Bringing Storm to Life

An anthology is a beautiful object worth celebrating and sharing. Storm Minds Shine Bright Seasons 1 2023 features the work of 27 writers and poets and now as the printed authors copies make their way to mail boxes near and far I can share some of my experiences on the first leg of the Storm Anthology Launch tour.

Behind each of the 28 pieces is a writer or a poet and their story and it is wonderful to meet some of the writers and to hear them read, or to hear others read their words.

From the cold of Melbourne I flew through kilometres of grey clouds and down into the sun, where I was met by  Dr Chelinay Gates, the winner of the Minds Shine Bright writing competition Storm for her flash fiction Storm Clouds Approaching. During my stay Chelinay made me feel really at home and showed me the wonders of King’s Park, Cotteloe Beach and the Swan Valley. 

The Launch Tour started in historic Guildford, Western Australia at the welcoming, art filled home of  Dr Chelinay Gates. Writing group Poet and Artist Speaks gathered in person and Minds Shine Bright writers joined us online from Ireland, Scotland and Australia to share their stories and poems. After an inspiring evening of readings we walked one of the poets to the station, accompanied by Guyli the dog, under the light of a huge blue moon.

The next afternoon, on a 30 degree day we headed into the heart of Perth and gathered at the Blue Room Theatre Bar, just across from the museum and Perth’s Cultural Centre. 

As Chelinay read, Aunty Hazel came to life, waking and greeting the morning, as storm clouds approached. Long listed writer Simone Field read The Tempest and Confidence Anthology 2022  published poet Lee A Baglin read his poem Of Machine and Love. This poem has a striking layout and explores different perspectives.  Poet and Artist Speak  writers joined us to read more of Storm Minds Shine Bright anthology. An open mike session completed the launch with moving and entertaining pieces shared. 

The next morning I flew into Adelaide and had a couple of days to explore a city that seemed brimming with arts and culture. There was a casual Dali sculpture on display outside the entry to the airport.  From the excellent coffee and plum crumble tart at Grind in Unley to the joy of paddling at Glenelg Beach and the friendliness of the locals I had a wonderful time in Adelaide. One evening at dusk I was wandering back to Unley as the sunset behind the city. The sky had turned the deepest shade of blue and the traffic lights reflected off the polished concrete of the footpath. I felt that I had stepped into the Mike Barr painting  ‘Weather at the Museum’ that is on the cover of Storm Minds Shine Bright anthology.

The Adelaide Storm Minds Shine Bright Launch was held at the Austral Bar on a balmy evening, right in the middle of town. Storm poets Steve Evans, Storm and Cockroach, Honey and Jude Aquilina Storm Over Lake Alexandrina were joined by Confidence Minds Shine Bright anthology 2022 writers Lesley Day Poached and Aoife McFadden Distorted Lens. We were joined for the open mike session of the evening by Kerryn Treadrea. Steve Evans is the first person to have two entries published in a Minds Shine Bright anthology. His poem Storm, one of the Top Ten featured pieces, gave a sense of  our fragility while Cochroach, Honey which I co-read with Steve is raw with a twist. Jude Aquilina’s Storm Over Lake Alexandrina, set in Milang, captured the force of a storm and a strong sense of place. Lesley Day’s Poached juxtaposed two very different home lives and Aoife McFadden’s character Annie, her photography and her struggles with her mum had the audience wanting to read more of Distorted Lens.

I look forward to visiting Perth and Adelaide again, to meet more writers, to explore more creative places and to recognise and celebrate the value of creative writing. In Perth you can purchase a copy of Storm from Boffins Books and in South Australia Storm is available at Matilda’s Bookshop or you can order Storm or Confidence anthology from the Minds Shine Bright bookshop.

Thanks to all the Minds Shine Bright writers for sharing your wonderful words. On Saturday I dropped into Cherry Poets to start spreading the word about Storm Minds Shine Bright anthology in Melbourne. We picked up some sales at the Poets Table and I look forward to raising our profile at more local events. Next month Minds Shine Bright is heading to Brisbane. You can register to join us to celebrate the launch of Storm anthology in Brisbane here:

Brisbane Storm Anthology Launch Registration

Join Storm writers Patricia Fitzgerald and Meredith Downes, and Confidence 2022 writers Poppy Brazier and C Sullivan at the Brisbane Square Library Community Meeting Room  on Tuesday 17th October from 11:45am -2:00pm

Confidence 2023 is still being judged. With many talented entries we need to ensure that each piece is given due consideration. All entrants will be advised once the long list and short list have been finalised. This should be in late September or October.

Light and Shadow writing competition now open and calling for entries. Light and Shadow will be open until 31 March 2024. You can enter on the Minds Shine Bright home page.



 Minds Shine Bright tour to launch Storm anthology across Australia

Minds Shine Bright heads to Perth in late August,  Adelaide in September, and Queensland in October to launch Storm, the first anthology in the new Seasons series. More events are being planned including online celebrations with international writers.  

Storms with their destructive power and timeless beauty remind us of the fragility of our existence and what it is to be human. Storms touch something elemental in us and provide a powerful metaphor for internal conflict too.  This collection of stories and poems featuring the twenty seven winning and commended entries from the Minds Shine Bright Writing Competition Storm will inspire, entertain, and make you think.

Embark on a journey of stunning visual imagery where you will encounter stormy places, people and animals, different worlds, and possible futures. STORM, Minds Shine Bright Seasons 1, 2023 is the first anthology in our Seasons series is now available in print. (ISBN: 978-0-6455231-2-6, Distributor Ingram).You can purchase a copy from our online bookshop here.  

If you are in Western Australia, South Australia or Queensland you can register for tickets to Storm launches featuring local writers and poets at the links below. Each Storm Launch is free to attend and registration is needed as numbers are limited. Copies of STORM anthology can be purchased at the time of registration or at your local launch.

 Perth Storm Anthology Launch Registration

Join Dr Chelinay Gates, writer, artist and the winner of the Minds Shine Bright writing competition Storm, Amanda Scotney, writer and Founder of Minds Shine Bright and special guests at the Blue Room Bar in Perth, Western Australia on Thursday 31st August. 4:00pm – 6:00pm

 Adelaide Storm Anthology Launch Registration

Join Storm anthology poets Steve Evans, Jude Aquilina and Minds Shine Bright Confidence anthology writers Lesley Day and Aoife McFadden at The Astral Sunday 3rd September 6:00pm – 8:30pm

 Brisbane Storm Anthology Launch Registration

Join Storm writers Patricia Fitzgerald and Meredith Downes at the Brisbane Square Library Community Meeting Room  on Tuesday 17th October from 11:45am -2:00pm 

MSB Writing Competitions Update

We are deep in the judging of CONFIDENCE 2023 writing competition and a further update will be provided once the longlist and shortlists have been finalised, most likely in late September. 

Light and Shadow will be the second anthology in the Minds Shine Bright Seasons series, and we are pleased to announce that the Minds Shine Bright Writing Competition Light and Shadow is now open for entries, and you can enter here. Light and Shadow will run until 31 March 2024. We are looking forward to a year filled with anthology readings and discovering exciting new writing. Thank you for being part of our community, embracing the anthology form and supporting writers and poets. 


Minds Shine Bright visits Mudgee

Mudgee is a welcoming country town in Central West New South Wales with a strong sense of community.

In late autumn Minds Shine Bright headed out on the road, stopping in Sydney first to discover some bookshops and cafes where writers gather. Then it was up the misty Blue Mountains, through the Ten Tunnels to Lithgow and onto Mudgee, by coach, later that night.

Reading an anthology is a bit like unpacking a suitcase. There are different shapes, sizes and textures to discover in each piece of writing. Everyone has their favourite pieces that they will dig deep to find, read and cherish.

At Mudgee Library I met Sam, the librarian who expertly helped us to run the first ever Writing With Confidence Workshop in New South Wales and local writer and poet Peter Fitzgerald.

Peter read his poem Mudgee Railway Station which is published in CONFIDENCE Minds Shine Bright Anthology 2022. Hearing the pace and feeling the rhythm as Peter read brought the vibrant Mudgee Railway Station of times past and present to life.

The writers produced some beautiful interpretations of the confidence theme which they read back to the group. The smiles at the end of the session will stay with me for a long time.

Mudgee is a town full of history, life and art and I hope to visit again soon.

Visiting Mudgee made me realise how much anthologies are all about community too. When we come together to read and share we create a special kind of magic where creativity blooms.

I look forward to taking Minds Shine Bright on the road again soon but that will have to wait for now as judging of Confidence 2023 is in full swing and Storm Anthology, the first in our Seasons series is coming soon.


Announcing the winner of the Storm writing competition

The winner of the Minds Shine Bright writing competition Storm was announced at two online events on Friday. Chelinay Gates (Malardy Malardy), an indigenous artist, writer and Doctor of Traditional Medicine from Perth, Western Australia, won first prize of $500 for her flash fiction entry Storm Clouds Approaching. Chelinay’s portrayal of indigenous women in the morning brings both the landscape and the people to life and stays with you. Second prize winner Cassie Boulis, from Atlanta Georgia, masterfully builds atmosphere inside a Florida home, at night, as a hurricane approaches. The third prize winner was Troy Walsh, from Central West, New South Wales. Troy’s short story In the Embrace of Trees has haunting and lyrical qualities as a wandering boy grows to a troubled manhood. Fourth prize was awarded to short story House of Feathers by Victorian writer Sarah Rasmussen. Sarah tells the heart-warming story of a young boy in a deserted house caring for many animals.

Twenty eight writers were selected for the Storm Shortlist as winning or commended entries and for publication in the Mind Shine Bright’s anthology  Storm, the first in the Seasons Series. The top ten showcase included South Australian poet Steve Evans for Storm , Victorian poet Jennifer Harrison, for Shelter, Bass Coast short story writer Gayle Beveridge for The Lightning Traveller and flash fiction writers Patricia Fitzgerald (Queensland) for Storm in a Tea Cup, Jacqueline Winn (Possum Brush, New South Wales) for When God Goes Mad, and Riya Patel (New Jersey, United States) for A Breeze that Brought in a Taxi Cab. A second poem by Steve Evans, Coackroach, Honey was commended.

You can view the rest of the Shortlist and the Storm competition results here.

There were almost 400 entries to Storm which was judged by Amanda Scotney, curator of the Mind Shine Bright anthologies, writer and founder of Minds Shine Bright. Shortlisted entries ranged in age from eighty to thirteen including writers from Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Canada. The blind judging  and assessment process ensured that each entry was judged for the words on the page alone. A Longlist of thirty one writers will receive e-certificates of merit for the high quality of their writing. Ten certificates and gifts of recognition will be awarded to writers whose work shone brightly in some way. Two schools, Victoria Point State School in Queensland and Elsternwick Primary in Victoria will receive certificates of merit for their participating students.

Storm, Minds Shine Bright, Season 1, 2023  is due for release in late July 2023. The cover is shown above and art work Weather at the Museum is by Adelaide artist Mike Barr. The launch of Storm and some community and online events are being planned for August and September 2023.


A Storm is forming

An unexpected joy in reading through the Storm entries was discovering some amazing stories and poems about animals, so this month’s feature image is Storm the cat nestling on her log.

The sheer force of water, snow, ice, wind and fire remind us of how fragile we are, how tiny and how everything we treasure can be destroyed in a moment. The human spirit can shine or fail against the unbridled power of nature.

There have been many unique interpretations of the storm theme and we look forward to sharing these with you once the Storm anthology is launched. 

Storm competition entrants have now been advised whether they have made the Longlist or not and the Shortlist will be finalised over the next few days. We will be holding an online Awards Night to announce the winners and commended entries of Storm. We will also be awarding some gifts and certificates of recognition to a small number of entrants.

We travelled south to Tasmania in March and have added a selection of photos to our Books on Bookshelvespages from visits to three bookshops in Tasmania that strongly support local writers. 

I really enjoyed visiting Fullers, which was the bookshop that I spent hours browsing and shopping in during my formative years. Fullers in Hobart’s CBD has a wonderful café where you can sit and read and chat about books and everything literary. There is a great selection of books to browse as well. I really enjoyed my visit and making some local connections.

The Hobart Bookshop, at Salamanca Square was the first bookshop ever to stock Confidence Minds Shine Bright Anthology 2022. It has helpful, knowledgeable staff and a lovely collection of books.

Travelling by bus up the Midlands Highway through the rolling hills brought back childhood memories of the disappearing house, the animal topiary and all the little towns along the way. In Launceston I visited Petrarch’s Book Shop, an excellent local bookshop, and it was great to put faces to names and get some insights into the northern Tasmanian literary scene.

 Each of these three bookshops stock Confidence Minds Shine Bright anthology 2022 so if you are a Tasmanian based anthology or poetry lover, I recommend you drop in and buy a copy. The Confidence Minds Shine Bright Anthology 2022 in paperback or ebook is also available to purchase online. We look forward to travelling further and to building new connections with local communities of readers, writers and bookshops.


Confidence Writing Competition Deadline 28th February 2023

There is only a month left until Minds Shine Bright Writing Competition Confidence 2023 closes so find some inspiration and get your entries in here.

This will be the second year of the confidence themed competition and we look forward to reading many creative and unique interpretations in your stories, scripts, flash fiction and poems.

Winners and commended entries of the competition receive cash prizes as well as publication in Confidence Minds Shine Bright anthology 2023 which will be sold internationally. Our first anthology, which is available in print and e-book has sold in Australia, the United Kingdom the United States and France so far. if you would like to purchase a copy you can visit our online bookshop here.

During January we have been on the road delivering Writing with Confidence Workshops to writers groups in Northern Victoria and getting the Confidence Anthology onto more bookshop shelves.

During February we will continue judging Storm and we will keep you updated as the judging proceeds.


Minds Shine Bright writing competition – December Update

As we approach the new year, it’s time to reflect on the events of the last twelve months and to reflect on what will be happening in 2023. After our first full calendar year MindsShineBright.com has had eighteen thousand visitors and forty thousand views suggesting a strong level of engagement. I hope this means that we are inspiring writers to write more and discover new interpretations of competition themes. I also hope that more readers will discover Minds Shine Bright anthologies and embrace the anthology form as a way of exploring themes, discovering the joys poetry, flash fiction, screenplays and short stories in curated sets.

Anthologies are a way to discover new, and established writers and their form very much matches the kind of way that we currently view drama. Traditionally the best drama was seen at the movies, on stage and in novels. Now it is both series and movies that together showcase the best of on screen drama. You see this when you view the bios of leading actors. It makes sense with this switch in taste that our reading styles will change as well. A comment I’ve heard a lot is, “anthologies don’t sell”. I’ve heard this both from traditional publishers and some retailers as well. I’m hoping that this will change and that publishers and retailers will champion new forms to the reading public.

Over the past year I’ve seen a strong engagement with both writing, reading and listening to others read in many different forms. The real enjoyment and passion of both readers and writers is a powerful force for bringing communities together both in person and online.

More than 800 writers have entered our first two competitions. We have published our first anthology, held a global online awards night and held an in person launch at Melbourne’s The Wheeler Centre with readings from writers and local actors and an insightful discussion on Finding confidence in the Arts.

The Minds Shine Bright Book Shop

We have set up a Minds Shine Bright bookshop online where you can buy a print or e-pub versions of Confidence Minds Shine Bright Anthology and our other books and anthologies as they are progressively published.

The books that we sell help us to contribute money to our prize pool and in the future, should our overall sales continue to grow, will contribute royalties for our writers and other creative contributors.

We love physical bookstores and are happy for readers to buy print copies from your local bookstores (Ingram is the distributor, so most stores can order our books in)or your favourite online retailer or us. What matters is that every sale helps and every review helps too.

Minds Shine Bright Publisher

We have published our first book Confidence Minds Shine Bright Anthology and placed it on shelves in some wonderful partnering bookshops in Victoria and Tasmania and it is available to order through many online bookstores and platforms.

We feature bookstores that stock print copies of Confidence on our books on bookshelves page. We hope to travel further and add new stores and libraries too as we make new connections. If you find a copy of Confidence Minds Shine Bright Anthology in your favourite bookstore or library please let us know.

MSB Writing Competitions

Last year we awarded more than $8000 in prizes for writers, poets and screenwriters. We ran two competitions Confidence and Storm and we are currently busy judging Storm entries.

What’s ahead for 2023

2022 was an exciting first year for Minds Shine Bright primarily because we discovered amazing writers across all ages, all across Australia and from different countries too. In 2023 we will focus on running our competitions, publishing more anthologies and spreading the word in grassroots ways so that we can connect more readers with our writers and let more writers know about our competitions.

Minds Shine Bright Workshops

It’s been a dream of mine to take Minds Sheen Bright on the road to some of the places where the published writers call home. As a start we are planning some inspirational workshops on writing for competitions and exploring the theme of confidence with writers groups and libraries in Northern Victoria.

Announcing the winners of Storm

Some time in late February 2023 we will announce the winners of Storm writing competition. During early 2023 we will work with winning and commended writers and poets to bring you the Storm anthology.

Confidence 2023 writing competition

The Minds Shine Bright Confidence writing competition is in its second year. We are calling for entries until midnight on 28th February 2023 wherever you are.

We hope to continue studying the theme of confidence over several years – exploring new styles of contemporary fiction and different genres spanning fiction, poetry, stage and screen writing. We welcome writers from all countries. It doesn’t matter what you look like or where you are from; all that matters is your words on the page.

Light and Shadow

Our second competition for 2023 will commence sometime close to the middle of the year. Following on from Storm the theme for 2023 will be light and shadow. We have been humbled by the diversity of entrants to Storm, our first revolving theme competition and we were very excited to see some school groups submitting multiple entrants from students. We look forward to seeing what happens when we open Light and Shadow later in 2023.


One of the key ways that we help to shine a light on the arts is by celebrating our published writers and keeping the conversation flowing. We will plan some new celebrations for 2023 and keep you informed as they evolve.

How can I support Minds Shine Bright?

There are a few ways that you can support Minds Shine Bright. You can ask your favourite bookstore or library to order a/some copies in or you can buy a copy from our online store or any online retailer that sells it. (Distributor: Ingram ISBN 978-0-6455231-0-2).

If you have read Confidence Minds Shine Bright Anthology 2022 you can review it online and let others know about it.

If you are from Melbourne or Tasmania you can visit one or all of the following fabulous bookshops. We love getting lost in bookshops! We hope to build on this more as we travel and make connections to include other places and other countries over time . . .

You can enter our competitions here or you can encourage your friends and family to. (Most people knows someone who loves to write.)

You can discuss Confidence or Storm at your festival, book group, writers group or your school. If you would like to invite us along please drop us a line we would love to hear from you.

We are currently working on video and audio files from our celebrations. We will keep you posted once they are ready to share.

You can subscribe to our monthly updates here.

Mostly just read more and write more, if writing is something you love to do, and tap into all the writing organisations and events in your local communities. Wishing you all inspiration, good health and happiness in 2023.

Amanda Scotney
Founder Minds Shine Bright


Finding confidence in the arts in 2022

(Confidence Launch Part 2)

After the readings from writers and actors and a short break we gathered once more to hear our special guests poet Gayelene Carbis, actor and screenwriter Naomi Lisner, emerging writer Monique Nair and poet and psychiatrist Jennifer Harrison discuss finding confidence in the arts.

The panel considered the impact that COVID-19 had on panel members creativity and their work. While some members found it a time of profound creativity others struggled with the lack of connection and work.

We next discussed the technology shifts towards video meetings and hybrid events. While the consensus was in favour of live events, the ability to connect more easily with colleagues overseas and build a strong sense of community was valued highly. Looking forward panel members agreed that increased funding was critical to support increased diversity, engagement of vulnerable people, social connectedness and a vibrant arts sector.

The second part of the conversation was about finding confidence as an artist. Panel members shared their thought on finding self confidence, confidence and ageing, over confidence and building self confidence as a writer.

We hope to share a video recording of parts of the evening soon.

Above: panel chair Amanda Scotney in conversation with Jennifer Harrison, Naomi Lisner, Gayelene Carbis and Monique Nair. Below: an engaged audience, Confidence Minds Shine Bright Anthology 2022 on display and celebrating the launch. Photos by Zev Howley.

Closing words

Thanks to all who attended and celebrated the launch of CONFIDENCE Minds Shine Bright Anthology 2022, listened to the readers and the discussion “Finding Confidence in the arts in 2022”. We look forward to examining the theme of confidence from different perspectives and voices in 2023 and beyond. 

Thanks to all 46 writers, our book designer Caren and editor Kim.  Thanks to our special guests the panel members and actors who have provided a broader arts perspective. Thanks to my family and friends who have supported me on this journey particularly my partner Tony and my daughter Olivia who attended and to my mum and family in Tasmania. Thank you to everyone who travelled from regional Victoria in the rain to be there on the night.

Thanks to the Wheeler Centre Reception, Technical Team and Front of House for your support and thanks to Rosie and the team at the Moat for the splendid catering.

Thanks to each bookstore and library that stock us and support independent publishers and to all the writers groups and organisation that help to connect us  with writers and new readers.

Thanks to everyone who follows the Minds Shine Bright updates and we hope you have enjoyed sharing in the celebrations too.

A Night of Celebration


The Confidence Anthology Launch – Part 1

On Friday 28th October 2022 writers, actors and guests from all over Victoria came together at the Wheeler Centre to celebrate the launch of Confidence Minds Shine Bright Anthology 2022. Many people travelled from flood impacted areas along pot-holed roads damaged by the incessant rain.  

Despite shifting opening dates caused by publishing deadlines and COVID-19, despite the rain people came together to read, listen, discuss and celebrate. The first part of the night was readings and eleven writers and actors brought some of the winning and commended Confidence Anthology stories and poems to life.

Interpretations of the confidence theme

Amanda Scotney, Founder of Minds Shine Bright explained some of the interpretations of confidence that emerged across all 500 entries.

“Minds Shine Bright writers are a diverse group that range in age from children to octogenarians. Published entries came from a range of countries and we expect that the number of countries to grow over time.

A classic interpretation of the confidence theme across all entries was a person with an artistic talent who lacked self confidence. They were often anxious about performing or sharing their talent and sometimes faced harsh criticism. Somehow they were able to overcome their fears, find their sense of self and embrace their talent.

Some entries focused on the environment and its insurmountable challenges and the human spirit in the face of that. Many writers explored confidence through the lens of health and after a couple of year of COVID-19 waves there were many references to sore throats and breathing.

Humour and fairy tales were used to step out of day to day worlds.

Family violence was one of the most written about topics. Its impact on the lives of families and children, the erosion of self-esteem, and the struggle to break away and find a safe place were explored many times.

Explorations of death and dying, decisions and choices, loss of memory and loss of self were key threads.

Despite all the challenges hope rose from the deepest places and darkest spaces. The hope that things will get better, that we will get through today and wake to tell another story tomorrow.”

Calling all writers, poets, songwriters, playwrights and screenwriters Minds Shine Bright writing competition CONFIDENCE 2023 is now open for entries and we look forward to your exploration of many new layers of the confidence theme. You can enter on our home page here .

Each reading was unique and the diversity of perspectives contributed to a magical hour of story telling and poetry, bringing CONFIDENCE Minds Shine Bright Anthology 2022 to life.

Then it was time for a short break, and we were looked after very well by the front of house staff, from the Wheeler Centre and the team from The Moat who provided beautiful canapés with care.

The Confidence Minds Shine Bright Anthology 2022 Launch was such a wonderful experience and we will be sharing Part Two with you soon. It is all about finding confidence in the arts sector and in yourself as an artist, a writer, a creator and an explorer.

If you are interested in stories, script and poetry on the theme of confidence you can support Minds Shine Bright by buying CONFIDENCE Minds Shine Bright Anthology 2022 here or at bookstores that support independent publishers. Readings, Hares and Hyenas, the Little Paperback Bookstore, Fullers, Booktopia and many more.


Celebrating writers and poets

Running a fiction writing competition has really exceeded my expectations. My life has been vastly enriched by embracing the arts and publishing books. There are tremendous levels of talent out there, so many stories, scripts and poems yet to be discovered. I’m looking forward to opening Minds Shine Bright writing competition CONFIDENCE 2023 on the last day of the month.

I so enjoy reading each contribution of the forty-six writers and poets represented in CONFIDENCE Minds Shine Bright Anthology 2022, which is now available in print from some major and independent bookstores. (ISBN 978-0-6455231-0-2). I love it when people tell me excitedly that Microbial by Claire Dalkin was so good or that they shed a tear over Jaydan Salzke’s Rite of Passage or that Red Bikini by Françoise Thornton-Smith, the overall winner, will stay with them for a long time.

It’s inspiring and moving to read poetry, stories and scripts exploring the theme of confidence written by people at different stages of their lives. Some of the writers are very young and just starting out, others have a rich life experience and some have achieved highly in the arts. It’s a delightful mix of innocence and experience, established and new voices.

Discovering writers from eight different countries, opens the imagination to new places and ideas and makes connections between some of the universal elements being explored.

I love blind judging and curating poetry, scripts, short stories and flash fiction. These forms work well together. Having a song — New Zealand poet Sadie Yetton’s Party Song — as part of the Confidence anthology is exciting too and there is some fervent carol singing in Canadian writer Evelyn Menary’s Victory Memorial.

This Friday 28th October talented writers will be gathering from all over Victoria at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne to celebrate the CONFIDENCE Minds Shine Bright Anthology 2022 Launch. After a couple of topsy turvy years of fires, COVID-19 and floods it’s time to come together and celebrate with stories, poems and conversation exploring confidence.


Storm Competition closing soon

Grey storm clouds loom, heavy with rain. Photo by Lily Mulholland.

Minds Shine Bright’s writing competition Storm is closing on 30th September 2022 so this is your last chance to finish off your storm stories, scripts or poems and send them in to Minds Shine Bright

As Storm writing competition closes the Minds Shine Bright shop opens. You can purchase a beautiful print copy or an e-book version of our very first publication CONFIDENCE Minds Shine Bright anthology 2022, featuring the winning and commended entries from the Minds Shine Bright writing competition here.

We are working hard to get writers copies to writers, anthologies into bookshops and planning our October celebration and launch at the Wheeler Centre in October. More updates soon.


Confidence 2022 – Shining a bright light on writers

The Short List

Despite the cold, August was a wonderful month as we announced the winners of the inaugural Minds Shine Bright writing competition Confidence 2022.  A total prize pool of $7600 was awarded to 46 writers and their work is featured in Confidence by Minds Shine Bright, our first anthology in a series exploring  the theme of confidence in fiction.

Congratulations to Françoise Thornton-Smith the overall winner for her short story Red Bikini, Alexandra Svoboda, short story category winner, All the Pain and all the Joy, poetry category winners Kevin Dyer, Dahlias and Michael Leach, Emergence of Voice, script category winner, Jed Stanley, Beaucoup Bills  and flash fiction category winner Poppy Brazier, Flying Free. Congratulations to all the commended writers too. Together these entries formed the  Minds Shine Bright Short List 2022.

The Long List – Special Mentions

The response to Confidence 2022 was incredible. Almost five hundred writers submitted  entries from many countries.Those that stood out were selected for the Long List, following a blind judging process and  an assessment against ten criteria. All long Listed entries receive a special mention on the Minds Shine Bright Long List and will be sent e-certificates soon.

Gifts of recognition

Gifts of recognition were awarded to twenty writers that wrote memorable fiction. This process was conducted after the overall judging process was complete. Writers were selected because their work really shone in some way. You can see all the writers who  were awarded gifts of recognition here.  These gifts will be sent over the next couple of weeks.

Another highlight from August is that we published Confidence Minds Shine Bright Anthology 2022 which will be arriving in bookshops soon. We are very proud of the high quality of our first ever publication and we are committed to creating beautiful books in the future too.

For readers

If you would like a copy of Confidence by Minds Shine Bright you can ask bookshops that purchase from Ingram (most do) to order it in (The ISBN is 978-0-6455231-0-2), or you can ask your local library to order in a copy too.

An online e-bookstore is currently being built for Minds Shine Bright here and once it opens we will let you know.

For reviewers

If you read Confidence by Minds Shine Bright please make the time to write a review and post it online. It will help others to discover us too.

For writers

If you enjoy entering Minds Shine Bright writing competitions Storm is currently open for entries until the 30 September 2022. You can enter Storm on the Minds Shine Bright home page by scrolling down to the form. In late October we will be opening the Minds Shine Bright writing competition Confidence 2023. We look forward to seeing how writing on the theme of confidence changes. 

Thanks so much for your support of Minds Shine Bright. We will continue to explore new ways to shine a bright light on writers and we will share our journey with you as we do.


Minds Shine Bright writing competition Confidence 2022 Awards

Congratulations to the winners and commended entries which together form the Short List for the Minds Shine Bright writing competition Confidence 2022. Each of these writers is published in Confidence, which is the first in a series of anthologies by Minds Shine Bright exploring the theme of confidence through fiction.

The overall winner for the inaugural Minds Shine Bright writing competition Confidence 2022 is Françoise Thornton-Smith for short story Red Bikini.

The joint winners for the poetry category,  are Kevin Dyer, Dahlias and Michael Leach Emergence of Voice.

The winner of the flash fiction category is Poppy Brazier Flying Free.

The winner of the script category is Jed Stanley Beaucoup Bills.

The winner of the short story category is Alexandra Svoboda All the Pain and all the Joy.

Commended entries:


Charlotte Finn Treading on Water

 Jennifer Harrison Grandmother

 Mocco Wollert Jessica at fifteen

 Juliet Guthrie the last heady days

Clare Le Fossil

Ella Mitchell Beautiful Things

Sadie Yetton Party Song

Rafael S.W. Stag Nation

Drew Grant Night Owl

Diana Stoicescu Debarked

Peter Fitzgerald Mudgee Railway Station

Olga Pavlinova Olenich The Line of Trees

Heather Compton Somewhere: 2021

Janeen Samuel Parrot People

 Morouje Sherif When the Sea Takes You I Won’t Come

Shoshanna Rockman Dragons Don’t Smoke

Jericho Ellao The Kingdom of the Over-world

Lee A Baglin Of Machine and Love

Karen Lee Mills A Northern Flicker

Olivia Campbell The People of the Art

Short Story

Claire Dalkin Microbial

Karen Lethlean Catch and Release

 Jaydan Salzke Rite of Passage

Aoife McFadden Distorted Lens

 Anna Rodway Mabel

Regina de Búrca Sovereign

 Evelyn Menary Victory Memorial

Steve Fendt Gone South

 Jennifer Hurley Tree of Knowledge

Flash Fiction 

Kate Foulds Acorn

C Sullivan Morning Chorus

Leni Maag Sarah

David Edwards Chilblains

Eve Nucifora Trumpet

 Lesley Day Poached

 Amelia Carter  The Currawong

Sue Hall Barred Rock

 Scott Hallarn Townscapes

Jessica Kilkenny Move

 Hannah Small Confidence in Healing



Clouds roll in. In Melbourne it’s cold! cold! cold! Entries arrive from near and far as writers interpret the theme of storm. Every new entry is an inspiration – a force of creativity and there are still two months to go until the deadline of 30 September 2022.

The heater is on and next to my desk is a big box of flyers; ready to find their way into bookstores and libraries.

Below an image of a topsy turvy, vertical cityscape are the words: Confidence, Minds Shine Bright Anthology 2022, coming soon.

We are working as quickly as we can to bring the words of our published writers to readers. We are so close now.

It will soon be time to celebrate as we announce the winners, commended entries and long list for the Minds Shine Bright writing competition Confidence 2022. There will be a virtual Awards Night, a Confidence anthology launch at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne, and gifts of recognition will be posted. So keep warm, keep writing and celebrate with us in August and beyond.

Photograph by Lily Mulholland


Stormy inspiration

Calling all writers of stories, scripts and poems. It’s time to start writing so you can send us your best fiction on the theme of storm.

Storms trigger visceral reactions in us — our vulnerability in the face of something more powerful. Our strength to keep going in the face of adversity. Admiration of wild beauty. Community spirit.

As a child the intermittent flashes of light and the crescendoing booms as thunder moved closer terrified me.  My nan told a story about a lightning bolt that came in through the window of a farm house and rolled around the floor. Rain brought the spiders in too and there was much angst and action whenever a large huntsman was spotted on one of our walls. 

On Christmas day 1974 after lunch we gathered in the lounge room to distribute presents and images of the devastation left by Cyclone Tracy filled the black and white TV screen.  

On holiday in Majorca I was woken from an afternoon siesta, when an explosion shook me awake. It was lighting – out of the blue, almost cloudless sky which had struck a tree and killed several people out for a day at the beach.

In Melbourne a hail storm struck suddenly when I was out walking with my daughter. We sheltered as best we could at a covered tram stop, my body shielding her, as big balls of ice smashing around us. When it eased momentarily we dashed into a surf shop. 

 Part of our idea of storm is formed by imagined constructs. The twister that transported Dorothy to Oz, the haunted storms of Wuthering Heights, the magic of Prospero, the playfulness of Ariel, the storminess of Caliban and so many more.

The winning entries of Minds Shine Bright Storm writing competition will together create their own literary storm.

Photograph by Lily Mulholland. 

If you like short, sharp writing you can:

View terms and conditions and enter visit Storm here. The closing date for storm is 30 September 2022.

If you would like to subscribe to our monthly updates you can add your email on our musings and subscriptions page.


Thank you

Thank you to everyone who entered the Minds Shine Bright writing competition. Your entries were a joy to read. Some made us laugh and some made us cry. There was a great diversity of thinking around the theme of confidence and we look forward to exploring this theme further over time.

By the end of this week we will have contacted all entrants to let everyone know how they went.

Over June and July we will be working closely with our shortlisted entrants to create the first ever Minds Shine Bright anthology Confidence. We will also be giving twenty writers gifts of recognition to celebrate our first year of competition.

In August it will be time to celebrate and announce the competition winners, the shortlist and the long list. We are planning this event and will let you know more soon.

Winter is fast approaching and our first mini fiction competition will be opening in early June. There will be new prizes, new rules and we are excited to announce that our new theme will be storm.

So let your imaginations run wild. Storm can be a physical event, something more emotional and internal, it can happen behind the scenes to trigger the story line, like in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, or it can be a symbol.


Taking shape

Something is brewing . . . not my morning coffee, delectable as its aroma may be . . . something big.

The judging is progressing and a long list will be finalized soon. We will write to each of you in May to let you know whether your entry has made it to the next stage.

We have some early ideas on how the anthology might take shape. It could be a bit like travelling along an unknown street and having a bird’s-eye view into the lives of the people we see out and about, and those behind closed doors too.

If you are enjoying this journey with us and are keen to write more we will be announcing the theme of our winter competition very soon.


Autumn light

It was hard to write this post. Not because the days here are getting shorter, but because the next entry awaits and a moment of reflection and clarity is needed.

Like a submerged tree in a river I’m immersed in the judging process for the first Minds Shine Bright writing competition. Reading each entry provides a new perspective on the theme of confidence and the imagination and effort of each entrant shines.

Over the next couple of months a long list, a short list and the winners will be decided. If you are an entrant we will let you know when we have reached each stage. Then we will work with the winners and commended entries to create the anthology.

We will announce the winners around July, and we look forward to celebrating with you.

We are planning on running the Minds Shine Bright confidence writing competition each September, so that we can capture changes over time. However you won’t have to wait that long to start writing again.

We are creating a new writing competition for Minds Shine Bright which will start soon. There will be a new theme and some changes . . . but more on that next month


7 days and counting down

As a writer and a reader it’s easy to spend too much time sitting. To counter this I keep active – walking, cycling, kayaking and learning to play golf.

Beauty often distracts me, and in trying to capture moments I find myself still again.

However, now is not the time for distraction. It’s time to focus and to submit your writing. There are only seven days to go before the Minds Shine Bright writing competition closes.

So polish up your paragraphs, verses and scenes, and get your entries in. Then your work will be done and the judging can begin.

You can submit your entry here.

So many moments are being created and captured in time, like this butterfly.

On a final note, we are thrilled that the Minds Shine Bright writing competition has been nominated by Reedsy as one of their best writing competitions for 2022.


Writing competition deadline is 28th February

There are less than two weeks left to enter the Minds Shine Bright writing competition.

We want your fictional stories, flash fiction, poems, screenplays and plays on the theme of confidence.

Let inspiration set your imagination free!

You can enter here at Minds Shine Bright.com


Behind the scenes

The 28th February deadline for the Minds Shine Bright writing competition is fast approaching. A ding on my phone indicates a new entry has arrived. A pile of folders sits on the table behind the Monstera, filled with stories, flash fiction, poems and scripts. 

Each entry is labelled with its own code, with names removed to support blind judging.

Since September over 6000 visitors have viewed MindsShineBright.com site more than 12000 times, and entries have been received from 12 countries. February should be busy.

Writers’ organisations have helped to connect us to writers by promoting the competition and including it in their calendars. Writing communities across social media platforms have helped to make connections too.

On the wall opposite my desk is a print-out of a draft cover design for the Minds Shine Bright anthology. A copy of the anthology will be sent to each winner, and it will also be available to purchase online.

There are 12 criteria for judging the entries and the process of rating each one will occur during March and April. Once the winners emerge the challenge will be to connect stories, poems and scripts in a way that flows and showcases the talent of our winning authors. 

 The announcement and celebration of the winning entries, the awarding of prizes and the launch of the Minds Shine Bright anthology is something to look forward to later in the year.  

As there is only a month to go it’s time to start writing. Thanks to everyone who has submitted so far, and we are looking forward to receiving more entries.

If you are crafting your writing or just getting started here are some links that might be useful.

If you want information on the competition theme, have a look at this post on Exploring confidence.

If you are looking for motivation look no further than 12 reasons why

Or if you want some tips on how to enter see Press Submit.

if you’d like to subscribe for further updates enter your email at the bottom of this page.

The Minds Shine Bright competition will close at midnight on 28 February 2022.  Get your entries in here.


12 reasons why

As the end of 2021 approaches and we start to think about what 2022 might bring our way, it feels like a good time to reflect on why writers might like to submit an entry to the Minds Shine Bright writing competition.

1. Writing creates an environment away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. During the holiday season it can be a bit like putting an umbrella up in the rain and enjoying the dry dome. Those few precious moments or hours of writing, allow focus on characters, environment, story creation and editing.

2. To practice your craft. Entering a writing competition sets up some criteria such as theme, category and word limits that you can build around. It’s a great way to practice your writing craft and any techniques you want to hone. 

3. Publication in an anthology. The first Minds Shine Bright anthology will feature winning and commended short stories, scripts, poems and flash fiction from across the globe.

4. Create compelling flash fiction. This is your opportunity to provide a unique and concise interpretation of the theme of confidence. Flash is a good entry choice if you are taking the first steps in building up your writing portfolio. 

5. Tell stories. If you are a natural storyteller, then the higher word limits in this category might suit you. Your story, if selected, will be one of a collection of pieces that interpret confidence through fiction. It will stand alone as yours but also be part of a bigger story.

6. Make a scene. If you love the big screen or the stage, scripts are the way to go. They have a well-earned place alongside stories and poems for readers to enjoy. Scripts give readers a different experience of visual cues, setting, action and dialogue.

7.  Write poems. If you are a poet you might like our longer line limit. This supports the entry of longer poems that are sometimes excluded from competitions. We accept shorter poems too.

8. The celebration of award-winning writing. We will be organizing some celebrations to award the prizes, announce the winners and to launch the inaugural Minds Shine Bright anthology. 

9. Being part of a writing community that connects globally. We can all learn from each other to build a richer understanding of what contemporary fiction writing is and can be.

10. Find your voice. Everything we write helps to shape us as writers and defines our unique voice.

11. Find out how you compare. Whether you win or not, it’s interesting to see what other writers are producing on the theme. What are the qualities in their work that resonate with you (or don’t) and what might you do differently next time

12. Expanding your audience. Entering the Minds Shine Bright writing competition will introduce your writing to a new audience.  In addition to publishing the Minds Shine Bright anthology we will also be publishing some pieces of winning or commended entries on our website. 

It’s exciting to see entries flowing in from so many different places. Which one of them will win the overall prize? Will it be a moving poem, a captivating story, a searing piece of flash or a shattering script? 

I hope this update has given you some inspiration because the winner might be you.


Exploring confidence

As we start to explore the theme of confidence it doesn’t matter what we look like, how old we are or where we live. The focus is on the written words.

The way we feel drives much decision making in society. We don’t always apply logic and science when we consider the choices we will make. We often rely on opinions, raw emotion and gut instinct to guide our actions and their consequences. In society much effort is focused on studying and influencing market, business and consumer sentiment as these measures of confidence drive profit and help to measure community outcomes.

The arts have enduring societal benefits that are frequently unrecognized and under-valued by such metrics and models. For example, reading fiction can set the imagination free by transporting and entertaining us.

By suspending disbelief, we are encouraged to embrace complexity, uncertainty, new worlds and different ways of thinking. Interpreting confidence from a fictional perspective can open us up to subtleties, curlicues and diverse perspectives that will enrich our understanding of each other, the world and our place in it. It doesn’t do this by teaching but rather by entertaining us. As we read or watch we may laugh, cry or do both at the same time.

There are infinite ways to explore the theme of confidence. Imagine a circle with many lines drawn through it. Each line represents the perspective of a writer. Some may explore confidence and hope, others confidence and betrayal. Elements of confidence may be reflected in characters or in the environment. Key characters may be over-confident, lack confidence or have an experience that shapes their self-belief in some way. Some explorations will be light and joyous others more somber.  Think about your line, where it is headed and what you seek to share with your readers.

The relationship between a reader and a writer occurs across time and space. A reader sits skimming your lines with their eyes, completely absorbed. Once finished there is a sense of loss like farewelling a friend. Happy with the experience, sad in the parting but comforted that some of the meaning will stay with them, they put the book down.  This is also true for fiction that is spoken, acted on a stage or filmed.

 Some of our writing will influence people and have flow on effects that we may never know about. That is the true power of your piece.

You can find out more about what we are looking for in winning entries, information about managing your submission process and you can subscribe by email here.