We have a wide range of judges each year from across the Upper Murray and beyond and from a variety of backgrounds and experience. We prefer to keep their identities anonymous.


All entries will be judged together (it does not matter whether they are fiction or non-fiction). Each entry will be sent to 3 judges. Each judge will give each entry a mark out of 100. This score can be determined, at the judges’ discretion, by allocating a number point for each category as per the weighting below, or as a single overall score.

Score weighting categories:
• A good story, well told (50%)
• Australasian rural experience (10%)
• Grammar, punctuation & spelling (10%)
• Compelling use of language (10%)
• Flowing and complete storyline (10%)
• Originality & creativity (10%)


Writers do like to receive feedback on their submissions. However, it is entirely up to each judge if they wish to do this.

The initial judging scores are collated and standardized (to compensate for judges who overall mark higher or lower than others).

A shortlist for both open and local categories is then obtained from the highest overall scoring entries. There is no set number of shortlisted entries, the cutoff will be determined by the spread of the scores.

All shortlisted entries will be sent to all judges. Each judge will be asked to select their 5 “favourite” entries and rate those stories in preference from 1 to 5.

The 5 preferred entries and rankings from each judge will be collated and the winners will be the entries which have more judges preferring them in a higher order of preference.