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Hachette Australia, along with the Richell family, is honoured to launch the Richell Prize for Emerging Writers for 2020, in partnership with The Guardian Australia and The Emerging Writers’ Festival.

Now in its sixth year, the Richell Prize is again open to unpublished writers of adult fiction and adult narrative non-fiction. So far Hachette Australia has published or contracted seven authors, including Sally Abbott (2015 winner), Brodie Lancaster (2015 shortlist), Sam Coley (2017 winner), Julie Keys (2017 shortlist), Ruth McIver (2018 winner), Mandy Beaumont (2018 shortlist) and Allee Richard (2019 shortlist).

‘As a writer myself, I know from personal experience how writing can offer escape and connection during times of disruption, pain and change. My hope is that this Prize might find its way to those of you drawn to explore your creativity and writing craft in this particularly extraordinary year. If you think you have a manuscript inside of you and the commitment and desire to see it through to publication, this is the Prize for you. Let us help you make it happen. Be brave. Submit your work. We can’t wait to read it.’ – Hannah Richell, bestselling author of SECRETS OF THE TIDES and THE RIVER HOME.

Writers do not need to have a full manuscript at the time of submission, though they must intend to complete one. The winner will receive $10,000 in prize money, to be donated by Hachette Australia, and a year’s mentoring with one of Hachette Australia’s publishers. Hachette Australia will work with the winning writer to develop their manuscript with first option to consider the finished work, and the shortlisted entries, for publication.

‘The Richell Prize gave me not only the confidence and determination to continue writing my manuscript - only 30,000 words when I entered – but also the gift of time and research the prize money afforded, as well as the valuable insights of an industry mentor. Two years later and I've just submitted the final edits of State Highway One to Hachette – I know this wouldn't have been possible without this incredible prize, the greatest opportunity for unpublished Australian writers there is.’ – Sam Coley, Richell Prize-winning author (2017) of STATE HIGHWAY ONE, publishing June 2020

‘Receiving the Richell Prize was honestly the most magical day of my life. Along with the concrete outcomes that come with winning the prize, being shortlisted gave me much-needed affirmation and confidence in myself as a writer and in my work. The support, mentorship and encouragement I've received since from the team at Hachette Australia are helping me to achieve my lifelong ambition of being a career author.’ – Ruth McIver, Richell Prize-winning author (2019) of I SHOT THE DEVIL publishing July 2020

How Will the Prize be Judged?

The 2020 judging panel includes Vanessa Radnidge, Hachette Australia publisher; Hannah Richell, bestselling author; Jon Page, bookseller at Dymocks Sydney and Galina Marinov, Member Services Development Manager at the Australian Booksellers Association.

The applications will be judged on three main criteria:

  • The writing – make sure that you are telling an original story that you have a burning desire to share.
  • The synopsis – give us a brief summary of the plot, major characters, themes and settings in the book and a chapter-by-chapter breakdown of the rest of the book.
  •  Tell us how winning the Prize will help you further your writing career.

‘As a life-changing award for writers, the Richell Prize is a hugely important industry opportunity that EWF is honoured to present with Hachette. We are thrilled to be partnering again and excited to read the talent the prize unearths.’ – Ruby-Rose Pivet-Marsh, Artistic Director of The Emerging Writers’ Festival

 ‘When I started working on my novel, I had no idea if my manuscript had any potential. Being shortlisted for the Richell Prize gave me the confidence to finish the manuscript and introduced me to a team of people who genuinely care about my writing and my career.’ – Allee Richards, Richell Prize shortlisted author (2019) of IN REAL LIFE, publishing August 2021

‘Being shortlisted for the Richell Prize was a game-changer for me. Hachette's commitment, through this important prize, to uncover and celebrate new books – like Wild, Fearless Chests – which challenge and push the boundaries of what literature can be, gives me so much hope for the future of literature and publishing in Australia.’ – Mandy Beaumont, Richell Prize shortlisted author (2018) of WILD, FEARLESS CHESTS, published February 2020

About the Mentorship with Hachette

The winner will receive a 12-month mentorship with a publisher at Hachette Australia. The format of this will depend on the winning writer but you can expect to receive an assessment of the three chapters that you’ve submitted, feedback on your writing style, a discussion around who your target audience might be and regular phone calls to check in on your writing progress. Your mentor will read your work at regular intervals. While Hachette is not offering a publication deal as part of the Prize, we’d love to mentor the winner through to a stage where we both feel comfortable discussing publication opportunities.

Hachette Australia and Hannah Richell would like to thank The Emerging Writers’ Festival and The Guardian Australia for partnering with them to make this Prize a reality.

The Emerging Writers’ Festival would also like to thank Simpsons Solicitors for assisting them financially with the administration of the Prize.

This Prize brings together a group of people who know what a huge supporter of emerging writers Matt Richell was. Without the writers there would be no Prize – so be brave and submit your work.


Prize Opens 3 April 2020

Prize Closes 10 July 2020

Longlist Announced 7 September 2020 

Shortlisted Announced 5 October 2020

Winner Announced 6 November 2020

For more information about the prize please visit

  • I Shot the Devil - Ruth McIver

    For readers of Gillian Flynn comes an unforgettable story of murder, trauma and childhoods lost from the Richell Prize winning debut author.

  • State Highway One - Sam Coley

    A stunning debut novel about what it means to come home, from the winner of the 2017 Richell Prize for Emerging Writers.

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