The Pearl Prize
Image: supplied by Osborne and Fawkner Publishing
A glittering addition to the queer writing scene
2023-24 AWARD WINNERS
Main Award Winner: Spencer M. F. Rodrick
(Prize: $500 supported by Midsumma Festival)
Highly Commended Winner: Sam Elkin
(Prize: $300 supported by Osborne and Fawkner)
The Pearl Prize is presented with Osborne and Fawkner Publishing and supported by Midsumma Festival. A writing award where Queer writers have a platform of self expression through the writing landscape and into publication. Fifteen finalists were selected and published in The Pearl Prize 2024. The award was proudly announced at Hares and Hyenas at The Victorian Pride Centre. A queer bloom in the Australian writing landscape. The Pearl Prize is unique to Midsumma Festival as it is the first of its kind in a queer arts and culture festival in Australia.
The publication featuring the works from the fifteen finalists is available to purchase from the Midsumma Closet.
Meet The Pearl Prize 2024 Finalists
Alex Creece (She/Her) is a writer, collage artist, and average kook living on Wadawurrung land. Alex works as the Online Editor for Archer Magazine and the Production Editor for Cordite Poetry Review. She's also on the editorial committee for Sunder Journal. Alex has been awarded fellowships with Writers Victoria, Arts Access Australia, The Wheeler Centre, and Midsumma Pathways. Her work has been shortlisted for the Kat Muscat Fellowship, the Next Chapter Scheme, the Geelong Writers Prize, the Born Writers Award, and the Lord Mayor's Creative Writing Award. Alex's debut poetry collection, Potty Mouth, Potty Mouth, is out with Cordite Books in 2024.
Henri de Groot
Henri de Groot (He/Him) is the author of Pesto Dressing which appeared in Pulch Mag 2022 and has recently received his Bachelor of Arts for Creative Writing from Edith Cowan University. As a high school drop-out and university graduate, he is building his writing career his way – queering dark fantasy. This comes through in his short story writing about the mythology of banshees, cherubs and ghosts, which he finishes while working on his urban fantasy novel. Queer stories are a cornerstone in his writing because it’s life as an LGTBQIA+ person that compels him to commune through storytelling. In his head, there is always rain pattering against the bay windows and a fire crackling across the room as he theorises how his book of the month will end. He has always carried a penchant for fantasy novels, true crime, comics and witches through life as a winebibber with an unsophisticated palate, but a refined taste in bad jokes.
Sam Elkin (He/Him) is a writer, radio maker, community worker and co-editor of Nothing to Hide: Voices of Trans and Gender Diverse Australia (Allen & Unwin, 2022) and Bent Street’s Soft Border, Hard Edges (Clouds of Magellan, 2021). Born in England and raised on Noongar land, Sam now lives on unceded Wurundjeri land near the Maribyrnong River. Sam’s essays have been published in the Griffith Review, Australian Book Review, Sydney Review of Books, Overland Literary Journal, Mascara Literary Review and Kill Your Darlings. He currently co-hosts the 3RRR radio show Queer View Mirror and has previously co-hosted Joy 94.9’s Transgender Warriors and the ABC History Listen’s Crossing Time: Australia's Transgender History. Sam is a tilde Melbourne Trans & Gender Diverse Film Festival board member. His debut memoir Detachable Penis: A Queer Legal Saga will be released by Upswell Publishing in May 2024.
Adam Fawcett (they/them) is a queer playwright and screenwriter who lives and works on Djaara country in the Central Highlands of regional Victoria. With a practice focused on exploring queerness and trauma through text, their debut play Become The One was awarded the 2018 Midsumma Queer Playwriting Award before embarking on a national tour in 2022. Adam recently worked with Matthewswood Productions to develop Become The One into a 21-episode web series, which was shot in Melbourne and will be released shortly. Adam’s second play, Every Lovely Terrible Thing has been commissioned by Theatre Works in a co-production with Lab Kelpie and will premiere in March 2024, while their latest play, Men on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, is a current finalist in the 2024 Midsumma Queer Playwriting Award. Their short play Sissy received public readings at Seymour Centre in Sydney, Short & Loud at Arts Centre Melbourne and the Bradford Playhouse in Leeds, while another short play, Somewhere Only We Know, was recently performed in London.
Julien Furnace (any pronouns) came from France 10 years ago thinking he'd just do one year of a working holiday visa and then go back to his birth country but now he's Australian. He was doing stand-up comedy so far - you may have seen his show Faguette at Midsumma 2020 - for which he would tell funny stories about being a gay immigrant, in unsettling detail according to some audiences. Then Covid hit and he sobered up from his stage addiction but did not lose his thirst for creativity, therefore he decided to try his luck at storytelling. Cherry Bottom is his first entry in a short story competition and you can be sure he will brag about it for a long time. Julien is attracted to speculative fiction, especially optimistic science-fiction, and is interested in how technological progress and scientific discoveries can impact gender, sexuality, identity and raison d'être at a personal or social level. Yeah, he’s recently turned 40 and you can tell he is definitely having a midlife crisis.
Kalliste (kuh-lis-tee) Hardy
Kalliste (kuh-lis-tee) Hardy is a Greek-Australian woman (she/her/hers) living on unceded Gayamaygal land. Growing up between Australia, the United States and Greece, she is now a full-time English and Visual Arts student at the University of Sydney and works part-time in an indie bookstore. In her writing, she enjoys working with her experience of diaspora, ancestry, grief, and the natural world. Poetry, short fiction, and memoir are the genres she lingers in most, finding that they often intertwine. Her work has been published by Trash to Treasure Lit and more recently Voiceworks Magazine. Kalliste is currently working on a collection of short stories about the intersection of horror and sapphism. At any given moment she is either journaling (ferociously), eating figs (messily), or playing chess (poorly).
T. L. Jones
T. L. Jones (He/Him) is a multicultural queer writer, who lives and works in Ballarat, Victoria. He was a finalist for the Penguin Random House Write It Fellowship (2023); The Hawkeye Prize (2022); and the Romance Writers of Australia’s Emerald Award (2022) and Valerie Parv Award (2021). His writing has appeared in Australian magazines, zines, and independent publications. Jones also works as a speech writer and teaches public relations at RMIT. When not writing, he can be found tending to his garden, perusing an art gallery or with his nose in a history book.
Nathan McDonald (he/him) is a writer living and working on Cammeraygal Country, New South Wales. By day he works for a community services not-for-profit that focuses on accessible, safe housing for people with a disability. He spends the rest of his time reading and writing with his two dogs by his side. Nathan gravitates towards complex stories of realistic characters in vivid settings. His writing has strong focuses on the concepts of masculinity, community and relationships; especially involving queer characters.
Scott-Patrick Mitchell (SPM)
Scott-Patrick Mitchell (They/Them) (SPM) lives on Whadjuk Noongar Country in Western Australia. They are a non-binary performance poet who won the Queensland Poetry 2023 XYZ Award for Innovation in Performance Poetry. The poetic sequence that appears in this anthology is autobiographical: in 2013, SPM experienced homophobic violence as described in i. Inciting Incident. The following years have been plagued with C-PTSD as SPM has struggled to come to terms with the impact of this event. Through performance poetry, open mics and slam poetry, SPM has found a way to heal, a way to transmute the pain into something powerful. This poetic sequence is testament to this healing process and how SPM has utilised performance and poetry as a mechanism through which to move into a braver place of being. In 2022, SPM was awarded the Red Room Poetry Fellowship and a National Trust of WA’s highly coveted INSPIRE Residency. SPM can be found on social media via @spmpoet.
Cat Nadel (she/they) is a community organiser from Naarm (Melbourne), attempting to create more room in their life for writing. Cat’s short fiction has previously been published in Overland Literary Journal. Their non-fiction writing on themes to do with climate change, economic justice, social movements, and science fiction has featured in various online publications, including Jacobin Australia, Green Agenda, and The Commons.
Spencer M.F Rodrick
Spencer M.F Rodrick is a genderqueer (and generally queer) autistic creator based in Naarm who uses any pronouns. With a declining fluency in French, two cats, and a lot of close friends in far places, most of their time is spent figuring out how to turn physics into poetry and what kind of deep sea fish she’d most like to be (current highest contender is the narrownose chimaera). They ‘self-published’ their first novel at 9 years old, proudly presenting a 20-something page fantasy as a gift to their parents — and thus began the accumulation of hundreds of unfilled notebooks, abandoned word documents, and unfinished stories as they developed their style. After all this, they’ve found their love in writing stories about being extremely normal in space but very weird on earth, and are in the process of teaching themselves video game coding and animation. Spencer was part of the Toolkits: Graphic Narratives class of 2023 organised by Express Media. His other work can be found on instagram at @spyspyspyder
Niko Satria (He/Him) was born in Indonesia. After completing his undergraduate study and a brief working stint in the United States, he moved to Australia and settled in Wangal Country/Western Sydney. His day job involves gathering, analysing, and presenting data. Having worked in the information technology field for his whole career, Niko enjoys driving his old analog car and chasing down unusual vintage wristwatches in his free time for a change. Staying with the analog theme, he also enjoys reading physical books on vintage cars, history, and travel. During the covid lockdown, Niko started writing short stories to pass the time. In the process, he discovered that it helped him mentally process past events, as well as explore new places and situations while travel wasn’t possible. After the lockdown was lifted, he decided to continue his writing journey. Niko’s current goal is to continue improving his storytelling and working towards writing a much longer piece.
Hope Lee Sneddon
Hope Lee Sneddon (She/Her) is a bi writer currently based in Naarm, Melbourne. She is a final year PhD student at RMIT focusing on finance cultures and memoir writing. She holds an MA from the University of Zurich, majoring in Literature Studies. Hope has written creative and academic works for various publications, including the recent short story “Sibling”, featured in the anthology Emergence, published with SBS Emerging Writers and Hardie Grant Publishers. You can find Hope hiking in nature when she isn’t working on her writing or curled up with a book.
Phil Soliman (He/Him) is an artist, designer, filmmaker, educator, and DJ living and working on Wurundjeri land in Melbourne. He has a Master of Fine Arts from RMIT University, and has exhibited extensively including key shows in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Auckland. He writes regularly and has recently started the writing group "Queer Writers Naarm Melbourne" to provide a space for queer and neurodivergent folks to write and share their stories.
Liz Sutherland (they/them) lives on the unceded lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation. They draw from a decade of advocacy on the climate crisis, HIV, Aboriginal health, and domestic violence in their writing and activism. Liz is studying a Master of Arts (Writing) and brings lived-experience narratives of neurodivergent, queer, polyam, and trans joy into their writing. Their words have appeared in the Hunter Writers Centre Grieve Anthology, the Wheeler Centre’s Spring Fling ‘Stripped Queer’, ScratchThat Magazine, Into The Wetlands Poetry Anthology, at Q-Lit festival events, and more.
Event & ticketing detailsRegister
Dates & Times
|Sat 3 Feb 2pm
|Sat 3 Feb 2pm
|Free event, but booking is required
Victorian Pride Centre - Hares and Hyenas
79-81 Fitzroy St, St KildaGet directions
Tram3a, 16, 96 to stop 133 | tram 12 to stop 143
18+ (not restricted)