Storytelling Competitions

These competitions have now closed. Thanks for your interest.

The Living Archive is pleased to announce a series of competitions to find compelling storytellers of all ages with something to say about the loss of plants, animals, and places in Oceania. We are seeking entries from anyone with a story to tell, including writers, filmmakers, artists, poets, cultural practitioners, students, farmers, conservationists, activists, and many others.

Stories might be told in a wide range of media and formats: written texts (including short narratives, poems, or essays), short audio or video accounts, artworks, or photo essays. The important thing is that the story be accessible, engaging, and captures some aspect of the significance of a disappeared or disappearing plant, animal, or place.

At this stage we have storytelling competitions running in five parts of Oceania:

  • The Marshall Islands
  • The Mariana Islands (CNMI and Guam)
  • Fiji
  • Hawai’i
  • Australia

Within each of these places we have both a young storyteller (17 and under) and a general best story competition. If you would like to see us run a similar competition in another part of the region, please get in touch.

The winner of each prize will be awarded $150 in prize money (USD). At present there are ten prizes on offer, one for a young storyteller and one for best story in each of the five areas listed above.

The competition closes on 31 August 2020 and will be judged by a talented panel of writers and scholars from around the region: Craig Santos Perez, Tony Birch, and Elizabeth DeLoughrey.

Please note: We are still inviting stories from right across Oceania to be published on the site but at this stage we only have a competition running in these five places.

The details

Submission formats and guidelines: Please see the general submission guidelines for full details. All entries to the competition that are suitable for publication will be published on the website as they are received. To enter the competition, you simply need to submit a story about one of the selected countries/places through the website before the closing date.

If you would like to be considered for the young storyteller prize, please include a note in the “Who are you?” box of the submission form letting us know this and saying how old you are. For example “I would like to be considered for the young storyteller prize, I am 17 years old.” This text will not be included on your submission when it is published.

Further questions: If you have any questions, we can be contacted at

Additional conditions

Categories: The young storyteller competition is restricted to people 17 years and under. Entrants must be 17 or under on the date the competition closes (31 August 2020). The best story prize is open to storytellers of all ages.

Payment of prize money will be made via PayPal or cheque.

Depending on the quantity of entries, shortlisting may be carried out prior to the final selection being made by the competition judges. In this case, shortlisting will be overseen by the coordinator of The Living Archive, Thom van Dooren, in a transparent manner.

Header image: “Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historic Park” by kpratt (licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Thom van Dooren is a field philosopher and storyteller based at the University of Sydney, Australia. He is the author of Flight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction and The Wake of Crows: Living and Dying in Shared Worlds.