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Viva La Novella Award
or Viva La Novella Prize

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The Viva La Novella competition is run by Seizure, a Sydney-based journal. The prize is available to Australian and New Zealand writers.The novellas must run between 20-50,000 words.

Only Australian works are indexed.


2020 winner y separately published work icon Dark Wave Lana Guineay , Sydney : Brio Books , 2020 20870175 2020 single work novel

'George hasn’t heard from his ex, Paloma, since she returned to her family home on Songbird Island in the Whitsundays. Now she’s asking for his help to uncover the mystery of who is stealing the family’s wealth, but what they discover is much worse than a case of fraud.

'With luscious prose and a sumptuous setting, Lana Guineay’s debut novella is a brilliant reworking of the classic crime novel.' (Publication summary)

2020 joint winner The Mists of Down Below Claire G. Coleman , 2020 single work novella
— Appears in: Griffith Review , no. 70 2020; (p. 195-228)
2020 joint winner Mount Trepidation Rhianna Boyle , 2020 single work novella
— Appears in: Griffith Review , no. 70 2020; (p. 149-193)
2020 joint winner The Half-life of Ant Zaniolo Mikele Prestia , 2020 single work novella
— Appears in: Griffith Review , no. 70 2020; (p. 106-147)
2020 joint winner Inheritance Kate Veitch , 2020 single work novella
— Appears in: Griffith Review , no. 70 2020; (p. 34-84)
2019 winner y separately published work icon Offshore Joshua Mostafa , Sydney : Seizure , 2019 18022662 2019 single work novella 'In very near future Sydney, an academic finds himself unprepared to deal with a city collapsing into chaos. The internet has disappeared, the water isn’t running and there is no electricity. As rival paramilitary groups battle for control of the streets, he pays people smugglers to help him escape overseas, only to be held in an island detention camp. There he finds a former ally and together they try to change their fate.' (Publication summary)
2019 winner y separately published work icon Listurbia Carly Cappielli , Sydney : Seizure , 2019 18022570 2019 single work novella

'5 things you need to know about this book

1. It is written in lists

2. Set in Western Sydney

3. Features a dysfunctional narrator

4. Who is fixated on stories of missing children

5. Though she's not entirely sure why

As her world falls apart, will she be able to put the pieces together?' (Publication summary)

2017 joint winner y separately published work icon A Second Life Stephen Wright , Sydney : Seizure , 2017 11647343 2017 single work novella

'In a tiny book-lined office backing onto a supermarket in a small town in northern New South Wales, a woman named Acker sits smoking a cigarette and listening to the music of Philip Glass. Others come to her with their stories of violence and pain and through her writing she attempts to salvage what they have lost. A Second Life immerses the reader in a world that is both familiar and forbidding. It unfolds with horror and beauty to reveal a complicated and unforgettable portrait of a woman who moves through this world carrying secret histories, different ways of seeing, and many stories. 

'With a narrative voice that is at once eerily beautiful and slightly wild, and a premise that is surreal and ambitious, A Second Life stood out to me immediately. It's an exploration of the self and life and death, all of which comprise the psychological fabric of the main character, who occupies many selves and sometimes none at all.' (Publication summary)

2017 joint winner y separately published work icon The Fish Girl Mirandi Riwoe , Sydney : Seizure , 2017 11647289 2017 single work novella

'Sparked by the description of a 'Malay trollope' in W. Somerset Maugham's story, The Four Dutchmen, Mirandi Riwoe's novella, The Fish Girl tells of an Indonesian girl whose life is changed irrevocably when she moves from a small fishing village to work in the house of a Dutch merchant. There she finds both hardship and tenderness as her traditional past and colonial present collide.

'Told with an exquisitely restrained voice and coloured with lush description, this moving book will stay with you long after the last page.' (Publication summary)

2016 joint winner y separately published work icon Populate and Perish George Haddad , Surry Hills : Seizure , 2016 9926268 2016 single work novella

'Populate and Perish is the story of Nick, a young man in Melbourne, and his sister Amira who travel to Lebanon after the death of their mother looking for their estranged father – neither is prepared for what they find.'

Source: Seizure ( (Sighted: 03/03/2016)

2016 joint winner y separately published work icon The Bonobo’s Dream Rose Mulready , New South Wales : Seizure , 2016 9353261 2016 single work novella science fiction fantasy

'The birch is a quiet tree. It listens.

'Eight-year-old James and his family live in a beautiful house perched on the edge of a forest, within the curve of a giant glass dome. They circle each other like fish in a fishbowl. Aquila - James's philandering father and renowned artist - prepares to unveil his latest and most shocking work to the world. Suzanne, James's mother, medicates herself against a rising tide of loneliness and memory. James seeks refuge from the adult world in his drawings and dreams.

'But when James's sister, Charity, returns home, she brings with her a visitor who will shake their fragile order to its foundations.

'Atmospheric and poetic, The Bonobo's Dream is speculative fiction at its finest, probing the limits of what it means to be human in a world spun from myths and castles in the air.' (Publication summary)

2015 winner y separately published work icon The End of Seeing Christy Collins , Sydney : Seizure , 2015 8937389 2015 single work novella (taught in 1 units)

'Determined to discover the truth about the disappearance of her partner, Nick, Ana sets out to re-trace the route he took as a photojournalist on the other side of the world - a journey that saw him presumed dead, on a ship wrecked off the coast of Italy. But Ana doesn't believe Nick is dead. In his photos, in the messages her memories of him seem to carry, and in her growing suspicion about his own need to disappear, she is increasingly sure he is alive somewhere. As she tracks his journey, she begins to witness the world that Nick saw through his camera - a world in which disappearance is not unexpected. ' (Publication summary)

2015 winner y separately published work icon Formaldehyde Jane Rawson , New South Wales : Seizure , 2015 8937356 2015 single work novella science fiction

'Lives turned upside down by a bureaucratic error in this Kafkaesque work of neo-absurdism. 'Original, intelligent and compelling - a rare combination. Formaldehyde pulls off a complex narrative with frequent time and point-of-view shifts without ever losing the reader. For a vella that borders on the Kafkaesque, it has a good deal of heart. The interconnecting stories are handled adroitly - the clever structure never gets in the way of the writing, which is sharply observed, assured and witty. Smart but never showy. The most original vel I've read for some time.' - Graeme Simsion 'Immerse yourself in Jane Rawson's Formaldehyde if you like the seriously weird or the creepily wonderful. This story has small but persistent claws; under cover of its smooth, conversational narration you will be clasped and dragged into some tough, strange places. Let it take you there. Let it blow your tiny mind.' - Margo Lanagan 'Skipping across different times and genres, Formaldehyde is a wonderfully strange and inventive story of love, loss and severed limbs.' - Ryan O'Neill' (Publication summary)

2015 winner y separately published work icon Welcome to Orphancorp Marlee Jane Ward , New South Wales : Seizure , 2015 8889751 2015 single work novella fantasy young adult

'A sharp-edged semi-futuristic riff about a rebellious teenager’s last week at an industrial orphanage.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2014 winner y separately published work icon Sideshow Nicole Smith , Sydney : Xoum , 2014 8457401 2014 single work novel

'From Rio to Oostend to Amsterdam and beyond, a troupe of acrobats travel the world, performing miracles in the air, enthralling audiences. In between gigs, they drink, play and taunt each other. They get bored. They get up to no good. Then they jump on a plane to do it all again somewhere else.

'Sideshow is an hilarious and rollicking take on the thrill and drudgery of a life on the road and on what it takes to perform day after day after day …'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2014 winner y separately published work icon The Neighbour Julie Proudfoot , Sydney : Seizure , 2014 8952977 2014 single work novella

'When Luke is implicated in the tragic death of a child, he struggles to assert his innocence to those around him. While the accident invokes haunting memories of Luke's late brother, who died when they were children, he strives to maintain a grip on reality as his relationships begin to unravel.

'Set in contemporary suburbia, The Neighbour is an astute psychological drama that offers a powerful and literary meditation on the nature of guilt and responsibility.' (Publication summary)

2014 winner y separately published work icon The Other Shore Hoa Pham , Sydney : Seizure , 2014 7670510 2014 single work novella fantasy

'This book tells the story of Kim, a 16 year old psychic hired by the Vietnamese government to reunite the remains of the dead with their descendants. This is a delicate meditation on the nature of ghosts, belief and how the future is shaped by the past.' (Publisher's summary)

2014 winner y separately published work icon Blood and Bone Daniel Davis Wood , Australia : Xoum , 2014 7865923 2014 single work novel

'With the death of her mother, eleven-year-old Abigail must learn to fend for herself against the cruel stewardship of her father. At war with the local

Aboriginals and intent on staking his claim on the land at any cost, what occurs between the two is a stunning powerplay that exposes the limits of the human imagination.

'Inhabiting the speculative peripheries of the historical record, Blood and Bone is an uncompromising exploration of Australia’s dark history and its legacy.' (Publication summary)

2013 inaugural winner y separately published work icon Midnight Blue and Endlessly Tall Jane Jervis-Read , New South Wales : Seizure , 2013 6042601 2013 single work novella

'When Jessica, a recently divorced mental-health carer, meets her new patient, Eloise, their lives quickly become entangled. The boundaries of their roles begin to dissolve and questions from the past are uncovered, revealing the fractured histories that brought them together.'

Source: Seizure ( (Sighted: 12/6/2013)