Always the reader, never the author?

If you are one of the many bibliophiles who has penned your own manuscript but despaired of ever seeing it in print, there’s no time like the present to try! Writing Australia, the new national body committed to promoting writing and literature around the country, have announced the launch of their Unpublished Manuscript Award which comes with a whopping $10,000 for you and another $2,000 allocated for you to spend on guidance from a writing mentor of your choice.

The award is intended to aid in the development of an unpublished manuscript and is the brainchild of new national literature organisation, Writing Australia. Writing Australia is a new body, formed in January 2011 from the Writers’ Centres in SA, TAS, NSW, VIC and the ACT, with the aim of taking the best programs of each of the five state writers’ centres across state borders to benefit writers throughout Australia. One of its first projects is to take a number of established writers out on the road to give workshops on a variety of elements of writing craft, and it also expects to launch a biennial national writers’ gathering and a writers’ residency network in the near future, as well as providing business advice and online workshops.

One of their first acts is to launch the Unpublished Manuscript Award, which will see the winner walk away with $10,000 plus a $2,000 mentorship. The mentors available are

  • Valerie Parv, best-selling romance and nonfiction author whose books have sold over twenty-six million copies internationally. Her recent work includes Heart & Craft, a ‘how-to’ book on romance writing.
  • Mark Macleod, Senior Lecturer in English at Charles Sturt University, and former Children’s Publishing Director at Random House Australia. He has won the CBCA Lady Cutler Award and the Australian Publishers Association Pixie O’Harris Award for distinguished services to children’s literature.
  • Peter Bishop, Creative Director of Varuna (the Writers’ House in the Blue Mountains) from 1994 to 2010 where countless Australian novels, memoirs, and books of poetry or short stories were refined. Peter is an advocate for national writing and, through the LongLines program, has regularly travelled around Australia talking to writers.

The award is for an unpublished work of adult literary or genre fiction and is open to any writer in Australia. You have until Thursday 13 October 2011 to enter via the online entry form on Writing Australia’s website.

Worried your writing isn’t up to scratch yet or needs a stern lookover before you submit? Beth Lewis at “Have Pen – Will Edit” may be able to help. She has – very generously and somewhat insanely – offered to give aspiring authors an honest, affordable, and informed critique for free. Beth has worked in the publishing industry as an editor and publisher for three years and has 1st class degree in Publishing for Oxford Brookes University, and is looking to gain a higher industry profile and more specific editorial experience.  She works on both fiction and non-fiction and can turn her hand (should that be pen?) to everything from commissioning to art direction, product release and marketing. You can see more on her generous (and insane, did I mention the insane) offer here at her blog. She has not said how long she is willing to do this for but – as she is likely to be inundated by hopeful writers – so first in, best dressed!

If you had something shorter in mind, the Age Short Story Competition is accepting entries for short stories of up to 3,000 words. There are monetary awards as well as the pride of seeing your work published in Life and Style magazine and at www.theage.com.au; $3000 for the first prize winner (and at a buck a word, that’s a rate that many freelance writers will envy I can tell you) ; 2nd prize, $2000; 3rd prize, $1000. Winners will be announced in December. For submission guidelines and more details, check here. (Stories for children are not eligible for this competition.)

The closing date is on September 23 and they specify entry closes at 5pm sharp. As someone who has raced a deadline to submit articles at 11:59:59pm way too many times on exactly on the day it was due, this amuses me. The phrase “as punctual as a writer” has not yet entered common use, and with good reason. But with all these deadlines coming up, maybe it’s time to push your pen into a higher gear and go all out?

The clock is ticking – get submitting!

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Sadhbh Warren

Sadhbh Warren is a freelance writer and proud booklover. Her name is pronounced Sive - like five – an Irish name, easier to say than spell! She lives in Sydney, writing travel and humour articles, and is always on the lookout for a great new book.