Registration open 1st of March 2024


Meet the Judges

Suellen Drysdale

Junior Short Story

Suellen Drysdale spent a large part of her childhood daydreaming and reading books. As an adult she still loves to daydream but now shares her unruly imagination through writing.

She has published two children’s adventure fantasy novels, The Hybrid and the Lost Tails of Mermirran and its sequel, The Hybrid and the Emeralds of Elisar – both receiving finalist awards in The Next Generation Indie Book awards in the USA.

Suellen also published a children’s picture book, Forgetful Gran’s Muddle Rhymes aimed at both younger and ancient readers.

Residing in the quiet outskirts of Shepparton, Suellen is the President of the Goulburn Valley Writers Group Inc. and has judged the Junior Section of the Joseph Furphy Literary Prize since 2006.

John Lewis

Youth Short Story

John Lewis is a Welsh-born writer and journalist who has worked with words and readers for more than 35 years.

He has a BA in Humanities specialising in English and European Literature, Art History and History. During the 1980s he worked in Fleet St, London for Britain’s Press Association as a picture caption writer and picture desk operator.

For the past 28 years he has worked as a sub-editor, reporter, features writer and Chief of Staff at The Shepparton News. He has also written a weekly column since 1993.

In 2001 he published an illustrated book – Some Shiny Days – based on his columns about childhood and fatherhood. This was also turned into a musical play and performed with Shepparton Theatre Arts Group actors and musicians over two seasons at WestSide Performing Arts Centre in Mooroopna.

He is a two-time winner of the Joseph Furphy Commemorative Poetry Award.

John has two children and three grandchildren and lives in Shepparton with his wife Fiona and dog Finn. He enjoys playing guitar and writing the occasional poem on his backyard verandah.

Pauline Roberts

Youth Short Story

Pauline has been an avid reader of  “everything & anything” for as long as she can remember. Pauline is also a writer and in 2015 was the Winner of the Kingston Artz Blitz – Creative Writing Prize.

During her career, both as a teacher and a librarian, she has had the delight of being able to share her love and enthusiasm for “getting lost in a book” with several thousand children over the years. No job could be more pleasurable and rewarding than inspiring the next generation of bookworms.

As a judge for the Joseph Furphy Commemorative Literary Prize, she has found it a pleasure to read the incredibly original stories entered in the Youth Section of the Awards over the last few years. The students’ thoughts & aspirations for the future are evident in their writing and discovering these aspirations and dreams is always rewarding. On the other hand, selecting just one winner can be a challenge, but one that she enjoys.

Robyn Black

Youth Poetry

Robyn Black is an Australian poet, memoirist, and short fiction writer. She is the former president of the Goulburn Valley Writers Group Inc., Shepparton,  and the Writers Victoria Ambassador for the Goulburn Valley (Vic) region.

A poet and short story writer, she is the twice winner and subsequent judge of the Joseph Furphy Open Poetry prize. Former editor of Tamba magazine she has been short-listed in the 2016 Victoria University Short Story Prize and in several Alan Marshall Short Story Awards.

Robyn has been published in various magazines and anthologies including the Montreal International Poetry Prize (2011) Longlist Anthology.

Her collection of poetry entitled No Straight Lines was published by Ginninderra Press in 2021.

Tru Dowling

Junior Poetry

Tru S. Dowling is a Bendigo mother, poet, performer, freelance writer and editor. She has taught fiction writing, poetry, story-telling and non-fiction at Victoria University, Bendigo Tafe and privately for over 16 years. Pre-occupations include hospitality roles, volunteer counselor, and singer-songwriter for folk band The Wagtales.

Her poems have been awarded, read or published in Australia, Ireland, the UK and USA. Tru has appeared at various writers’ festivals as emcee, presenter, guest writer and judge, and exhibited her work alongside artists and musicians. Community projects, social justice, nature, the dialogical and relational inspire her writing.

Memoirs of a Consenting Victim (Mark Time Books, 2011) is Tru’s first poetry collection; her latest book is Butcher Baker His-Story Maker (Birdfish Books, 2020), a verse novella meditating on family and place across three generations of life in Castlemaine. She is currently working on a poetry manuscript entitled Canopy.


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The Furphy Anthology 2023!

This hardcover anthology includes 16 of the best short stories selected from the 2023 Furphy Literary Award.