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Hachette Australia, the Emerging Writers’ Festival (EWF) and our media partner Guardian Australia are thrilled to announce the winner of the 2017 Richell Prize for emerging writers. The shortlist, chosen from 579 entries, was announced at the beginning of October.


The judges have commented on the wonderful breadth of talent in the shortlist:

 ‘From sibling relationships to struggling with grief, sexual awakenings and family secrets to a bohemian artist’s life in 1920s Australia – this shortlist is diverse and exciting. It speaks to the wonderful new voices just waiting to be uncovered out there – and to the truly exciting stories readers can expect to treasure in the years to come.’


Applicants were required to submit the first three chapters and a synopsis of their proposed work of adult fiction or narrative nonfiction, with the winner to receive $10,000 and mentoring from a Hachette publisher to help develop the work to publication. The winner was announced on November 1st at a ceremony in Sydney.


The winner of the 2017 Richell Prize for Emerging Writers is Adelaide-based author Sam Coley for his work-in-progress State Highway One.


The judges had this to say about Sam’s winning entry:


State Highway One is a captivating read that explores loss and what it really means to come home, reckoning with the past and the challenge of the future ahead while travelling the length of New Zealand along State Highway One. The sense of place and the slow break-down of the lead character's mental and emotional state makes for a truly gripping read. Sam’s writing feels fresh and modern and is bursting with both heart and humour.’


For the first time, the Richell Prize judges have also awarded a Highly Commended to one of the shortlisted entries, along with the offer of a 12-month mentorship to help develop their work to publication.


The Highly Commended entry is Sydney-based author Michelle Barraclough’s As I Am.


The judges for 2017 are bestselling author Hannah Richell, Emerging Writers’ Festival director Izzy Roberts-Orr, Sydney bookseller Amelia Lush and Hachette publisher Robert Watkins.


The Prize, which is awarded annually, is in memory of Hachette Australia’s former CEO, Matt Richell, who died suddenly in July 2014.  Throughout his publishing career, Matt Richell was a passionate advocate for writers, and believed investment in and support for new writers to be vital for the future of great literature. The Richell Prize was established to continue Matt’s work in encouraging emerging writers in Australia and is open to unpublished writers of adult fiction and adult narrative non-fiction who are serious about their craft and aspire to commence a professional writing career. 


The Richell Prize is organised in partnership with Emerging Writers’ Festival, Hachette Australia, The Guardian Australia and Simpsons Solicitors.

  • Closing Down - Sally Abbott

    Conjuring a dark future for Australia, CLOSING DOWN gives us a glimpse into a world fractured by a financial crisis and the effects of global climate change. The inaugural winner of The Richell Prize for Emerging Writers.

  • No Way! Okay, Fine - Brodie Lancastervvvvv

    "Brodie is whip smart; merging pop-culture references with vulnerable, personal experiences to create a collection that reads like a hilarious catch-up call with an old friend. What a pleasure to hear from this fresh, extremely relevant point of view." Abbi Jacobson, CO-CREATOR / WRITER / STAR of BROAD CITY

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