Furphy Literary Award

Everyone can write at least one good story. That was the belief of J. F. Archibald, the editor and founder of the famous nineteenth-century weekly, The Bulletin, who invited his readers to become contributors. It was this encouragement that led Joseph Furphy, working in his brother’s foundry at Shepparton, to write his ‘offensively Australian’ novel 'Such is Life', using the pseudonym of ‘Tom Collins’. The book, full of stories derived from Joseph’s experience in the Riverina and told in a voice uniquely his own, is now acknowledged to be a classic of Australian literature.

For the Furphy Literary Awards, Council is supporting the Furphy Foundation to deliver the Junior and Youth Categories along with Latrobe University and Goulburn Valley Libraries.

The Junior and Youth awards consist of:
Junior Short Story – 12 years and younger, 2000 word short story on any theme
Junior Poetry – 12 years and younger, 20 lines on any theme
Youth Short Story – 13-17 years, 2000 word short story on any theme
Youth Poetry – 13-17 years, 30 lines any theme

The Furphy Literary Awards and structured on the belief “Everyone can write at least one good story” (J.F Archibald) Therefore students have no limitations on what they can write on, it can be fiction, non-fiction, fantasy, thriller. There is no limitation on what their story is.

Each award category will have prizes of first place of $300, second place $100 and third place $50.


In the spirit of Archibald and honouring the author of Such is Life, the Furphy Literary Award has been established to promote and extend the tradition of story telling, both factual and fictional, that is so much part of Australian life.

From 2020 the Furphy Literary Award will invite entries of previously unpublished short stories of up to 5000 words for a first prize of $15,000 in the open category. A junior and youth category with a prize pool of $1350 will seek entries for short stories and poetry. In addition to the monetary prizes it is intended that selected works will be included in a collection to be published regularly and that the winner of the open category will also be invited to participate in a residency program in Shepparton.

The Furphy Literary Award includes award winning judges, generous prizes and most importantly the platform and opportunity for all writers to use their talents to compete at the highest standard.

The Furphy Literary Award, both national & regional, is made possible from the generous support and contribution provided by the sponsors and to the many people that have contributed to the Joseph Furphy Literary Awards since 1992.

Go to the Furphy Literary Award website for more details and to enter.

About Joseph Furphy

Joseph Furphy, pseudonym Tom Collins, (born Sept. 26, 1843, Yering, near Yarra Glen, Victoria), Australian author whose novels combine an acute sense of local Australian life and colour with the eclectic philosophy and literary ideas of a self-taught workingman.

After marrying at 24 and suffering a series of droughts in Corop Northern Victoria, Joseph eventually established himself as a bullock driver based in Hay NSW. Alas after 5 years of this occupation drought and disease wiped out his bullock team and he subsequently returned to Shepparton where his brother offered him work in the foundry.

During this time Joseph toiled by night at his novel Such Is Life – most of which he wrote in his cottage behind the foundry in Welsford St. Such is Life was a collection of stories which reflected his time in the Riverina as a bullock driver. It originally appeared in the Bulletin in 1903 and has since been recognised as a significant piece of Australian Literature. Joseph moved to Fremantle in 1904 to be nearer his three children and died there in 1912. For more information about Joseph Furphy visit www.josephfurphy.com.au