The Furphy Literary Award, established in 1992, became a national competition for the first time in 2020. In 2021 over 500 writers – from the established and experienced to the fresh first-timers – took up the challenge to tackle its topic of ‘Australian Life – in all its diversity’. The Furphy Anthology features the sixteen short stories judged to be the best of the best in each year’s competition.
The enormously talented authors in this anthology delve into many things: the surety of an old Holden anchored in the weeds, food as it might be in the future, surfers facing the elements, a teacher caught in the crosshairs, things that are found but lost, and a town ‘big enough to be bigoted – too small to know it – too tired to care’.
The locations are quintessentially Australian – beaches, rural properties, dense bushland, deserts and towns, lard and small – as are the characters that inhabit them. But the themes are universal in scope: love, fear, tolerance, death, life, rejection, truth and protection.
These stories capture us in all of our beauty and with all of our faults. Or do they?
There might be a furphy or two …