Ric Hambleton wins the Age Short Story Award for 2013

At age 67, Ric Hambleton has been presented with two prizes in this year’s Age Short Story Awards.

Hambleton’s story about a group of young communists in Preston in the 1950s, ‘Joseph Stalin and the Bourgeois Ferret’, has won the $2000 first prize, while ‘Wotsername’ won the $500 third prize. The poet Lisa Jacobson, author of the acclaimed speculative verse novel The Sunlit Zone, was awarded the $1000 second prize for ‘Blood and Bone’, a story about a son and his father brought together when the family’s dog has to be put down.

This year the prize was presented by Readings Books and judged by novelist Fiona Capp (Gotland) and the literary editor of the Age Jason Steger. There were almost 1300 entries for the prize and a shortlist of 40 was prepared by the Melbourne centre of PEN, the writers’ organisation.

As well as the winners, five stories were highly commended including ‘The Four Tonne Trail’ by Adrienne Adams; ‘The Woman Who Wears a Hat’ by Gayelene Carbis; ‘Carl’s Funeral’ by Kel Cowling; ‘A Black Jesu’s by Graham Sheil; and 'Periphery’ by Mark Smith.

Capp, said, “The place-getters and highly commended stories were distinguished by the assurance of the writing, the originality of the subject matter or style, and in a number of cases, by the deft use of humour.”

All stories were judged anonymously. The three winning stories will be published in the Age next month.