The Richell Prize for Emerging Writers

The Richell Prize for Emerging Writers

Presented by Hachette Australia, The Guardian Australia and The Emerging Writers’ Festival

Congratulations to the 2019 winner, Else Fitzgerald!

On Friday 8 November, Else Fitzgerald was named as the 2019 winner of the Richell Prize for Emerging Writers in a ceremony held at Hachette Australia offices in Sydney. Of the win, Else said, ““The timing is amazing for me because I’ve just come off the back of 18 months of working all of these different jobs, sometimes five or six at a time.”

Read more about Else, her work and inspirations in The Guardian. 

About the Richell Prize for Emerging Writers

Hachette Australia, along with the Richell family, is honoured to launch the Richell Prize for Emerging Writers for 2019, in partnership with The Guardian Australia and The Emerging Writers’ Festival.

The Prize is once again open to unpublished writers of adult fiction and adult narrative non-fiction.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.

‘2019 marks the fifth year of the Richell Prize. Since its inception, the Prize has unearthed a wonderful array of new writers. To date five of our winners and shortlisted entrants have gone on to secure book deals. It’s thrilling to see Matt’s legacy supporting emerging writers and launching new creative careers. All of us involved in the Prize are invested in uncovering the very best new writing talent and are excited to see what this year brings. I urge you, if you’re thinking of entering, please do. We can’t wait to read your work.’ Hannah Richell, bestselling author of Secrets of the Tides, The Shadow Year and The Peacock Summer.

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.

As well as promoting the Prize, The Guardian Australia will publish an extract of the first chapter of the winning work and a profile on the winning writer. The Prize will also be supported by Simpsons Solicitors and Joy.

The Prize, which is awarded annually, is in memory of Hachette Australia’s former CEO Matt Richell, who died suddenly in July 2014.

How Will the Prize be Judged?

The 2019 judging panel includes Robert Watkins, Head of Literary at Hachette Australia; Hannah Richell, bestselling author; Sarah Schmidt, bestselling author of See What I Have Done; and a bookseller.

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.
  • 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.

Thank You

Hachette Australia and Hannah Richell would like to thank The Emerging Writers’ Festival and The Guardian Australia 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 what a huge supporter of emerging writers Matt Richell was. Without the writers there would be no Prize – so be brave and submit your work.



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. Click here to read the submission guidelines.

Still got questions? Check out our FAQs here.


Opening date for entries: Friday 5 April

Closing date for entries: 11:59pm AEST Monday 8 July

Longlist announced: Monday 9 September

Shortlist announced: Monday 7 October

Winner announced: Friday 8 November


Any Australian resident aged 18 or older who has not had their work published by a commercial publishing house. Please read the Terms & Conditions for full eligibility requirements and submission guidelines.

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.

Click here to enter