Almost as important for emerging writers as the unpublished manuscript awards, about which I wrote recently, are the awards devoted to new, mostly defined as debut, writers. That is, these awards are for writers lucky enough to have been published – and who knows, some may have won an unpublished manuscript award to get published – but are just starting their careers, and may not be quite as polished as the Tim Wintons and Kate Grenvilles of the world. New writer awards must surely help get them and their books noticed.
These awards too can vary in their intentions and therefore their eligibility rules. Here are the main ones I found:
- Dobbie Award: Established in 1994. Awarded to a first published fiction or non-fiction work by a female writer that can be described as ‘life writing’. Offers $5,000. Recent winners include works which went on to be shortlisted for the other awards such as Favel Parret’s Past the shallows, and Deborah Forster’s The book of Emmett. Tara June Winch, who’d won the David Unaipon unpublished manuscript award went on to win this award with the published version, Swallow the air.
- FAW Anne Elder Award for first book of poetry: Awarded to a first book of poetry of at least 20 pages, not previously published locally or overseas, and containing contributions from between 1 and 4 poets. Offers $1,000. (National and state Fellowship of Australian Writers groups support a large number of awards in a wide variety of forms and genres, and with all sorts of eligibility conditions. I’ve listed this one as an example.)
- New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing: Established in 2005. Awarded to a book of fiction by an author who has not previously published a booklength work of fiction. Offers $5,000. Tara June Winch also won this with Swallow the air, as did Andrew Coome’s Document Z (my review) and Michael Sala’s The last thread (my review).
- Readings New Australian Writing Award: Established in 2014 by the Readings independent bookshop in Melbourne. Awarded to a the first or second published work of fiction by an Australian author. Offers $4,000.
There aren’t so many of these which is probably not surprising. I’d be interested to hear, though, of any others that you know are currently being offered/awarded.