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“Daddy” is a dark look into the life of a father, his new born son, and an unfortunate gunman.

A father sits in the spare room in the tiny flat he shares with his wife, and cholic cursed newborn son, trying to write. But the crying never stops. His wife sits on the lounge, goon bag in hand, drunk. Always drunk.

One night he takes his baby boy for a walk through the dying neighbourhood to the corner shop, where an unfortunate gunman makes his appearance.


First Place WINNER: Short Story Award by the Australian Literature Review.

“[Daddy] took my breath away, both in terms of language, plot and overall polish.” — Sophie King, short story writer, novelist, author of several books on writing fiction, and creative writing teacher at Oxford University.

“That story bought tears to my eyes.” — Zoe Turnbull


“Being a father is one of the most beautiful and traumatic experiences anyone can enjoy and endure. While we often talk about the wonderful parts of raising children, the darkness that reveals itself in the dead of the night is not often spoken about, much less shared publically.

Daddy is a story of a man who is battling the internal demons that raise their ugly head when you mix the volatile emotions that rage inside a new father’s head. It’s impossible to put a name to the emotion, and so after one tougher than usual Christmas holiday, instead of putting a name to it, I put a story to it. A simple title, but one which encompasses so much: Daddy.

This story was written at the beach one night. I parked the car, and as darkness settled, and rain started to fall, I opened the laptop and started to type. “Daddy” was the result.

Being a father is something I’d never change, and is the most fulfilling part of my life. But in the darkness as the pressure, the stress, and the tiredness encompasses you, as a father remember this: you are not alone. Out there, in the night, nameless fathers are patting their newborn sons to sleep. We are your soul brothers.”

— Sam Stephens

 This story can be read online, for free:

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© Copyright Sam Stephens, 2017