Please note: Some of the content on this page was published prior to the launch of Creative Australia and references the Australia Council. Read more.

Dal Stivens Literary Award

The Dal Stivens Award is presented biennially to an author, aged 30 or under, for a short story or essay of the highest literary merit.

About this Award

The Dal Stivens Award is presented biennially to an author, aged 30 or under, for a short story or essay of the highest literary merit. The story or essay must be:

  • between 3,000 and 10,000 words (including footnotes or other material)
  • published or accepted for publication within the 12 months prior to the Award closing date.

Self-published works will be accepted for this Award, but must be edited to a professional standard.

The recipient will receive $15,000. You may submit up to two entries.

The Dal Stivens Award was established in the will of Juanita Cragen in 2007. Dal Stivens (1911-1997) was an Australian writer and founding President of the Australian Society of Authors in 1963. His written works include eight collections of short stories, from The Tramp and Other Stories (1936) to The Unicorn and Other Tales (1976).

Dal Stiven’s contribution to Australian literature was huge. He published his first novel, Jimmy Brockett, in 1948. As a freelance writer, his short stories were regularly published in Lilliput, The Times Literary Supplement, The Observer and John O’London’s Weekly. In 1969, Stivens was described in The Australian Book Review as “in the front ranks of Australia’s short story writers”. He won the Miles Franklin Literary Award in 1970 for best Australian novel with A Horse of Air and in 1981 he won the Patrick White Literary Award for his contribution to Australian Literature. He was honoured with a Special Achievement Award in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards in 1994. Dal also wrote under the pseudonyms Jack Tarrant, John Sidney, Sam Johnson and L’Arva Street. Stivens was the Foundation President of the Australian Society of Authors and was instrumental in establishing the rights of Australian authors within the commercial sphere.

The Award is administered by the Australia Council on behalf of Perpetual as trustee.

A list of previous recipients is available here.

Who can apply

To apply for this Award you must be:

  • aged 30 years or under at the 7 February 2023 closing date
  • either Australian citizens, or have been permanent residents in the two years preceding the 7 February 2023 closing date.

These are the terms established by deed of the Dal Stivens Award and there are no exceptions to these requirements. To be eligible for this Award you must provide proof of your Australian citizenship or permanent residency (e.g. passport, permanent residency visa). If you will have difficulty providing this, please contact Artists Services to discuss your situation.

Please note you must self-nominate for this Award. A maximum of two entries per applicant will be accepted.

Who can’t apply

You can’t apply for the Award if:

  • you do not hold copyright for the work you wish to submit for consideration
  • your story or essay has not been accepted for publication within the 12 months prior to the 7 February 2023 closing date
  • your short story or essay is less than 3,000 words in length, or greater than 10,000 words in length, including footnotes or other material
  • you received a grant, or administered a grant, from the Australia Council in the past and that grant has not been satisfactorily acquitted
  • you owe money to the Australia Council.

Your proposal will be assessed by Australia Council staff. We may seek industry advice on your proposal before making our recommendation to Perpetual, who will make the final decision.

The decision of Perpetual is final and no feedback on entries or further correspondence on decisions will be provided.

Applications for this Award are submitted through our online system. If you are using the system for the first time you will need to register your details to access the application form.

We do not accept entries submitted via post. Any material received by post will not be assessed and will be returned to the sender. If you think you will have difficulty submitting your entry online, please contact Artists Services.

Your support material must include your short story or essay in its entirety.

Your support material should also provide evidence that your short story or essay has been published, or has been accepted for publication, within the 12 months prior to the Award closing date. This could include a letter from the publisher.

To be eligible for the Dal Stivens Award, you must provide proof of Australian citizenship or permanent residency. To do this please include proof in your support material; this may include a copy of your passport or permanent residency visa.

Our preferred method of receiving support material is via URLs (weblinks). URLs should be direct links to the material you wish to present.

However, if you cannot supply support material via a URL, we will accept written artistic support material uploaded as a PDF with your application.

To find out more about support material please contact Artists Services.