It's not too late! Last chance to enter these writing competitions 2019

Since writing this post in January 2019 some more competitions have come to the fore that I want to make mention of now (so we can make note of them for next year!):

Asa/Harlequin Commercial Fiction Prize was announced at the Romance Writers' of Australia Conference this year. 'The prize is for an unpublished manuscript and the winner will receive a publishing contract with HQ, a division of HarperCollins Publishers, and a $10,000 advance against royalties... The runner-up will receive a prize worth $3,000 from Leading Hand, of 20 hours free consultation towards a comprehensive audit of your online presence and a new website.

Entries open on 10 August 2019

Entries close at 5pm, AEDT, on 1 November 2019

Details can be found on our website here: '


The HNSA were happy to announce the creation of a new residency for writers of historical fiction, named in honour of one of Australasia’s best-selling and beloved authors, Colleen McCullough.

'The residency will take place on Norfolk Island, and includes air fare, car hire, tours of the island and accommodation on the McCullough estate. It is supported by local businesses Burnt Pine Travel, Baunti Escapes, and the McCullough estate.'

The winning prize is an exclusive residency on Colleen’s estate in Norfolk Island on 3-9 February 2020. The competition is open only to writers of historical fiction, as part of the HNSA conference in October 2019. Writers attending the conference can enter to win. It includes:

A return airfare from Sydney to Norfolk Island

Individual car hire for 7 days

7 days exclusive use of one self-contained unit on the Colleen McCullough property from 3-9 February 2020

Transfers on Norfolk Island from airport to tour office/accommodation

A tour of Colleen McCullough’s library

Two tours offered by Baunti Escapes on Norfolk Island.

Two writers in residence will be selected – one residency will be awarded to an aspiring writer.

Opening date: 1 August 2019 Closing date for receipt of entries: Midnight 13 October 2019 AEST

More details can be found here:

January 2019:

I thought I'd write a quick blog about competitions open for unpublished novel manuscripts in 2019, some run out of Australia, some overseas. Apart from anything else, I wanted to note them down as a means to keep them fresh in my own mind, and maybe enter a few! I have written information to the best of my knowledge at the current time, however details of these competitions may change so do not hold me responsible if they do.  (Unfortunately, I've neither time nor inclination to put them down in any particular order; I might get to that at a later date, but please bear with me in the meantime!):

First off the blocks is the Richell Prize. I mention this one because I entered it last year and got long-listed (hurrah!), but not short-listed (boohoo!). For those fortunate to make the grade, I think it would be a fabulous opportunity. What they sayabout it: 'The Richell Prize was established in 2014 by Hachette Australia in partnership with The Guardian Australiaand The Emerging Writers Festivalto assist emerging writers who are looking to take the next step in their career. Offered annually, the Prize is open to unpublished writers of adult fiction and adult narrative non-fiction. Writers do not need to have a full manuscript at the time of submission, though they must intend to complete one." Need to submit three chapters, novel synopsis outline, statement about how it will further your writing career. Prize:12 months mentorship with Hachette and $10,000. Last year opened 6th April - closed 9th July.

The Banjo. This is a new competition (as of last year) run by HarperCollins. What they say: 'We’re looking for exciting new Australian voices telling the sorts of stories that we love to read – from sweeping family sagas and lush romances to dark and gritty crime, twisty psychological thrillers, rich historical dramas and contemporary romantic comedies.  We’re looking for stories that make us laugh and make us cry.  Stories that keep us reading late into the night.  Stories that make our pulse race.  Stories we just can’t put down.' Last year it ran 23 March - 25 May, so presumably it'll be similar the year. Prize: the chance to win a publishing contract with HarperCollins, with an advance of $15,000.  Two runners-up receive a written assessment of their manuscript by HarperCollins.Writers need to have a full manuscript at the time of submission. Applications also need to include a synopsis of approximately 500 wordsand a 200-word biographical statement. 

Penguin literary prizewriting competition. What they say:'The Penguin Literary Prize endeavours to find, nurture and develop new Australian authors writing in the areas of literary fiction, and is a nod to Penguin Random House’s literary heritage as the great Australian house of literature.'I can't find a great deal of information on this, but previous it ran October/Novemberand included a$20,000 prize.Need to submit: complete manuscript, 300 word synopsis, one page pitch summary.

Kill Your Darlings Unpublished Manuscript Award.What they say:'The KYD Unpublished Manuscript Award seeks to support writers of adult narrative fiction and non-fiction in the development of their unpublished manuscripts.' When: Last year it ran mid-Jan to end March. To enter, you must have a current full-year (12 months) KYD Membership at time of submission. The winner previously received $5000 in prize money and a year's mentorship.

State Premiers' literary competitions. As you may be aware, the different states in Australia run various writing competitions, some for unpublished manuscripts. Some are run biennially, some don't seem to offer unpublished manuscript awards. Here are links that may prove fruitful: Victoria, Queensland, South Australia

Killer Nashville Claymore Award. This is run in association with Kensington Books and is an America-based competition. What they say: ' Every year, the Killer Nashville Claymore Award assists new and rebranding English-language fiction authors to get published, including possible agent representation, book advances, editor deals, and movie and television sales. Over $3,000 worth of prizes are given away each year, but to us, the publishing and movie deals—and the careers they build—are the end game.' Submit: The contest is limited to only the first 50 double-spaced pages of unpublished English-language manuscripts containing elements of thriller, mystery, crime, or suspense NOT currently under contract. Cost: $40 Deadline: 1st April 2019. 

Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger.What they say: 'For 20 years the CWA has been encouraging new writing with its Debut Dagger competition for unpublished writers. The submissions are judged by a panel of top crime editors and agents, and the short listed entries are sent to publishers and agents.The Debut Dagger is open to anyone who has not yet had a novel published commercially. All shortlisted entrants will receive a professional assessment of their entries. Winning the Debut Dagger doesn’t guarantee you’ll get published. But it does mean your work will be seen leading agents and top editors, who have signed up over two dozen winners and shortlisted Debut Dagger competitors.' Submit: the opening of a crime novel not exceeding 3,000 words and a synopsis of up to 1,500 words. Closes: 28 February 2019. Cost: £36. Prize: £500 for the winner.

First Novel Prize is organised by First Novel Prize is organised by Daniel Goldsmith Associates Ltd . Their website is not particularly clear about entry dates or how to submit, so good luck! What they say: 'Judged by a leading literary agent and an adult fiction commissioning editor at a large international publisher, the prize is an opportunity for writers to expose their work as well as win one of the three attractive prizes: £1,000 for the First Winner, £250 for the Second Winner and £100 for the Third Winner.' What to submit:If your manuscript is in English, unpublished or self-published, of any adult genre and over 50,000 words, you are welcome to enter it in our competition. Please note that non-fiction, children’s fiction, young adult will not qualify for entry. Cost: £25

Spotlight First Novel Competition.What they say: 'Spotlight First Novel Competition is our way of celebrating and encouraging new writers. Every year we profile the winner and offer them transitional support.The competition also has a well documented knack of highlighting the writers of the future. So far, no less than seven of our shortlisted writers have gone on to mainstream success.' Deadline: 14th February 2019 Entry Requirements: A one-page synopsis and first page of novel. Entry fee: £16.00

Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Award This competition is run by the Wilbur and Niso Smith Foundation. What they say: 'The foundation was created to allow us to share our love of adventure writing with the world.'What to also bear in mind: 'We expect an adventure story to:Take the reader on an epic journey, exploring new horizons – be they historical or geographicalExplore the themes of courage, endurance and resourcefulnessAllow readers to connect with a different reality or culture'

Prize: The winner will have their manuscript published by Bonnier Books UK, in a publishing deal with a writer's advance of £15,000. In addition, each of the shortlisted writers will receive three months of one-to-one manuscript development with literary consultant, David Llewelyn, intended to help each writer reach the standard necessary for submission to agents and publishers. Dates for submission: 7th January - 1st March 2019 Submissions must exceed 50,000 words in length.

Yeovil Literary Prize. Organised by the Yeovil Community Arts Association. What they say: ' This is your opportunity to enter four very different categories of writing. Aspiring writers throughout the world should enter this prestigious writing competition.All genres are welcome.Agents and Publishers regularly search our winner lists for new talent ...

From small beginnings the Yeovil Literary Prize has nurtured many hundreds of aspiring writers. 2019 heralds the 17th competition, and we have a reputation to maintain now as writers worldwide share their work with us.'Entry fee for novel: £12 Open 1st January - 31st May 2019 15,000 words, including synopsis (not a blurb) and opening chapters Prizes: 1st£1000,   2nd£250,   3rd£100.

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