How to submit your book for awards

Was 2020 going to be the year you showcased your manuscript with the world but just didn’t get around to it? Given the year that was, we’ll let you off. But now it is 2021. There are some exciting opportunities for you this year, so we’ve created a list of manuscript awards for you to enter. We’ll keep updating the list throughout the year, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to choose from. Time to get your story out there…

Book Links Award for Children’s Historical Fiction
The Book Links Award for Children’s Historical Fiction is for writers who have an outstanding published work of fiction that increases awareness and understanding of history in children – they specify for children of up to 14 years of age. Books written as part of a series or published in a series will be judged as separate entities, so your story will need to be able to ‘standalone’ as a complete work if submitted and not dependent on the other books of that series.
Closes: 28 February 2021
Entry fee: $25
Prize: $1000

Page Turner Awards
The Page Turner Awards for 2021 are now open for manuscript submissions and they have three new categories to enter. All Awards accept fiction and non-fiction in all genres. They have a wide range of literary agents and publishers judging this years’ entries to award writers with various prizes including audiobook productions, book trailers, podcast interviews and much more. Here are the categories for 2021:
Writing Award: for unpublished, completed manuscripts
Young Writer Award: for writers aged between 18 and 25
Writing Mentorship Award: for uncompleted manuscripts
Screenplay Award: for scriptwriters with a completed screenplay
Book Award: for authors with a published book, mainstream or independently published
Closes: Early bird deadline – 28 February 2021; Final deadline – 30 May 2021
Entry fee: Early bird – £20; March – May price – £30
Prize: Check out all of the possible prizes you could win here

2021 Unpublished Contest
The literary division of Pipeline Media Group presents the 2021 Book Pipeline: Unpublished competition.The Book Pipeline division, fashioned to connect writers with publishers, agents and film industry professionals, is inviting writers to submit the first 5000 words and full synopsis of their unpublished manuscripts. Competition winners will be drawn from each of the 6 categories: Young Adult, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Mystery/Thriller, Literary, Outsider/Experimental, and Non-fiction.
Closes: 5 March 2021
Entry fee: $35
Word limit: Submit only first 5,000 words only and full story synopsis
Prize: Winners from each category – $2500 plus immediate circulation to publishers, agents and editors, consideration from producers seeking projects for film adaptations, invitations to annual writer and industry events held by Pipeline Media Group

The Fogarty Literary Award
From 15 March 2021, the Fogarty Foundation and Fremantle Press invites Western Australian authors between 18 and 35 years old to submit their unpublished manuscripts for The Fogarty Literary Award. Manuscripts of adult fiction, non-fiction or young adult fiction are accepted for the chance to win a publishing contract with Fremantle Press and a decent cash prize.
Closes: 18 April 2021
Entry Fee: Free
Word limit: 50,000 -120,000 words
Prize: $20,000 and a publishing contract with Fremantle Press

The Valerie Parv Award
From 5 April 2021, romance writers can submit the first 10,000 words and synopsis of their unpublished manuscript for The Valerie Parv Award. Your work needs to be either a romance or romantic elements novel. The winner will be chosen by the popular Australian romance writer Valerie Parv.
Closes: 25 April 2020
Word limit: First 10,000 words (maximum) of your unpublished, novel-length (40K+) romance/romantic elements manuscript, plus a 1,000 word (maximum) synopsis
Entry fee: Romance Writers of Australia members $44; non-members $110
Prize: One year mentorship with Valerie Parv

The Text Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing
The Text Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing is now open for submissions. Text Publishing will award this annual prize to the most outstanding unpublished manuscript for children and young adult readers. Published and unpublished writers of all ages are invited to enter works of either fiction or non-fiction. 
Closes: 6 April 2021
Word limit: 20,000 and 100,000 words
Entry fee: $25
Prize: $10,000 and a contract to publish the winning book with Text Publishing

The Steph Bowe Mentorship for Young Writers
Held in the memory of writer Steph Bowe, the Steph Bowe Mentorship for Young Writers is an initiative designed to nurture and encourage an exciting new writer in Australian children’s literature under 25 years of age. Awarded to the Text Prize entrant the judging panel believes would receive the most benefit from the mentorship.
Closes: 6 April 2021
Entry fee: $25
Prize: The winner is paired with a middle grade or young adult author for a 20-hour mentorship over a period of 6–12 months. They also receive a 12-month membership with Express Media and complimentary issues of Voiceworks Magazine, as well as a 12-month membership to their state writers centre.

Island Nonfiction Prize
Island magazine and the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund have launched the Island Nonfiction Prize. Open for submissions, Island are looking for non-fiction stories that fascinate, excite or enrage. They encourage writers to investigate and experiment with their original written work to introduce them to new ideas, new worlds and new forms of expression. So just let your creativity run free.
Closes: 11 April 2021
Word limit: 4000 words
Entry fee: $16.50
Prize: $3000, published in Island issue 162, and receive a four-issue subscription to Island

Daisy Utemorrah Award
Open to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers of junior or young adult fiction living in Australia, to submit their unpublished manuscript. These entrants can be authors or any age – those writers under 18 years old need a letter of consent from a parent or guardian.
Closes: 30 April 2021
Entry fee: Free
Prize: $15,000 and a publishing contract with Magabala Books

2021 Queensland Literary Awards: Development awards and prizes
The Queensland Literary Awards aim to raise the profile of Queensland writers and outstanding stories written by Australians. As part of the Queensland Development Awards there are three awards and one fellowship to win: David Unaipon Award for an Emerging Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Writer, Glendower Award for an Emerging Queensland Writer, Queensland Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Awards, and the Queensland Writers Fellowships.
Closes: 30 April 2021
Word Limit: Entries should be between 40,000 and 100,000 words, with exceptions for fiction for children
Entry Fee: Free
Prize: David Unaipon Award  and Glendower Award –  $15,000, plus manuscript development and publication with UQP each; Queensland Premier’s Young Publishers and Writers Awards – two awards of $10,000, plus career development support to the value of $2,500 each; Queensland Writers Fellowships – three Fellowships of $15,000, plus career development support to the value of $4,500 each

2021 Queensland Literary Awards: Published book awards and prizes
The Queensland Published Book Awards are calling all Queensland writers who have published their book between 1 May 2020 and 30 April 2021 inclusive, and be first published and offered for general sale in Australia between 1 May 2020 and 30 April 2021 inclusive
Closes: 30 April 2021
Word Limit: Entries should be between 40,000 and 100,000 words, with exceptions for fiction for children
Entry Fee: $50
Prize: Queensland Premier's Award for a work of State Significance – $25,000; Queensland Literary Awards Fiction Book Award – $15,000;  Queensland Literary Awards Non-Fiction Book Award – $15,000; Griffith University Young Adult Book Award – $15,000; Griffith University Children’s Book Award – $15,000; University of Southern Queensland Steele Rudd Award for a Short Story Collection – $15,000; Judith Wright Calanthe Award for a Poetry Collection – $15,000; The Courier-Mail People’s Choice Queensland Book of the Year Award – $10,000

2021 Banjo Prize
HarperCollins Publishers Australia has announced that entries are now open for the 2021 Banjo Prize. Launched in 2018, each year HarperCollins opens this prize for submission in their search for Australia's next great storyteller.
Closes: 28 May 2021
Word limit: Submit full manuscript of adult commercial fiction, a 500-word synopsis and a 200-word biographical statement
Prize: A publishing contract including an advance against royalties of $15,000

The Australian/Vogel’s Literary Award 2022
One of Australia’s most prestigious awards for unpublished manuscripts by a writer under 35 years, The Australian/Vogel's Literary Award 2022 is open for submissions. Australian writers are encouraged to submit their polished, unpublished manuscript for the chance to win $20,000 plus publication with Allen & Unwin – amazing!
Closes: 31 May 2021
Word limit: 50,000 – 80,000 words
Entry fee: $25 per manuscript
Prize: $20,000 cash and publication with Allen & Unwin with an advance against royalties

Kate Challis RAKA Award
The RAKA, or Ruth Adeney Koori Award, is awarded to the best book of fiction published between 2016 – 2021 and written in English, by an Indigenous author. This award was established by art and cultural historian Professor Emeritus Bernard Smith because he believed in the restorative justice powers of the arts in all forms and wanted to celebrate Indigenous creative excellence. 
Closes: 14 June 2021
Word limit: Submit 5x copies of your book
Prize: $20,000

Victorian Community History Awards 2021
Australian writers and historians get your published non-fiction or creative non-fiction manuscripts in for the Victorian Community History Awards 2021. Subject matter is limited to history primarily related to the State of Victoria or projects that encourage greater access to Victorian collections, and completed between 1 July 2020 and 30 June 2021.
Closes: 7 July 2021
Word limit: Submit 50 word project summary and a separate explanation of the significance, value and accessibility of the work up to a maximum of 300 words.
Prize: Victorian Premier's History Award $5000; Collaborative Community History Award $2000; Local History Project Award $2000; History Publication Award $2000; Local History – Small Publication Award $1500; Community Diversity Award $1500; Digital Storytelling Award $1500; Historical Interpretation Award $1500; Oral History Award presented in collaboration with Oral History Victoria $1500; History Article Award $500

2021 Richell Prize for Emerging Writers
In partnership with the Emerging Writers’ Festival, Hachette Australia and the Richell family have launched the 2021 Richell Prize for Emerging Writers. This prize is an important industry opportunity for emerging writers, offering one winner an invaluable 12-month mentorship to assist them on their path to publication. The submissions will be judged on the writing and originality of the story, the synopsis, and the pitch (how winning the Prize will help you further your writing career).
Closes: 9 July 2021 
Word limit: The first three chapters max. 20,000 words; one-page synopsis; a chapter breakdown of the rest of the work, no more than two A4 pages long.
Prize: 12-month mentorship with Hachette Australia

The Watson, Little Prize
In celebration of the agency’s 50th anniversary, Watson, Little Ltd is delighted to announce the launch of the Watson, Little Prize. It is dedicated to writers over fifty years of age. It aims to encourage those from older generations, from all backgrounds and from all nations and cultures, to apply.  The 2021 prize will focus on upmarket fiction, with future editions of the prize likely to focus on different genres.
Closes: 30 July 2021
Word limit: 500 word plot outline and 5,000 words from the unpublished novel
Prize: Personalised mentorship

Children’s Peace Literature Award 2021
The Australian Psychological Society Ltd. have opened their biennial Children’s Peace Literature Award 2021. The judges are looking for books for children (up to 18 years of age) that encourage the peaceful resolution of conflict or promote peace by Australian authors. Manuscripts must have been published between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2021 to be eligible for this award.
Closes: 31 July 2021
Entry fee: $15 per manuscript
Prize: $3000

Peter Blazey Fellowship
The Peter Blazey Fellowship, supported by the University of Melbourne Faculty of Arts, is now open for applications. This annual Fellowship is awarded to writers in the non-fiction fields of biography, autobiography and life writing and is intended to advance a work in progress.
Closes: 2 August 2021
Word limit: 5000 words
Prize: $15,000

Helen Anne Bell Poetry Bequest Award
The Department of English at the University of Sydney invites women poets to submit their collection of poems to Australia's richest poetry prize, the Helen Anne Bell Poetry Bequest Award. The winning manuscript will be published by Vagabond Press.
Closes: 20 August 2021
Word limit: 50-80 pages
Entry fee: Free

Prize: $40,000 and published by Vagabond Press

The 2021 Speculate Prize
RMIT has launched an inaugural Speculate Fiction prize aimed at writers who explore the expansive possibilities of literature: those who imagine other worlds-other realities-that may even exist within our own. 
Closes: 1 September 2021
Word limit: 100,000 words
Prize: $5000 prize money, a mentorship from Giramondo Publishing and a week-long residency at RMIT's McCraith House on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria

The ASA/HQ Commercial Fiction Prize
The Australian Society of Authors and HQ, a division of HarperCollins, have opened the biennial ASA/HQ Commercial Fiction Prize for manuscript entries. The Prize judges are seeking the best of commercial fiction: vibrant writing that entertains, enlightens, and provokes lively water-cooler conversations.
Closes: 1 November 2021
Word limit: 140,000 words 
Entry fee: ASA Member – First submission FREE; ASA Member – Subsequent submissions $25; Non-Member submission fee – $65
Prize: Winner – publishing contract with HQ, with a $10,000 advance against royalties; Runner-up –  $500 and a year’s membership with the ASA

The Dorothy Hewett Award for an Unpublished Manuscript
UWA Publishing, with the support of the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, presents The Dorothy Hewett Award. Open to all writers who have completed a manuscript and are seeking publication. This award is inclusive of fiction, narrative nonfiction poetry and hybrid genres such as verse novels or memoir. 
Closes: 30 November 2021
Entry fee: $20
Prize: $10,000 and will be offered a publishing contract by UWA Publishing

Hawkeye Publishing Manuscript Development Prize 2022
Hawkeye Publishing has announced their Manuscript Writing Competition is open for submissions. The winner will receive a prize that aims to guide the author to publishing success including coaching and editing by Hawkeye Publishing.
Closes: 17 December 2021
Word limit: 80,000 words
Entry fee: $45
Prize: Author Coaching, Structural Edit and Line Edit

If you think that dusty manuscript may need a little more TLC before you enter any manuscript awards, then you may need our Write Your Novel program. Through our 6 or 12-month program, you will have the opportunity to workshop your entire manuscript to whip it into shape plus receive professional feedback from an industry guru on your story.

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How to submit your book for awards

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How to submit your book for awards

Australian Writers' Centre Team

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Can a self

Yes, a self-published author can win awards, it just depends on the writing contest, the judges, and of course, your writing. While entering a writing contest does not guarantee a writing award, by default, the more writing contests you enter, the higher your chances are of winning.

How are books selected for awards?

A panel of judges selects a Longlist of ten titles per category, which is then narrowed to five Finalists, and a Winner is announced at the Awards Ceremony in the fall.

Do authors get awards?

Book awards are not only a wonderful honor for an author (and publisher!), but for self-published and traditionally published books alike, they can also can stir up media attention, tap into new audiences, support promotional efforts, and boost sales.

Can a self

No self-published author has yet been awarded any of the big three – the Pulitzer, the Man Booker or the Nobel Prize for Literature, although one did come close. (Read Jill Paton Walsh's account of being shortlisted here.)