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The Richell Prize for Emerging Writers 2024

This is the tenth year of the prestigious Richell Prize with entries open to unpublished writers of adult fiction and adult narrative non-fiction.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.



Am I eligible to enter if I have previously published…[insert thing here] 

At its core, the Richell Prize is for unpublished writers; and by unpublished writers we mean writers who have not had any work published by a commercial publishing house (this includes small press and independent publishers).  

Publication in the form of an anthology in which you are a contributor, scholarly reference book, textbook, literary journal, a work that is a part of a Writing PHD or self-publishing venture does not exclude you from entering the Richell Prize.

Am I eligible to enter if I am an Australia citizen or resident currently residing overseas? 

No. To be eligible, you must reside in Australia to participate in the 12-month mentorship that forms an essential (and we think particularly exciting!) part of the prize. 

This includes Australian citizens, permanent residents, and those on long-term visas including study or work 

What forms/genres of writing are eligible for entry to the Richell Prize this year? 

There are no specific genre restrictions for this prize so long as your submission is either adult fiction (inclusive of short story collections) or adult narrative non-fiction* (inclusive of memoir, essay collections).  
Forms of writing that are not eligible for this prize include: poetry/poetry collections, script books, plays, picture books, practical non-fiction works, works for children and young adults. 

We consider a work for young adults if the target reader audience for the work is from the ages of 12- 19. You may submit work in which your protagonists are of this age group if the work itself is intended for an adult audience- and therefore not YA.  

*Using your first name in the context of memoir and/or narrative non fiction work is allowed. If you are concerned with being identifiable, you are also welcome to use a pseudonym for the sake of the entry.  

I have submitted something to the Richell Prize before, am I still eligible? 

We encourage you to submit again! However, you must not make an identical submission. If the submission contains material from a previous entry in the Richell Prize, it must be significantly reworked for inclusion in this year’s Prize. 


How do I format my submission so it is eligible? 

Our formatting requirements are quite strict, please ensure that you follow the information in the Terms and Conditions (and also below) to a T to ensure your submissions eligibility.  

To ensure your entry is considered for the Richell prize your submission must: 

  • Be submitted as a single PDF document. This means your writing sample followed by synopsis and chapter breakdown should all be one PDF document together with the below specifications; 
  • an A4, double-spaced in 12pt Roman font (e.g. Garamond or Times New Roman) page with 3 cm margins and page numbers. NOTE: your synopsis and chapter breakdown can be single spaces if desired.  
  • The file name must be your manuscripts title.  

My book has an introduction or prologue. Should I treat that as a chapter when submitting the first three chapters? 

You may include your introduction or prologue in addition to the first three chapters, as long as the total word count does not exceed 20,000 words in length. 

Do I have to submit the first three chapters of my work or can I submit any three chapters?  

The portion of your work you submit must be the first three chapters or equivalent under 20,000 words.  

Can I submit more than the first three chapters if my three chapters are under the 20,000 word count/are really short?  

The aim of the sample chapters is to give the judges a sense of your writing style and voice, so if you feel you need to submit more than the first three chapters to do this that is completely fine, as long as the whole submission is under 20,000 words. Do not feel as though you have to submit the total 20,000 words though – sometimes less can be more! 

Am I able to submit all three of my first three chapters even if they are over 20,000 words?  

No. 20,000 words is a very strict word limit – if you go over this word limit, your entry will be considered ineligible. 

What is the difference between a synopsis and a chapter breakdown? What if my manuscript isn’t finished and I don’t have a concrete synopsis/chapter breakdown to submit? 

For the purposes of this prize, your synopsis is your overall overview of the work and the chapter breakdown is a more concrete plan of how the manuscript will unfold. 

 The judges use the chapter plan and synopsis to determine how the rest of the work unfolds beyond the 3 chapters provided so providing as much detail as possible is recommended even if the work is not finished.  

The synopsis may include plot info but is also a chance for you to describe the writing style and the intended audience for the work. Think of it as the summary that might be included on the back cover. 

The chapter breakdown is intended to follow the example chapters – it’s a way for the judges to get a sense of the direction and pacing of the work, following the initial 20,000 words. If your work doesn’t follow traditional chapters, that’s fine – you can write the chapter breakdown in a way that best serves your manuscript. It’s intended to be brief (so dot points are fine).

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


Prize opens: 22 April 2024
Prize closes: 11:59PM (AEST), 7 July 2024
Longlist announced: 8 September 2024
Shortlist announced: 17 October 2024
Winner announced: 28 November 2024


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.


If your question isn’t addressed FAQs on this page, see the Terms & Conditions below.

Check out our T&Cs (in PDF or DOCX format).

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