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Hachette Australia, along with the Richell family, is honoured to launch the Richell Prize for Emerging Writers for 2023, in partnership with the Emerging Writers’ Festival (EWF). Now in its ninth year, entry to this prestigious Prize is open to unpublished writers of adult fiction and adult narrative non-fiction.

To date, Hachette has published or contracted ten authors who have been discovered through this annual Prize, 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), Zaheda Ghani (2018 shortlist), Allee Richards (2019 shortlist), Aisling Smith (2020 winner) and Simone Amelia Jordan (2021 winner).

Hannah Richell, bestselling author of Secrets of the Tides, The Shadow Year, The Peacock Summer, The River Home and the upcoming The Search Party, says: ‘I’m so proud of the Richell Prize, the legacy it’s created in my late husband’s name, and all that it’s achieved in the nine years since its launch. Taking the first steps as an emerging writer can be a confusing and daunting process. The Richell Prize has been designed to help guide new talent towards publication, with financial and mentoring support. Unlike some prizes, we don’t ask for a completed manuscript. We simply ask for the first three chapters, a clear vision and your commitment to finishing your project. The talent we’ve already unearthed has dazzled and excited us, and we can’t wait to make a new discovery this year. If you’re thinking of entering, please take the leap. We’re ready to help you take flight.’

Jes Layton, Executive Director of EWF says: ‘In 2023, it’s surreal to think we are on the cusp of almost a decade of administering the Richell Prize alongside Hachette. From its earliest inception, the Richell Prize was envisioned to be an unpublished author’s dream – offering both financial and unique developmental support to the often bedside-draw-hidden talent of emerging authors. Looking back on the legacy of this prize – and by extension the legacy of its namesake Matt Richell – it’s impossible not to be filled with a unique sense of pride seeing the numerous literary careers bolstered, launched, inspired and supported in all their variety and colour by this Prize. Regardless of whether those writers were longlisted, shortlisted, winners, runners-ups; it is a courageous and vital step in a creative life to both champion yourself and to put yourself in the position to be championed by others. All that is to say, send in your work! We want to champion YOU! Alongside Hachette Australia and the Richell family, it is our honour to continue encouraging and supporting literary talent in this way, and we cannot wait to see and read the many talented new voices that this year’s Prize will introduce us to.’ 

Vanessa Radnidge, Head of Literary, Hachette Australia, says: ‘I am very proud that this prize has become an important event on the Australian literary calendar. The fact that we are honouring our former CEO, Matt Richell, who was known for his support of debut writers, in a way that encourages and nurtures emerging writers is particularly meaningful and rewarding for all at Hachette. We know for many writers finding time and space to write can be a challenge, and the Richell Prize has been developed with this in mind. Every year I am in awe of the talent we discover. I hope that the opening of entries is the prompt that sees unpublished writers take the brave step to enter their work.’

Susannah Begbie, winner of the 2022 Richell Prize, says: ‘The Richell Prize has transformed my writing life. Twelve months ago, I had an unseen manuscript in my study. Now I have a book (almost!). We resist entering literary prizes, which is strange. We believe our work is not ready; it’s not interesting enough; it isn’t good enough. There is no reason to listen to these voices. Entering the Richell Prize, no matter what the outcome, is only good. It will make you write, take courage and boldly send your work into the world. Do it. Good luck!’

How Will the Prize be Judged?

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;
  • Why you want it – tell us how winning the Prize will help you further your writing career.

To enter the Prize, writers are not required to have a full manuscript at submission, though they must intend to complete one. The winner will receive $10,000 in prize money from Hachette, and a year’s mentoring with a Hachette publisher, who will work with the winning writer to develop their manuscript. Hachette Australia has first option to consider the finished work, and the shortlisted entries, for publication.

For more information about entering the prize please visit

Key Dates:

  • Prize Opens: 13/04/23
  • Prize Closes: 7/7/23
  • Longlist Announced: 4/9/23
  • Shortlist Announced: 10/10/23
  • Winner Announced: 2/11/23

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