Prize for unpublished manuscript now open

05/11/2020 | 3 mins

UWA Publishing is seeking submissions for the 2021 Dorothy Hewett Award for an Unpublished Manuscript.

Supported by the Copyright Agency, the $10,000 cash prize also offers a publishing contact with UWA Publishing that includes a national publicity campaign.

Writers who have completed a manuscript of fiction, narrative nonfiction or poetry – inclusive of hybrid genres such as verse novels or memoir – are invited to submit their work.

Now entering its fifth year, the prize has been a launchpad for several writers. South Australian Karen Wyld’s debut novel, Where the Fruit Falls, a generations-spanning novel centred on a young Aboriginal mother, won the 2020 award and was released earlier this month.

The inaugural winner, Extinctions, by West Australian author Josephine Wilson, went on to win the Miles Franklin Literary Award in 2017 and has since been sold into the US and UK markets.

Judging panel chair Dr Tony Hughes-d’Aeth, Chair of Australian Literature at The University of Western Australia and director of the Westerly Centre said since its inception in 2015, the Dorothy Hewett Award – a partnership between UWA Publishing and Copyright Australia Limited – had become an important part of Australia’s literary landscape.

“The inaugural winner, Josephine Wilson’s Extinctions went on to win the nation’s most prestigious literary prize, the Miles Franklin Literary Award,” Dr Hughes-d’Aeth said. “Subsequent winners have been Odette Kelada, Julie Watts, Angela Rockel and Karen Wyld – and the award has been a crucial step in the emergence of these writers.”

The prize’s namesake Dorothy Hewett AM (1923-2002) is considered one of Australia’s most important writers whose work challenged the norms of 20th century Australian culture. As a writer, Hewett made her mark as a poet, playwright, novelist, short-story writer, memoirist and staunch activist while her life and work gave voice to the marginalised.

The 2021 judging panel also includes poet, teacher and researcher Leni Shilton, who won the NT Chief Minister’s Book Award in 2020 and has previously judged the Stella Prize; The West Australian’s Will Yeoman, former director of Perth Festival Writers Week and New Norcia Writers Festival; and Eleanor Hurt, a member of the UWAP team.

For submission guidelines for the 2021 Dorothy Hewett Award for an Unpublished Manuscript, visit the UWAP website. UWAP is committed to publishing a wide range of voices and encourages those from diverse backgrounds to apply.

Submissions will close Monday 30 November at 5pm AWST, with the shortlist to be announced early next year.

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