About the 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 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.

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.

The Furphy Literary Award will invites entries of previously unpublished short stories of up to 5000 words for a first prize of $15,000, 2nd prize of $3,000 and 3rd prize of $2,000 in the open category. A junior and youth category with a prize pool of $1,800 will seek entries for short stories and poetry. In addition to the monetary prizes it is intended that selected works in the open category will be included in an anthology to be published annually 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.

Please click on the relevant button below for details, conditions of entry and more!

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

FURPHY – the war and the word

During the First World War Australian soldiers congregated at the back of Furphy-branded water carts manufactured by Joseph’s brother John. At training camps and on battlefields, they spread speculative (and increasingly wild) rumours and stories of what was happening and what was about to happen. These often ingenious fabrications became known as “Furphies” and the word entered our national vernacular.

Furphy Literary Award Advisory Board

Sam & Adam Furphy

Sam & Adam Furphy are the great, great grandsons of John Furphy, the Furphy company founder and the great, great, great nephews of Joseph Furphy. Sam & Adam are both 5th generation managers of the current day Furphy businesses. Sam is the Managing Director of Furphy Foundry & Adam is the Managing Director of J. Furphy & Sons.

Elizabeth Capp

Head Of Campus, Shepparton, LaTrobe University

Elizabeth is currently Head of Campus at La Trobe University, Shepparton and a leader with over 20 years’ experience in university management. She has a deep knowledge of the university environment and experience in leadership, management, and strategy. Elizabeth has held a range of faculty and central division management roles at Melbourne, Monash and now La Trobe universities, and has worked in academic program management, student services, faculty management, human resources, and community engagement. She is passionate about widening higher education participation and supporting local students to succeed at university.

Felicity Macchion

CEO of the Goulburn Valley Regional Library Corporation

Felicity is currently CEO of Goulburn Valley Libraries, an independently governed statutory
corporation providing library services to the City of Greater Shepparton, Moira and Strathbogie
Shires. She has had various roles throughout her 30-year career in Public libraries. A role
that provides leadership and strategic direction to a staff of 50 plus personnel across eleven
Library branches.
A participant in the Gates Foundation – International Network of Emerging Library Innovators
(INELI) program. An Executive board member of Public Libraries Victoria and also part of the
State Library Advisory Committee on Public Libraries (ACPL).
My passion is supporting our communities with free access to library services and offering
support to many that need us; we are books and so much more.

Melanie Holt

Manager Community Wellbeing at Greater Shepparton City Council

Melanie began her career working in the community sector undertaking roles working with young people, mental health and wellbeing, schools and in training and development.  The last twenty years have been spent working in local government in city, interface and rural Councils managing a diverse range of portfolios including youth development, community development, events and arts & culture.  Most recently Melanie has commenced at Greater Shepparton City Council as Manager Community Wellbeing.  Melanie is passionate about localism, innovation, co-design, community and utilising her imagination.

Justine von Reibnitz

Justine is the Furphy beer brand marketing manager at Lion, where she has worked for the last 5 years. She has over twenty years’ experience in brand marketing and innovation. British born, Justine is passionate about travel, the environment, the arts and instilling an early love of literature. She has two young daughters, both of who are avid readers.


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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.