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Hachette Australia, along with Hannah Richell, is honoured to launch the Richell Prize for Emerging Writers for 2024, in partnership with the Emerging Writers’ Festival (EWF).

Now in its tenth anniversary year, The Richell Prize has firmly established itself in the Australian literary landscape as a unique opportunity for emerging writers. Designed to celebrate and support unpublished writers, the Richell Prize is free to enter for unpublished writers of adult fiction and adult narrative non-fiction and offers the winner a rare one-year mentorship with a Hachette publisher and $10,000 in prize money. It is dedicated to removing barriers for unpublished writers, has no age limit and requires only three finished chapters at the time of submission.

Since its infancy, the Prize has attracted thousands of entries across adult fiction and non-fiction and Hachette has published or contracted twelve authors who have been discovered through this annual Prize, including Sally Abbott (2015 winner), Brodie Lancaster (2015 shortlist), Susie Greenhill (2016), 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), Simone Amelia Jordan (2021 winner) and Susannah Begbie (2022 winner).

Hannah Richell, bestselling author, says, ‘Before Matt Richell worked in publishing, he was, first and foremost, a book lover and a reader. As his career developed, he displayed an innate understanding of the vulnerability and courage required for writers to share their words, and a talent for supporting and nurturing authors. In the nearly ten years since his death, amidst the heartache, it’s been a source of great hope to see Matt’s legacy continue in the form of the Richell Prize and to bear witness to a raft of new writers launching books and careers. This Prize, established in Matt’s name with the help of our generous partners, is designed for those writers who are fumbling and experimenting, for those lurking in the shadows, who perhaps feel baffled by the industry or afraid to reveal themselves. It’s asking you to embrace the fear that comes with sharing your work, to dare to dream and to feel that spark of excitement about where your words might take you. I know I speak for all the judges when I say we can’t wait to read your submission.’

Ruby Pivet-Marsh, Artistic Director & Co-CEO of the Emerging Writers’ Festival (EWF) says, ‘The Richell Prize is unlike any other – not only does it offer emerging, unpublished authors a cash prize, it also comes with a dedicated period of development and the chance to be optioned for publishing. It is our immense privilege and pride to have administrated this prize for the past decade. It is where so many of our favourite authors have developed the confidence to go for what they want for their careers. For all EWF, it is also an opportunity to employ emerging artists and arts workers, outside of our programming. Every year, we engage members of the extended EWF communities, who read, reflect on and ultimately score every single entry. This is no small feat, considering we receive hundreds of entries year on year.

On a personal note, reading for this prize remains one of my own early career highlights. I, along with the rest of the team at EWF, are so excited to see what you send us for the 10th anniversary of this invaluable prize.’

Louise Stark, CEO, Hachette Australia, says: ‘Honouring Matt Richell and his support of debut writers with the establishment of the Richell Prize is particularly meaningful and rewarding for all at Hachette and also for those in the wider industry who loved and respected Matt. Winning is always wonderful but writers who have entered have told us of the boost it has given them to commit to their writing. This is a unique and very special prize that has opened a pathway for many and unearthed extraordinary literary talent. So please, be brave, back yourself and enter your work.’

Alex Sawyer, 2023 Richell Prize winner, says, ‘The Richell Prize is a life-changing award for an emerging writer. The recognition and fostering of your work, the financial support to take risks and the guidance of an expert in the world of writing and publishing are the perfect platform to take the next step. Like every entrant, I had no idea whether I was ready, whether my novel would meet the judges’ owlish approval; it didn’t matter, don’t let it matter. Enter and discover.’

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 donated by the Richell family, and a year’s mentoring with a Hachette publisher.


PRIZE OPENS 22/04/24






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.

Hachette Australia recommends that all entrants read the Terms and Conditions carefully on the EWF website to ensure your work is eligible.

Hachette Australia and Hannah Richell would like to thank the Emerging Writers’ Festival (EWF) for partnering with them to make this Prize a reality. The EWF 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 the huge amount of support that Matt Richell gave to emerging writers. Without the writers, there would be no Prize – so be brave and submit your work.

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