Hachette Australia, along with the Richell family, is honoured to launch the Richell Prize for Emerging Writers for 2021, in partnership with the Emerging Writers’ Festival.


Now in its seventh year, the Richell Prize is again open to unpublished writers of adult fiction and adult narrative non-fiction.

To date, Hachette Australia has published or contracted eight 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), Zoe Ghani (2018 shortlist) and Allee Richards (2019 shortlist).

‘The Richell Prize was developed seven years ago in memory of Matt Richell’s life and his great love of literature. It was designed with the sole purpose of helping an undiscovered writer with talent and ambition to tell a story. As a writer myself, I know how baffling the route to publication can sometimes seem, so if you’re working on something right now, have the drive to finish your manuscript and feel ready to share those first chapters with our panel, please do submit your work. We are actively looking for new Australian writers and want to set you on your path to a successful writing career.’– Hannah Richell, bestselling author of Secrets of the Tides, The Shadow Year, The Peacock Summer and The River Home.

‘The Richell Prize is an important industry opportunity for emerging writers, and EWF is thrilled to be partnering with Hachette Australia once again. We’re so proud to be able to offer writers this invaluable mentorship and assist them on the path to publication. EWF can’t wait to see the gems this year’s prize unearths.’ – Ruby-Rose Pivet-Marsh, Artistic Director of the Emerging Writers’ Festival

Writers do not need to have a full manuscript at the time of submission, though they must intend to complete one. The winner will receive $10,000 in prize money from 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, and has first option to consider the finished work, and the shortlisted entries, for publication.

‘Every year, I am impressed by the talent unearthed by the Richell Prize. We are very proud to give an opportunity for emerging writers to connect with a publisher and progress their work. This year, I would like to especially encourage non-fiction writers to back themselves and enter the prize.’ – Fiona Hazard, Hachette Australia Group Publishing Director

‘Putting your writing out there always feels incredibly vulnerable and I think it’s common for writers to be plagued by self-doubt. I constantly second guessed myself before submitting my manuscript, doubting that I’d be in with a chance. But my whole 2020 Richell experience – from making the longlist to winning the award – was extremely affirming and supportive. More than anything, winning the prize has given me a level of confidence in my writing that I’ve never felt before. The Richell Prize is a wonderful opportunity to have your work read by top people in the industry and an entry point to further developing your writing. I’d highly recommend to every emerging writer to take a chance and enter the competition.’ – Aisling Smith, 2020 Richell Prize-winning author of Petrichor

‘When I started working on my novel, I had no idea if my manuscript had any potential. Being shortlisted for the Richell Prize gave me the confidence to finish the manuscript and introduced me to a team of people who genuinely care about my writing and my career.’ – Allee Richards, 2019 Richell Prize-shortlisted author of Small Joys of Real Life, publishing August 2021

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.

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.

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

The Emerging Writers’ Festival would also like to thank Simpsons Solicitors for assisting them financially with the administration of the Prize.

This Prize brings together a group of people who know the huge amount support that Matt Richell dedicated to emerging writers. Without the writers, there would be no Prize – so be brave and submit your work.


Prize opens: 19/4/21
Prize closes: 9/7/21
Longlist announced:  3/9/21
Shortlist announced: 8/10/21
Winner announced: 4/11/21