A Story in Miniature - 2023 writing competition

VATE is excited to launch our 2023 writing competition A Story in Miniature. Students in Years 7 to 12 and their teachers are invited to submit a story between 300 and 500 words in length inspired by the writing competition theme - 'a story in miniature'.

"Short stories do not say this happened and this happened and this happened. They are a microcosm and a magnification rather than a linear progression." - Isobelle Carmody

We encourage students and teachers to find inspiration from the miniature stories that make up their daily life - the small interactions and delightful tidbits that make up their day - and transform them, with brevity, into a piece of polished prose. What could a story in miniature be?

A moment in time.
A short interaction between friends.
A vignette depicting the future.
A portrait of daily life at home.
A slice of an imagined world.
A snapshot into another life.
A glimpse of the past.

Yellow Submarine
Sarah told her friends she'd rather die than go away with her stupid family. She said she'd prefer to make out with some creepy dude with bad breath than endure, for two whole weeks, her brother's surliness, her dad's relentless optimism, her mum's jeans. The morning they pulled out, the sun igniting the dew on their lawn, she stared out of her window and contemplated the vast pointlessness of everything. Thirteen kilometres later, she caught herself humming along to Yellow Submarine on the radio, then noticed her father watching her through the rear-view mirror. He winked. She may have smiled.
© Paul Connolly (Text Publishing)

Competition details

There are four categories available in the competition. Schools may submit up to five entries in each of the categories.

Years 7 and 8 students | Years 9 and 10 students | Years 11 and 12 students | Teachers

Each entry must be accompanied by a completed entry form and emailed to writingcompetition@vate.org.au by 4pm on Friday 15 September 2023. Entries without a completed entry form will not be considered. The winners of each category will receive a $150 book voucher and their stories will be published in Idiom. The runners up will receive a book package from our competition supporters.

Click here to view the 2022 winners and runners up.

Teaching package

This year, we are excited to offer a teaching package to accompany A Story in Miniature at no cost to members. To access the resource, log into your VATE account in the top righthand corner and under your name click 'Resources'. You will see the resource in the results that pop up or you can click here if you are already logged in.


"It's possible, in a poem or a short story, to write about commonplace things and objects using commonplace but precise language, and to endow those things - a chair, a window curtain, a fork, a stone, a woman's earring - with immense, even startling power." - Raymond Carver