Melbourne-based journalist and writer Andy Murdoch has taken out the top prize in this year’s short story competition, Sex Write Off.
Sponsored by queer bookshop Hares & Hyenas and the Victorian AIDS Council, the writing competition focuses on literary works which explore sexual expression between men.
The event is now in its third year and competition judge Geoffrey Knight (of gay erotic adventure Fathom Five series fame) said this year’s entries were some of the best received.
“Australia’s GLBT community once again proved what a diverse and talented bunch we are with the short stories that were entered into this competition,” Knight said.
“From the bracingly real to gay fables, from the darkly dramatic to stories that unearth our darkest desires, this year’s entries surprised, delighted and pushed the envelope.
“It was inspiring to see just how creative and original Australia’s queer writers are.”
This year’s theme was ‘two-timing’, with stories about polyamory, cheating, open relationships, and sex outside relationships encouraged.
The competition offers a prize pool of $2000.
Murdoch won $1000 for his efforts, trumping Shaun Levin and James May who each took home $500.
“I think it’s really important that queer writers have opportunities like this to get stories out there that would otherwise be ignored by the mainstream,” Murdoch said.
Levin agreed, saying the competition is vital for often taboo subjects to be tackled openly.
“Competitions like Sex Write Off, which encourages the gay short story, and particularly the gay short about sex, are particularly important in a world that is becoming increasingly prudish, homophobic and sex-negative,” Levin said.
Madrid-based US anthologist, writer and publisher Lawrence Schimel also judged the works.
A selection of entries will be read on January 24 as part of the 2012 Word Is Out season, hosted by Hares & Hyenas for the Midsumma Festival.