Rated 4.50/5 based on 4 reviews
Thirty-seven award-winning short stories from Australian and international authors are showcased in this entertaining and thought-provoking anthology from the Stringybark Short Story Awards. An open-themed award this collection of stories covers topics from romance to murder, humour to horror and everything in between. Dive in for some wonderful literary treats! More

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About David Vernon

I am a freelance writer and editor. I am father of two boys. For the last few years I have focussed my writing interest on chronicling women and men’s experience of childbirth and promoting better support for pregnant women and their partners. Recently, for a change of pace, I am writing two Australian history books. In 2014 I was elected Chair of the ACT Writers Centre.

In 2010 I established the Stringybark Short Story Awards to promote the short story as a literary form.

Learn more about David Vernon

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Ted Witham reviewed on Aug. 2, 2018

Canberra-based David Vernon has been running the Stringybark Story Awards since 2010 to promote Australian short story writing. Writers are rightly sceptical of contests where you are asked to pay a fee to enter and then pay to purchase the collection. This would be vanity publishing. In Stringybark’s case, there is an entry fee and the e-book collection is then free to all the authors included. Having entered three or four Stringybark awards, however, I am satisfied that David Vernon’s enterprise is good for writers.

This year 249 entries were received and a panel of four judges including Vernon made the selection of 37 stories.
This year’s selection range over a diversity of themes and styles: there are stories reflecting on mortality and birth, drought and love, children’s imagination and loneliness – the human condition with an Australian accent.

Unlike some contests where the requirements of the contest cause a certain uniformity in the stories, the story-telling in Stringybark is diverse. All are well-crafted, some are strong on dialogue, one is a framed monologue, some are vernacular, others more literary.

It’s hard to review such a variety, but I enjoyed nearly all the stories. Some like Mark Scott’s The Jam Tin evoke the quotidian feelings of diggers in the trenches in World War I. Roger Leigh tells the story of a day-dreaming boy Missing in Action whose fantasies contribute to an actual kidnapping. His ability to show us the boy’s perspective stayed with me long after reading it.

The old lady’s vendetta in Gab Gardner’s Timber! kept its surprise till the last paragraph. An Indian kid included in a game of cricket, a dance instructor in a country town finding a way to make dancing cool, funerals, starting afresh – the plots go on. Martin Lindsay scared me on a Lonely Stretch. There's even a gentle story about a West Australian con-man by this reviewer.

Timber! is a collection to enjoy and to come back to. I will be looking out for future Stringybark anthologies, and more and more content to enter their contests.
(reviewed 39 days after purchase)
Kitty Gardner reviewed on July 27, 2018

If you thought Australia was an homogenous zone - you're wrong. Great stories from tears to wry humour to us at our worst. A compelling collection of modern writers from an ancient land.
(reviewed 33 days after purchase)
Saumur reviewed on July 18, 2018
(no rating)
Some priceless gems hidden in these pages. No issue is off-limits; from the pain of aging through to the desperate, secret agency of childhood. This is Australia laid bare and it hurts....sometimes in a good way.
(reviewed 21 days after purchase)
Deanne Seigle-Buyat reviewed on July 16, 2018

Another great collection of Australian short stories. Two of my favourites are "Timber!" by Gabrielle Gardener (a wonderful delight) and "Soundscape" by Chris Moss (breath-taking) but so many deserve a mention. The scope of genres is impressive and the snapshots of Australian life (from every angle) are true and thoroughly engaging. A great Australian anthology.
(reviewed 19 days after purchase)
theonlygolux reviewed on July 11, 2018

A collection of stories which moves from strength to strength. The variation is interesting and kept me coming back. Each has it's own theme, and David Vernon has compiled a sequence which draws shared themes out and emphasizes differing viewpoints as the book continues. Great read!
(reviewed 16 days after purchase)
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