A collection of links to competitions, publications, information, and other useful internet-based tidbits mostly Australian-based. Underground Writers publishes a curated collection of upcoming competitions, prizes, awards, and other opportunities for writers at the beginning of each month. You can find them here or sign up to our newsletter to receive them in your inbox.
Unpublished manuscript awards
The Ampersand Prize – On hiatus until 2020. For unpublished authors only. Open to manuscripts of young adult or middle-grade fiction. Cash prize as an advance against royalties and a publishing contract with Hardie Grant.
The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award – One of Australia’s richest and most prestigious awards for an unpublished manuscript by a writer under the age of 35. Prize money is $20,000 plus publication by Allen & Unwin with an advance against royalties. Entries close May 31st. Entry fee is $25.
The Carmel Bird Digital Literary Award – Entries for short fiction collections up to 30,000 words in length for Australians. The cash prize is $3000 for the winner and $1000 for two runners up as well as worldwide digital publication in the Capsule Collection Series. Entry fee is $25.
The Daisy Utemorrah Award for Indigenous Authors – A new unpublished manuscript for a work of junior and young adult fiction including graphic novels by an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander writer. The winner gets $15,000 and a publishing contract with Magabala Books.
The Dorothy Hewett Award – For Australian residents aged 18 or over with an unpublished manuscript of fiction, narrative non-fiction or a poetry collection of more than 90 pages. Works of prose must be at least 40,000 words. Entry fee is $15. Cash prize of $10,000 and a publishing contract with UWA Publishing.
Fogarty Literary Award – Biennial award for an unpublished manuscript of adult fiction, narrative non-fiction or young adult fiction by any Western Australian author aged 18–35. Submissions for the 2019 round open 25 March. Cash prize of $20,000 as an advance against royalties and a publishing contract with Fremantle Press.
The KYD Unpublished Manuscript Award – The winner receives $5000 in prize money and a mentorship with KYD’s Rebecca Starford (non-fiction) or Hannah Kent (fiction). This prize is open to manuscripts of adult fiction and narrative non-fiction.
Penguin Literary Prize – Open to unpublished manuscripts of adult literary fiction for Australian residents. $20,000 cash prize as an advance on royalties and a publishing contract with Penguin Random House Australia.
The Richell Prize – Open to unpublished writers of adult fiction and adult narrative non-fiction. A full manuscript is not required at the time of submission but you must intend to have it completed. The Prize is judged based on the first three chapters along with a synopsis outlining the direction of the proposed work. The winner receives a $10,000 prize along with a 12-month mentorship with one of Hachette Australia’s publishers, with Hachette Australia having first option for publication of the finished work.
T.A.G. Hungerford Award – Biennial award for an unpublished manuscript by a debut Western Australian author. Cash prize of $15,000 as an advance against royalties and a publishing contract with Fremantle Press. Next award in 2020.
Text Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing – Open to unpublished manuscripts of at least 20,000 words for young readers. The winner receives a $10,000 prize as an advance on royalties and a publishing contract with Text Publishing. Entry fee is $25.
Regular Short Story, Essay and Poetry Competitions
AAWP SC Creative Nonfiction Prize – Narrative-driven nonfiction prize for works up to 3000 words in the style of essay, profile, memoir, article or hybrid form from emerging writers in the Australasian region. First prize is $500 and fully subsidised fees for the annual conference of the Australasian Association of Writing Programs to present their work. Entry is $20.
ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize – Short stories of 2000–5000 words in length are eligible and three shortlisted stories will be published in the Australian Book Review. The winner will receive a $5000 cash prize, with second prize receiving $3000 and third prize receiving $2000. Three commended stories will also share the remaining $2500 prize money. Entry fee $25 (comes with ABR Online four-month subscription)
Adelaide Plains Poets Poetry Competition – Poems must be no longer than 60 lines and written to a theme. First, second and third place cash prizes with a total prize pool of $700. Entry fee is $10 for the first poem and $5 for each additional poem. Under 18’s have no entry fee but cannot enter more than once.
Bruce Dawe National Poetry Prize – Administered by the University of Southern Queensland accepting poems of any topic or style up to 50 lines. First prize is $300 cash prize and two highly commended prizes receive $500 each. Entry is $6 per poem (up to five poems).
Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards – Optional theme, poetry award for students. Prizes for categories in lower primary, upper primary, assisted learning primary, junior secondary, senior secondary, assisted learn secondary, David Maher award for a student from a school with less than 25 students, and the School’s Award. Prizes range from $300 to $500 for first prize and $150 to $300 for second prize plus prize packs. School entry fees are $25 online for up to 30 entries or $50 for unlimited entries. Individual entry fees are $15 online for up to 3 entries. Extra fees for postal entries.
EJ Brady Short Story Competition – Three prizes for fiction short stories of various lengths (Gabo <700, Betka <1000, Mallacoota <2500). Winners receive $500 for Gabo, $1000 for Betka, and $2000 for Mallacoota. Entry fee is $8, $10 and $12 respectively.
Elyne Mitchell Award – The fiction or non-fiction open category offers first place prize money of $1000 for short stories up to 2500 words referencing an Australasian rural experience. Entry fee is $15.
Fair Australia Prize – Open to fiction (up to 3000 words), poetry (up to 88 lines), essays (up to 3000 words), cartoons or graphics (180mm wide by 255mm high) on a particular topic each year. First prize is $3000 in each category plus three $1000 union member prizes. Entry is free.
Furious Fiction – On the first weekend of each month, the Australian Writers’ Centre runs the Furious Fiction competition for flash fiction. Maximum 500 words and you have to write using the given prompts. The winning entry receives $500.
GMW Emerging Writers Competition – For Victorian residents only, fiction and non-fiction entries between 2000-3000 words. $1000 cash prize for first place in each category and $250 prize to second place in each category, plus publication in The Victorian Writer magazine. Entry fee is $20 or free for Writers Victoria Members.
Henry Lawson Society Literary Awards – On theme writing in categories for traditional rhyming verse (up to 50 lines), short stories (up to 1000 words), free verse (up to 50 lines), the Henry Lawson Society poetry prize (up to 50 lines) and the Wombat Award for children 12 and under. First prize $600, second $300 and third $150 for the first three categories, with first prize $200 in the Henry Lawson Society poetry prize and first prize $100, second $75 and third $50 for Wombat awards. Entry fee is $10.
Judith Wright Poetry Prize – Poetry award for new and emerging writers. First prize is $6000, second prize $2000, third prize $1000 plus publication in Overland.
KSP Poetry Awards – Open, Youth and Annette Cameron Encouragement Award categories. Max 50 lines. First and second place prizes for both Open and Youth Categories. Adult first place comes with $300 cash prize and a weekend residency at KSP Writers Centre. Youth first place is $100. Youth free to enter. Adults $10 entry fee.
KSP Short Fiction Competition – Youth and Adult sections open. Youth max 2000 words and Adult max 2500 words. Must be written to the theme. Prizes for first and second place in both sections. Adult first place comes with $300 cash prize and a weekend residency at KSP Writers Centre. Youth first place is $100. Youth free to enter. Adults $10 entry fee.
Liminal Fiction Prize – Open to fiction writing of 1000–5000 words on the theme of the issue. You must identify as a Person of Colour and be a citizen or resident of Australia. First prize of $2500 and publication in The Lifted Brow with a runner-up prize of $500. Shortlisted pieces will all be published in an anthology by Brow Books.
Mulga Bill Writing Award – Separate short stories and poetry prizes written to the Eaglehawk Dahlia and Arts Festival theme. Short stories up to 2000 words and poems up to 25 lines are eligible. Short Story first prize is $500 and $150 for second place. Poetry first prize is $200 and $50 for second place. Entry fee is $5.
Nature Writing Prize – Biennial prize for essays between 3000-5000 words on a specified genre each year. First place is $5000 cash prize and publication in the Griffith Review.
Newcastle Short Story Award – Run by the Hunter Writers Centre and open to short stories up to 2000 words by Australian citizens or permanent residents. $3000 first place cash prize, $1700 second place cash prize, $1000 third place cash prize. Five highly commended cash prizes. Entry fee is $16.50.
NWY/joanne burns Microlit Award – Microfiction award for stories no more than 200 words for Australian residents and citizens. Cash prize of $300 to the winners in each category and publication in the Spineless Wonders multiplatform collaborations. Entry is $15 for up to 3 submissions.
Patron’s Prize for Poets – Administered by the Peter Cowan Writers Centre, poems have a maximum of 50 lines and must be unpublished. There are three prizes in the Open category ($200 first place, $100 second place, and $50 third place), a $50 Novice Poet Award, and a $50 Judges Encouragement Award for Youth. Entry is $10 or $5 for youth entries.
Peter Cowan Short Story Competition – Run by the Peter Cowan Writers Centre and open to short stories up to 600 words. The open category has first place $200 cash prize, $100 for second place and $50 for third, with a $50 prize for the Novice Award and a $50 prize for the Youth Encouragement Award. Entry fee is $10 each and $5 for youth entries.
S.D. Harvey Short Crime Story Award – Accepts work of fiction or non-fiction, 3000-5000 words, in the crime genre. A cash prize and day trip for two aboard the Providence V based in the Whitsundays for first place. $50 Entry Fee.
Sheila Maladay Short Story Competition – Shakespeare-inspired short story competition open to pieces up to 2000 words on a theme. First prize is $300 plus physical prizes, second and third prizes also receive book vouchers and tickets to community plays. Entry fee is $5.
Stuart Hadow Short Story Prize – Administered by the Fellowship of Australian Writers WA and open to short stories up to 3000 words. First prize is $1000 cash prize and a one-week unpaid residency at Mattie Furphy House in Swanbourne, $300 second place prize and $100 third place prize. Entry fee is $15.
Victorian University Short Story Prize for New Writers – Short fiction prize for new writers on works up to 3000 words in length. First prize of $6000 and two runner-up prizes of $1000 plus publication in Overland. Entry fee is $12 for subscribers or $20 for non-subscribers.
WB Yeats Poetry Prize – 50 line maximum limit and cannot have been previously published. Open style. First prize $500 and second prize $75.00. Entry fee $10.
Residencies and Fellowships
KSP Residency Program – Located in Greenmount, WA. For established and emerging writers including poets.
KSP Fellowship Program – Located in Greenmount, WA. For unpublished and emerging writers. There are five different types of fellowship. Read the document in the link for full details.
Varuna’s Copyright Agency First Nations Fellowship – Located in the Blue Mountains, NSW. Travel expense reimbursement included. Open to published or unpublished writers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent currently living in Australia.
Varuna Residential Fellowships for Writers – Located in the Blue Mountains, NSW. There are three types of fellowships, one of which includes travel expense reimbursement. Writers can be unpublished, emerging or established.
The Western Australian Writer’s Fellowship – Award of $60,000 to assist a Western Australian writer of any genre to develop their writing practice and give them time to create new work.
Submission pages for other publications
AGNI online – publishes poetry, short fiction, and essays
The Antigonish Review – open to poetry on any subject written from any point of view and in any form
Antithesis Arts Journal – Australian-based arts journal
Australian Poetry Journal – Australian-based poetry journal
Birdee mag – accepting articles, poems, comics and illustrations aimed at young women
Duende – seeks submissions of prose, poetry, hybrid writing, stage plays, screenplays and visual art
Fields – US-based, accepting fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and visual arts submissions on a rolling basis
Firewords – UK-based literary magazine
frankie magazine – Australian-based lifestyle and writing magazine
Ginosko Literary Journal – US-based, accepting short fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, social justice, literary insights
Granta Magazine – accepting poetry, fiction and non-fiction, photography and art
Hello Giggles – US-based online publication aimed at young women, accepting personal essays and cultural criticism, LGBTQ perspectives, articles, and illustrations
Kill Your Darlings – Australian-based online publication publishing commentary, essays, memoir, reviews, interviews and fiction
Meanjin Quarterly – Australia-based publisher of poetry, fiction, essays, and memoir
Neon Journal – a UK-based literary magazine that accepts submissions from new and emerging writers
Overland – Australia-based literary journal publishing essays, stories and poetry both in print and online
Ploughshares – US-based literary magazine
Rookie mag – US-based, by and for teens
Stilts Journal – a triannual journal of established and emerging poets published from Brisbane
Tincture Journal – Australia-based, a quarterly e-book literary journal, featuring fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction from Australia and the world
Quiddity – an international literary journal and radio program, accepting submissions from new and emerging writers
Visible Ink – an annual anthology promoting emerging Australian writers and artists, produced and published by a collective of RMIT students
Voiceworks – by Express Media, a national literary journal, featuring new fiction, nonfiction, poetry, visual art and comics by Australians under the age of 25
Windfall: Australian Haiku – a small annual print publication which seeks to publish fine examples of contemporary Australian haiku
Submission pages for book publishers
Allen & Unwin Friday Pitch – ‘Allen & Unwin publish a wide range of literary and commercial fiction and non-fiction for adults, and are always on the lookout for new stories and storytellers to add to our list’
Bloomsbury Spark – ‘a one-of-a-kind, global, digital imprint from Bloomsbury Publishing dedicated to publishing a wide array of exciting fiction eBooks to teen, YA, and new adult readers’
InHouse Publishing – ‘a passionate and caring team of publishing experts who offer the most up-to-date and creative input into any author’s book publishing journey’
Inkshares – end-to-end book publishing
Jasper – Perth-based indie publishing house
Kids Own Publishing – ‘We enable children to create their own books’
LuLu – print-on-demand service for self-published authors
Pan MacMillan Manuscript Mondays – ‘On the first Monday of every month only, between 10 am and 4 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time, we accept electronic submissions that comply with the guidelines set out’
Penguin Books – publishing advice page for Penguin Books
Smashwords – ‘the world’s largest distributor of indie ebooks’
Vine Leaves Press – indie publishing house: ‘we publish book-length vignette collections, writing reference books, short story collections, memoir/autobiography, and novels (all genres with a literary bent)’
Xlibris – print-on-demand service for self-published authors
Aerogramme Studio – Literary Magazines Curated By And For People With Disabilities
AWM – Australian Writer’s Marketplace, ‘every contact you will ever need to succeed in the writing business’
Australian Society of Authors – The professional association for Australian authors and illustrators
Bloggingdotcom – A step-by-step guide to starting your first blog including everything from choosing your platform and hosting to creating content
Books + Publishing – Inside Australia’s book publishing industry
Freeline – The Australian freelance writers network
Lonely Company – a Melbourne-based initiative providing residencies for playwrights
MEAA – ‘MEAA has a long and proud history of improving the working lives of creative professionals and the industries in which they work’
The Small Press Network – a representative body for small and independent publishers in Australia
Spineless Wonders – a multi-platform publishing company devoted to short, quality fiction produced by Australian writers
Website Setup – the top ten website builders for writers