As I’m actively pursuing publication for a completed manuscript, I am not only querying agents and researching publishers but I’ve also looked at what other opportunities are available for writers with complete, unpublished manuscripts. I’ve come across various writing competitions available in Australia which I think are worth having a look at.
- The Premier’s Award in various states: Unfortunately the NSW Premier’s Award seems to only accept published manuscripts but Victoria, Queensland, and South Australia host similar awards and some of these awards are open to unpublished manuscripts. In WA there’s the biennial T.A.G Hungerford Award and the annual Dorothy Hewett Award (by UWA Publishing).
- The Richell Prize for Emerging Writers: Submissions have just opened for this award. The prize is judged on the first three chapters of your manuscript and your synopsis. The winner receives $10,000 in prize money donated by Hachette Australia as well as a 12 month mentorship with a Hachette publisher.
- The Australian/ Vogel’s Literary Award: Entries are now open for one of the most prestigious awards for an unpublished manuscript by a writer under thirty-five years of age. It offers publication with Allen & Unwin inclusive of an advance and prize money totalling $20,000. The careers of Kate Grenville and Tim Winton were launched with this Award.
- The Ampersand Prize: Will open to submissions in July 2017. The award is hosted by the publisher Hardie Grant Egmon who hope to find a debut novelist of young adult and/or middle-grade fiction. A publishing contract and advance against royalties is up for grabs with this award.
- KYD Unpublished Manuscript Award: Entries close on March 31st, 2017! This award is hosted by the Kill Your Darlings magazine- one of it’s founders is Hannah Kent. If you’re a Hannah Kent fan then this one is for you because the winner will not only receive a $5000 cash prize but mentorship with Hannah Kent (fiction) or Rebecca Starford (non-fiction).
Writing competitions offer a great place to test your writing, gain some constructive feedback and build awareness about your writing projects. If you intend to enter any of these competitions then I encourage you to read through the guidelines carefully and give yourself enough time to enter the best possible version of your manuscript that you can.