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The Richell Prize for Emerging Writers 2023

This is the ninth year of the prestigious Richell Prize with entries open to unpublished writers of adult fiction and adult narrative non-fiction. Writers do not need to have a full manuscript at the time of submission, though they must intend to complete one. The Prize will be judged on the first three chapters of the submitted work, along with a synopsis outlining the direction of the proposed work and detail about how the author’s writing career would benefit from winning the Prize.

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.

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).

Hachette Australia and Hannah Richell would like to thank the Emerging Writers’ Festival for partnering with them to make this Prize a reality and thank Simpsons Solicitors for assisting them financially with the administration of the Prize.

The Richell Prize was established in memory of Hachette Australia’s CEO, Matt Richell, who passed away in 2014. This Prize brings together a group of people who know the huge amount of support that Matt Richell dedicated to emerging writers. Without the writers, there would be no Prize – so be brave and submit your work.

How Will the Prize Be Judged?

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

Please read the Terms and Conditions carefully to make sure your work is eligible.

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 and eventually see the winning work on bookshelves under the Hachette Australia imprint.


The Richell Prize is open to any Australian Citizen or resident aged 18 or older who has not had their work published by a commercial publishing house. Works of adult fiction or adult narrative non-fiction are accepted (poetry, plays, picture books, practical non-fiction or works for children are not eligible).

There is a limit of one entry per person. All entries will be judged anonymously, so please do not include your name anywhere in the submitted manuscript file (including the file name) or as a result, your entry will be deemed ineligible.

Please read the Terms & Conditions and FAQs (in PDF and DOCX format) for full eligibility requirements and submission guidelines.


Prize opens: 13 April 2023
Prize closes: 7 July 2023
Longlist announced: 4 September 2023
Shortlist announced: 10 October 2023
Winner announced: 2 November 2023


Winning Entry: $10,000 and a 12-month mentorship with Hachette Australia

Entries must be saved as a single PDF, comprised of the following:

  • The first three chapters of the work with a maximum word length of 20,000 words;
  • A one-page synopsis;
  • A chapter breakdown of the rest of the work, no more than two A4 pages long;

You will also need to write a statement up to 750 words about how winning the prize will further your writing career, to be entered in the online form at the time of submission.


Check out our FAQS (in PDF or DOCX format).

This program is proudly supported by: