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It's the 10th anniversary of The Richell Prize!

Meet the talented authors that have either been awarded or offered publishing through The Richell Prize. Our authors chat through their experiences with drafting and submitting, as well as tips and tricks to make your manuscript stand out!


You’ve had an incredible life with so many unique experiences – what did it feel like to win the Richell Prize and have the chance to share your story?

Winning the Richell Prize was mindblowing. I was in shock when Ruby-Rose Pivet-Marsh (Emerging Writer’s Festival) emailed and congratulated me on making the longlist. Then, when Vanessa (Radnidge) called to let me know I’d made the shortlist, I almost dropped the phone. Weeks later, she called again, and when  I saw her name on my phone screen, I knew I’d won. I started crying immediately. Vanessa is a crier, too, so we’ve had a few of those moments now! 

Having the chance to share my story is something I’ll never take for granted. I always thought my life was singular: an Australian woman from a culturally diverse background raised by a single mother with dreams of becoming a hip-hop journalist. But as I opened up and documented my ups and downs, I realised my story is universal, with great potential to connect with people worldwide. 

 

Your favourite part of the Richell experience?

My favourite part was finally letting go of my decades-long self-doubt as a writer and going hard! I’m so proud of myself for that. The contest was the first time I wrote something significant in such a short time (I saw promotions one month before the deadline and crammed my entry into those four weeks). Going on to win was one of those rare moments I felt seen, and I’ll never forget it.

 

Can you share any tips and tricks for those entering this year?

I can’t stress enough that you share your work with trusted readers before you submit it. I asked three friends - a writer, a teacher, and an avid reader in my target audience - to critically review the three chapters I wrote for my entry. And this was game-changing because while my story is compelling, its delivery had to be equally so. I’ll add that the Richell Prize is for discovering new talent, so it’s okay to be a little rough around the edges! What’s most important is your voice and authenticity. 

 

What are some changes to diversity and inclusion that you would like to see in the publishing industry?

How much time do you have? We need sweeping changes across the board. These include diverse hiring practices, especially at senior levels, and training to help the industry better understand and address issues related to representation and equity. We also need to show and prove that diverse authors belong alongside their white, cisgender peers. After winning the Richell, I did wonder if my story triumphed because it was the best out of 850 entries or because I ticked the correct box at the right time. No one should ever have to question their success. 

 

There’s no doubt that you’re an Australian feminist icon – what are some of your favourite feminist reads?

Maaaaate! I don’t know about that title, but if you say so (laughs). Coming first to mind are Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Angela Davis, Mona Eltahawy, Roxane Gay, and Joan Morgan, and rap lyrics from Lauryn Hill and Lil Kim.

  • Tell Her She's Dreamin' - Simone Amelia Jordan

    A rallying call for anyone who dreams big. And a deeply personal story of family, culture and music from Australia's most successful hip-hop journalist, a high-achieving Lebanese-Australian woman who refused to be limited by others.

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