Museum of Brisbane


Robyn Stacey: Cloud Land - short story competition

Are you a writer aged between 12 and 18 years?

Be inspired by Robyn Stacey: Cloud Land and enter a short story to win!

Robyn Stacey talks about the subjects in her photographs as the inhabitants of Cloud Land.

“They are workers, young couples and solo travelers who all become actors in these dreamlike scenarios.”

Imagine the photographs are taken from a scene in a movie. What do you think is going to happen next?


The competition is open to students between the ages of 12 and 18. Up to 10 finalists will be short-listed and their short stories will be placed on the Museum of Brisbane website for the winner to be voted by the general public.

The winner will receive vouchers from Queens Plaza, Folio Book, and Museum of Brisbane shop.

*Total value of over $300. Vouchers valid until March 2017

Entries close 5pm Tuesday 22 March 2016 (AEST). Standard terms and conditions apply.

How to enter

Local author, Kathleen Noud, shares her top tips to get you started

1. Start in the middle of things (in medias res). There’s no time for snooze buttons and teeth brushing in a short story. Have your character running away from home or hiding the stash of money straight up. Entice the reader from the first paragraph.

2. Think of your character’s goal and their obstacle in the story. What does your character want? What is in their way? These answers will help you form a story arc from beginning to end.

3. Interesting characters make for interested readers. Think of your favourite characters and list what makes them special to you. Or write a character profile to help make them real.

4. Use the five senses to create mood and show emotion. Sight is an easy one, but what does your main character smell, taste, hear or touch in the story to build the mood? Think of horror or thriller genres for obvious examples of this.

5. Don’t be disheartened by your first draft. Good stories become riveting tales in the editing and re-writing process. Keep revising until it’s ready for a reader.

How to enter

1. Write a short story between 800-1500 words using one of Robyn Stacey’s photographs as inspiration.

2. Submit your short story to
Please send all writing as an attached doc or docx. Please do not send PDF’s or obscure formats, or paste your submission into the body of your email.

3. Include your name, phone number, school, age and title of your story as well as the name of the photograph used as inspiration in the email.

Competition duration

Competition opens 10am Friday 18 September 2015 and closes 5pm Sunday 13 March 2016 (AEST).

The finalists will be notified by email and the winner announced in our April 2016 enewsletter.

Finalist’s stories will be presented on Museum of Brisbane website for peer review and voting on Friday 18 March 2016.

Voting will close 5pm Sunday 3 April 2016.

Winners to be announced Friday 8 April 2016 and notified by email.

Prizes to be collected by winners at Museum of Brisbane – Level 3 City Hall, King George Square Brisbane

Terms & conditions

  1. Museum of Brisbane is identified as the promoter of the competition.
  2. Information on how to enter forms part of these Terms & Conditions.

iii. Competition opens 10am Friday 18 September 2015 and closes 5pm Sunday 13 March 2016 (AEST).

  1. Entries are open to:

The writer must be

  • Aged between 12-18 years of age in the year 2016 and,
  • Enrolled as a secondary school student or home schooled
  • Students can enter more than one story
  • All stories must be the work of the student
  • The work must not have been previously published
  • The work must be in English

The writer must be either:

  • An Australian citizen.
  • If not an Australian citizen, resident in Australia for at least two years prior to the year of publication.
  • Hold permanent residency status for Australia.

Entry is open to all students who are not employees or immediate family of employees at the Museum of Brisbane.

  1. Entry into the competition is made when the entrant emails their short story through to the email address.
  2. A shortlist will be made by the Education Manager of Museum of Brisbane and those entries will be placed online for voting by the general public.

vii. The winner will be notified by email or phone on Friday 8 April 2016.

viii. Prizes can be collected from Museum of Brisbane, Level 3, City Hall – King George Square.  Photo ID will be required.

  1. General public vote is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Prizes cannot be transferred. Vouchers cannot be redeemed for cash.

xii. The promoter reserves the right to verify the validity of entries and to disqualify any entry which, in the opinion of promoter, includes objectionable content, profanity, potentially insulting, inflammatory or defamatory statements, disqualify any entrant who tampers with the entry process, who submits an entry that is not in accordance with these terms and conditions of entry or who has, in the opinion of promoter, engaged in conduct in entering the promotion which is fraudulent, misleading, deceptive or generally damaging to the goodwill or reputation of the promotion and/or promoter. The promoter reserves the right to disqualify a winner if the promoter becomes aware that the winner and/or the winner’s entry is of a type described in this clause.