Australia’s support for its community of vibrant young writers has received another boost with the launch by Hachette Australia of a new prize for emerging writers to be run in conjunction with The Guardian Australia and the Emerging Writers Festival. The winner of the Richell Prize, named after Matt Richell, the former CEO of Hachette Australia who died suddenly last year, will receive $10,000 in prize money plus one year’s mentoring with one of Hachette Australia’s publishers.
The Guardian Australia will publish an extract of the first chapter of the winning work and promote it. It will also offer places on its Masterclass series to all shortlisted entrants. The competition is open to “unpublished writers of adult fiction and adult narrative non-fiction.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. The Prize will be judged on the first three chapters of the submitted work, along with a synopsis outlining the direction of the proposed work and detail about how the author’s writing career would benefit from winning.”
The Richell Prize is the latest example of publishing houses and newspapers combining to support new literary talent. Best known is the long-running $20,000 The Australian/Vogel award in which Allen & Unwin publish the winning title. This year’s winner was Murray Middleton’s When There is Nowhere Else to Run. Over its 19 years the Australian/Vogel has been the springboard for such internationally recognised authors as Tim Winton and Kate Grenville.
And last week at the Sydney Writers Festival winners of The Sydney Morning Herald’s Best Young Australian Novelists award for promising new writers aged under 35 were announced. The five winners were Michael Mohammed Ahmed for The Tribe, Ellen Van Neerven for Heat and Light, Omar Musa’s Here Come the Dogs, Alice Pung’s Laurinda, and Maxine Beneba Clarke’s Foreign Soil.
Foreign Soil and Heat and Light were both on the shortlist for the 2015 Stella Prize which was won by debut author Emily Bitto for her stunning novel The Strays. Laurinda was on the Stella long list. Here Come the Dogs was on the long list for the Miles Franklin Literary Award the winner of which which will be announced next month.