening the case, she rested, slightly faint from her exertion.
‘Finally saw fit to unearth me, did you? It's awfully stuffy up there. You know I prefer under the bed,’ said the suitcase. Casey she’d named him all those years ago, the lack of imagination irritating him no end.
She smiled at his deep, charming voice as it flooded her with memories. She felt her shoulders relax with the familiarity. It was like getting into a warm bath.
‘Sorry Casey, but you know I've got a hospital style bed these days, so stop grumbling.’
‘Where are we going this time?’ He was feigning indifference, but she could hear the excitement in his voice. She’d been too sick to travel recently.
‘To the end my friend, and the beginning. This is our last trip’.
She rubbed her thumb gently along the bright yellow strips on Casey’s side, designed to stand out. Adding these had been Tony's idea. They had once again lost sight of each other across a crowded room, this time in Prague train station. He'd been so practical that way, balancing out her more chaotic approach to life. Her eyes twinkled as she imagined her Tony’s agitation at her packing the morning of a six-week trip.
‘Better start packing then,’ Casey chimed, reading her thoughts.
She began yanking clothes from drawers and rolling each item before placing it inside. Lucy, her youngest, had taught her this trick, frustrated with her perpetually crushed outfits. She refused to iron on holidays.
‘Remember when Lucy packed herself into you?'
‘How could I forget, she almost killed me. Stubborn like her mother, that one, wouldn't take no for an answer,’ Casey said.
She chuckled at the memory of Tony struggling down the stairs while she and James had shaken with suppressed laughter.
‘Remember our first trip? I swear I was doused in every known liquid. Vodka, coffee, the Mediterranean. What a mess.’
‘A glorious mess,’ she said.
She remembered it vividly. The adventure of it all – everything new, different, exciting. The beginning of her travel itch, the unquenchable thirst for knowledge and new experiences she had scratched her whole life. Her family had complained about this restlessness. Better take Mum for a walk, they'd quip. Their bright-eyed puppy.
They had loved it though, now spread around the world on their own adventures. One last visit and then it was time to leave this world, join her beloved Tony in the next. If there was one.
‘Time to go out with a bang Casey,’ she said.
‘No doubt. If you’re ready, I'm ready. Fill me up.’
What we liked:
Right from the opening paragraph as we are introduced to our two weather-worn speaking characters, this story exudes the confidence of, well, a 98-year-old adventure-seeker. Mary’s character portrait and memories are neatly packed into this piece alongside her pun-tastically personified companion Casey – a surprising yet never corny addition to heighten the personality and creative zing of the story. The playfulness of the preparation for an otherwise sombre departure is the standout here, as the back-and-forth of these old friends and lifelong companions gently reminisce about two lives well lived. Mary’s young-at-heart and optimistic outlook bursts through the narrative voice, resulting in an enjoyably uplifting read and chuckle-worthy final line.
FLYING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS by Pauline Yates, Qld
I stand the suitcase on the scales. Damn. Fifteen kilograms over the allowed luggage weight. Opening the suitcase, I sift through my clothes. A fleece-lined jacket? I don’t need that. Christmas Day in Australia will either be flooding rain or a heatwave. Dad will have a spare raincoat if I need one.
Closing the suitcase, I stand it on the scales. Ten kilograms over. Bugger. Opening the suitcase, I pull out a pair of jeans, and my red dress. Why did I pack that? I’ll be on a sheep farm in the middle of Victoria. Those strappy shoes can go, too. We’ll be dancing around a bonfire, not under disco lights.
Removing the shoes and clothes, I close the suitcase and stand it on the scales. Eight kilograms over. Fair dinkum. Opening the suitcase, I remove a floral blouse, a slinky skirt, and three sets of lingerie. Who did I expect to charm? The sheep?
Closing the suitcase, I stand it on the scales. Seven kilograms over. What? Opening the suitcase, I take out two books, another pair of jeans, put the books back, swap the Ugg boots for thongs, ditch all the socks. Close the suitcase. Stand on scales. Five kilograms over.
Gritting my teeth, I open the suitcase, lose another dress, swap a tee shirt for a singlet. Close the suitcase. Stand it on the scales. Four kilograms over.
A horn blares; my taxi ride to the airport. Hurrying to the door, I dodge the neighbour’s cat, signal the driver to wait, bolt back inside, open the suitcase, remove a towel; why did I pack a towel? Ditch the soap and the toothpaste and toothbrush holder and the soap holder and why are there two hairbrushes?
Tossing the items, I close the suitcase. Stand it on the scales. Seven kilograms over? What the? Open the suitcase. Remove the cat. Close the suitcase. Weigh on scales. Three kilograms over.
Horn blares. Time ticks. Chase away cat. Find a bandaid for cat scratch. Open suitcase. Remove books. Study titles. ‘One Midnight’s Dream’, a romance, stays. ‘Across a Crowded Room’, a thriller, goes. Repack romance book. Don’t crush the cover! Wrap book in pyjamas. Close suitcase. Weigh suitcase. Two kilograms over.
Open suitcase. Ditch pyjamas. Put the book in my carry-on bag. Remove makeup bag, another blouse, another skirt. What was I thinking? Did I pack my entire wardrobe? Close suitcase. Stand on scales. Half a kilogram over.
Horn blares. Time ticks. Open suitcase. Upend contents. Repack shirt, shorts, singlet, thongs, hairbrush, pyjamas, underwear. Hat. Where’s my hat? I’ll faint from heatstroke without a hat. I search my apartment. No hat. Don’t panic. Mum has hats attached to her hands. She’ll shove one on my head the second I arrive.
Horn blares. Driver yells. Time’s up. Close suitcase. Stand on scales. One kilogram under.
Grab thriller. Weigh on scales. Eight hundred grams. Open suitcase. Add book. Close suitcase.
Essentials packed, run to the taxi.
What we liked:
A change of pace, as we trade the breathing room of dialogue and scene setting for a more claustrophobic and desperate narrative. We often see a countdown used as a framing device, but here we loved how it wasn’t entirely time that was ticking down and raising the stakes, instead it was kilograms! The relentless short stabby sentences come at you faster and faster – perfectly resembling that panicked thinking pattern that takes over in moments like this as our unnamed first-person packer quite literally weighs each decision. And yet despite its frantic narrative pace, there is a relatable, sometimes funny (the cat confusion) internal discourse playing out – revealing snippets of our protagonist’s personality and destination between each constant opening and closing to deliver a unique and tightly-packed (haha) story.
BAGGAGE by Tom Eskdale, NSW
They wouldn’t let me board the flight to ‘A New You.’
I had too much baggage apparently, so they sent me to Room Zero. The walls were bleak white. There was a metal table in the middle and a machine that looked like some sort of shredder in the corner. I set my suitcase on the table and took a seat.
A man came in. He had brown wavy hair that went well past his shoulders, a scraggy beard, a clipboard in his hand and a big smile. He shook my hand.
“Carter. Senior Packing Specialist.”
“Larry,” I said.
He looked down at his clipboard and raised his eyebrows.
“Quite an inventory list.”
Carter unzipped the bag and got to work. First he removed my clothes, toiletries and miscellaneous items and set them on the table. Then he pulled out a big ugly chunk of concrete. My ex. I saw her from across a crowded room in Morocco a few years back. Her smile was so charming but now the thought of her made me ill. Finding her in bed with my best mate was like having my heart ripped out, pan fried with garlic and served to me with fries.
“Better out than in I reckon,” he said. He shot the ex like a basketball into the machine. It gurgled violently and crushed the concrete to dust.
Carter then took out a bunch of holey socks and underwear. My pet peeves. My neighbour who blasts music on Sunday morning, my parking fines and not getting the promotion I wanted.
“This stuff is just dead weight.” He dispatched the tatty garments with no look throws into the machine.
Then he removed my regrets. Stacks and stacks of paper covered in messy writing. All the times I didn’t stick up for myself. All the women I didn’t have the courage to ask out for coffee. All the time I spent working at a desk when I really wanted to be an actor. My tragic script of wuddas, cuddas and shuddas. He ran the pages through the shredder of the machine, and it spat confetti into the trash.
Then there was a picture of my sister and I together as kids. We hadn’t spoken since Mum killed herself five years ago.
“Family is family, man. Pick up the phone,” said Carter. He set the picture aside in a tray labelled “Salvageable.”
Carter stroked his beard in thought.
“There’s one more thing.”
He pulled out a piece of lint. The feeling that I’m not good enough.
How could something so small have such power over me? Carter flicked the lint and it drifted down peacefully to the floor. He tossed my gear from the table back into my suitcase and zipped it up.
“That’s it Larry. You’re packed light and free to fly.”
I suddenly felt faint and a smile lazily formed across my face. I was fine, and whatever was coming would come.
What we liked:
This fun metaphorical piece stood out for its imaginative take, play on words and creative concepts, while also tapping into some core human truths. By choosing to zone in on a single scene and lay out the protagonist’s baggage piece by piece, it manages to fit in much more punch than a complicated storyline would have achieved. (If only we could have our own Carter to help us repack our life for the better!) A nice reminder with a new year approaching that we all have items that might be weighing us down…
MINUTES by Gem Hathaway, NSW
You get five minutes.
The firies were already here when you raced up the driveway. Still in office attire, you weren’t prepared for this.
You burst through the back door and into the kitchen. Smoke mingles with the faint aroma of last night’s spag bol. The pans are still in the sink.
You turn on taps throughout the house, filling sinks and tubs. Bath toys bobble on rising water. You should’ve done this hours ago. You don’t even know why you’re doing it.
You pull photo albums from the bookshelf, tessellating them in your suitcase. You lay the photo frames on top but there’s no time to wrap them. You pray the glass doesn’t shatter as they clunk together.
Dexter’s room. You stuff his tin of Derwents and a vermilion toy tractor into a calico shopping bag. You carefully pluck his drawing of your family off the wall, cursing as dried-out BluTac takes the paint with it.
Sophie’s room. You crush something under your foot. Those damn plastic doll charms, still all over the floor! You take Sophie’s preschool handprint plate off her dresser and place it into the shopping bag, then cram her plush brontosaurus in there too.
Your room. You grab some random clothes and then…. you look around for something sentimental; something to hang onto if all this is lost. You realise there’s nothing from this room you care about keeping.
Outside. Blistering gusts of gritty wind pummel your face. You can’t see flames but it feels like the world is on fire.
‘You gotta go now!’ a firie yells. ‘Stay on Brianna Road and head straight to the school.’
The kids are safe at your parents’ house across town. They left this morning when the fire danger reached catastrophic status. They’ve got their devices, the cat and the sea monkeys. They’re happy for now.
But what have you forgotten? What have you missed? Lifetimes of memories are contained in that house. You glance back one last time.
You gotta go now.
Into the car. You turn the headlights on and the air con up. You go.
Driving down Brianna Road, through an alien landscape of grey, sepia and orange. Fire trucks scream past, heading in the opposite direction, their blue and red flashing lights piercing the darkness. It’s only three in the afternoon.
On the school oval you park perfectly parallel with the ute next to you. There must be at least 50 cars here, but it’s deathly quiet. You amble into the hall and neatly write your name on the list, matter-of-factly, as if you’ve done it a thousand times. Across a crowded room you see your neighbour.
‘There’s so much fuel out there,’ he says, tears welling. ‘And that wind…’
You pat him on the shoulder then plonk down on a school chair. You reach for your phone.
Reception’s one bar. Battery’s on three percent. You forgot to pack a charger.
Before your phone dies, you send a text.
‘I got out’.
What we liked:
In Australia, so many of us have memories of catastrophic bushfire seasons – such as that of two years ago (before pandemics stole the headlines) – and those moments when packing a suitcase isn’t about going on vacation. Here, the second person POV drops us immediately into this story, where personal belongings are chosen under pressure as the world burns. Its restraint with exposition conjures an authentic and emotive story, deftly juxtaposed later by the exchange with the tearful neighbour. The rushed ransack between each location provides glimpses into the household and its family members as the pace mirrors real-time, adding to the naturalism. Subtle repetition (“you gotta go now”) and visceral observations (the darkness and the deathly quiet) elevate this piece further. The simplicity of the ending is particularly apt and poignant – the weight of a single text message.
EXCESS BAGGAGE by Lisa Crane, QLD
“Next please,” Molly said as yet another family shuffled forward, overloaded with bags. “Boarding passes please. Thank-you. Bags on the belt, one at a time. Perfect. Have a good day.”
“How crazy busy is it today?” Molly whispered to Joan, stationed, as always, at the adjoining counter. “My legs are killing me. No overtime is worth this. Next please.”
“I’m hearing you,” Joan said, calling the next passenger.
“I don’t think we’re ever going to get out of here tonight,” Molly said, looking at the long queue. “The line almost goes out the d… Oh my god.”
“What is it?” Joan whispered, turning to the passengers in front of her, “Boarding passes please. Thank-you.”
“The tall guy, glasses, blue shirt. Behind the lady with the pink jacket.”
“Bags on the belt, one at a time. Have a great day. The good looking one with the black backpack?”
“Yeah, that’s him,” Molly sighed. “Boarding pass please. Thank-you. Bags on the belt. Perfect. Have a good day.”
“Who is he? Next please.”
“Next please,” Molly repeated. “My first crush.”
“Ooh, first crush, when was it, Kindergarten?”
“Boarding passes please. Thank-you. Bags on the belt. Perfect. Have a nice day.” Molly turned to Joan, “Very funny, grade twelve, I was a late bloomer. Next please.”
“Boarding pass please. Thank-you. Bags on the belt. How did you meet?”
“Our eyes locked across a crowded room at the Year Twelve Disco. It was love at first sight. You know teenage love. Very intense,” Molly said dreamily. “Boarding pass please. Thank-you.”
“Oh, how romantic. Did you date long?” Joan asked. “That suitcase is too heavy Ma’am. There’ll be an excess baggage charge. Yes, you can take something out.”
“Bags on the belt. Well… we dated for about three months, an age when you’re seventeen. Then he broke my heart.”
“Ma’am you can’t repack your suitcase here, move to the side please. What happened?”
“Perfect. Have a good day,” Molly said. “A charm bracelet.”
“Well to be more precise, Susan Carter and a charm bracelet. We both turned up at school wearing the same bracelet, showed all of our friends and the rest is history.”
“Not so smart then.”
“Do you think he’ll recognise you?”
“I hope not… maybe… it was ten years ago. I refused to speak to him after. You know, first love, my heart was broken. Kind of embarrassing now.”
“Ma’am you need to move, or pay the excess baggage. Here’s your chance, say something to him.”
“No, it was years ago.”
“Okay, suit yourself. Here he comes, he’s all yours.”
“Don’t say anything,” Molly whispered. “I mean it. Next please.”
“Boarding pass please, Molly said smiling. Thank-you. Bags on the belt. That suitcase is too heavy, Sir. There’ll be an excess baggage charge. Yes, you can take something out.”
He looked at Molly, smiling, re-zipping his suitcase. No sign of recognition. He didn’t have the faintest idea as to who she was.
“You’re right, not so smart. Next please.”
What we liked:
Authors may know that dialogue in fiction should be ‘distilled speech’ aka ‘the exciting bits'. But as Pablo Picasso once said, “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” This story’s pièce de résistance is how it heavily leans into the ‘boring’ bits – burying its narrative thread deep inside the repetitive customer service spiel between two workmates. In fact, it’s this ‘excess baggage’ of words that creates such a vivid and humorous scene – one you can picture clearly like a film, despite its lack of other descriptions. Props for also treating the suitcase packing prompt as a side-piece to the story. Next please.
SANTA’S SUITCASE by Andrea Barton, Vic
Santa perched on an armchair, puffing as he bent over to untie his laces. No matter how many Pilates sessions he attended, his potbelly wouldn’t budge. He pulled off his boots, which were softened with age but polished to a gleam, and placed them in an open suitcase on the floor. With a faint sigh, he undid his belt, wound it around its silver buckle and tucked it in too. His hat came next.
As he shrugged off his red fur-lined jacket, Mrs Claus came in from the kitchen, smelling of nutmeg, her hair pulled into a neat bun.
She eyed the suitcase. ‘You’re leaving? A month before Christmas? Don’t tell me this is about little Johnny.’
He admired her across a crowded room filled with soft toys, LEGO sets and myriad fancy bots and Nintendo games he didn’t have the first idea how to play. ‘My love, Johnny doesn’t believe I’m real. You know how it goes … if I fall in a forest and no one’s around to hear me—’
‘You’re not a tree.’
‘Still. My whole job’s based around the premise that I’m never seen.’ Santa heaved up to his feet and slipped off his red trousers. He’d never liked them; they made his bum look big. Into the case they went, crushed next to the furry jacket.
‘Your job brings hope and happiness.’
‘If children like Johnny don’t have faith, I’m nothing.’ In his singlet and Y-fronts, he strode to the bathroom and grabbed a pair of scissors.
Mrs Claus watched, hands clutched at her throat. ‘Please don’t. It’ll never grow back in time.’
He hacked off his beard, leaving jagged white tuffs like cactus spines. ‘In time for what? Don’t you see? It’s over.’
He returned to the workshop, closed the case and hefted it into a corner behind the toys, which, understanding they were no longer required, had depleted in number.
‘Come on now. I know it’s hard, a crisis like this.’ Mrs Claus grabbed a pile of papers from the desk. ‘But look, here’s a letter from Lily, begging for an iPad. And Anastasia says she’s been behaving herself all year and will leave out milk and cookies.’
Santa stared out the window at the wind-driven snow. ‘You can’t charm me like that. If she really cared, she’d know I was lactose intolerant.’
‘Now you’re just feeling sorry for yourself.’
‘Maybe so, but I’m all out of ho-ho-hos. It’s time I did something for myself instead of living my life to please others.’
‘But what if you don’t exist outside their dreams?’
‘Precisely. Can’t you see? That’s why I must go.’
‘Then take me with you.’
Their eyes locked, and their love welled, stronger than the day they wed.
He smiled. ‘You understand if we walk out that door, there’s an equal chance we’ll live or die?’
‘But who’ll ever know?’
Hand in hand, they stepped into the storm, and the treacherous night swallowed them whole.
What we liked:
We’ve showcased quite a variety of stories and styles this month, and what better place to end than with a straight-talking Santa who has lost his mojo. This delightful tale definitely got us into the festive spirit, even if the big man isn’t really feeling it – with Santa joining ‘the great resignation’ vibe of many workers right now. Throughout, we found ourselves ho-ho-hoing at some of the spectacular lines in this piece and banter between the Clauses. (The gentle “You're not a tree” from Mrs Claus is a zinger). Apart from the fact it’s clearly having fun with a famous figure, this story glows brighter by tapping into the central core relationship between the couple and their surprisingly authentic dynamic. And on that note, that’s where we leave it for this month, as we step hand in hand back out into the storm…
Getting longlisted is a big deal. It means that your story was in the top 3% of all the stories that our judges read this month – and that’s worth celebrating. Yet if your name isn’t here, that might simply mean you were in the next 5% or 10% – so don’t lose heart. This judging thing can be a subjective and sometimes cruel mistress. Keep believing in your creativity!
THIS MONTH’S LONGLISTED (in no particular order):
- THE MORNING AFTER by Rani Jayakumar, United States
- UNTITLED by Alex Herstedt, Sweden
- UNTITLED by Elizabeth Gonzalez, VIC
- FINALE by Don Banks, QLD
- UNTITLED by Hannah Kelly, United Kingdom
- JOSHUA by Adrian Lane-Mullins, QLD
- TRINKETS by Catherine Craig, NSW
- SING YOUR HEART OUT by Gail D Drew, NSW
- GOOD HUSBAND by Jamila Head-Toussaint, NSW
- I HATE CHRISTMAS by Howard Marsh, QLD
- DETERMINATION by Sue Clayton, NSW
- A PACKING LIST FOR WHEN YOU LEAVE ME by Julie Meier, Canada
- IN MY DREAMS by Rosemary Matheson, NSW
- A DIFFERENT TREE by Margaret Bloch, WA
- STOWAWAY by Cynthia Bolton, QLD
- METRONOME by Haydon Leigh, NSW
- NEW KID by Nathan Taylor, QLD
- SWEET DAMAGE by Brian Parisi, United States
- REBUILD by Cath Krejany, VIC
- ON TUNBRIDGE HALT by Louise Elliott, WA
- PRODIGAL DAUGHTER by Sally Simon, United States
- NO ONE WOULD EVER KNOW by E J Terry, VIC
- REMEMBERING by Jenny Lynch, WA
- MARKETING by Kate Ridley, New Zealand
- UNRAVEL (VERB):TO SEPARATE INTO A SINGLE THREAD by Michele Burnlar, WA
- ONE ENCHANTED EVENING by Tim Mcnamara, QLD
- HOW DID WE GET HERE? by Duyen Nguyen, VIC
- A CONVERSATION WITH SISYPHUS by Cheryl Brown, WA
- LETTERS by Anna Mcevoy, QLD
- DEPARTURE by Nina Kiriki Hoffman, United States
- TRADING FUTURES by Peter Neale, NSW
- THE FIRST NIGHT by Vincent Anioke, Canada
- ABRACADABRA by Lisa Jose, ACT
- AN OCTOPUS WALKS INTO A LAUNDROMAT by Scott Lemon, QLD
- THE ULTIMATE REJECTION by Phil Margetts, New Zealand
- UNTITLED by S.R. Mills, NSW
- PACKING LIST by Tehnuka, New Zealand
- FIRST DATE by Alexandra Guest, NSW
- THE FARTHEST PLACE ON EARTH FROM QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA by Scout Easson, QLD
- A HEAD FULL OF CLOUDS by Ash Brennan, NSW
- THE NEED FOR SOMEONE SPECIAL by Katie Isham, United Kingdom