Newcastle Writers Festival launches $5000 prize for an emerging writer

Entries for the fresh Ink Emerging Writers Prize are now closed.

Newcastle Writers Festival has launched the Fresh Ink Emerging Writers Prize for those living in regional New South Wales. The $5000 prize money has been provided by leading Newcastle wine label Elephant in the Room and will enable the winner to undertake a self-directed 12-month program of professional development. This could include a residency, manuscript assessment, mentor, and attendance at literary festivals. 

The prize follows the successful inaugural Fresh Ink Emerging Writers Program, which was held in April in collaboration with Newcastle Libraries. Both opportunities are also supported by Create NSW.  

Newcastle Writers Festival director Rosemarie Milsom said the impact of COVID-19 on the literary community has led to the extra support for emerging writers, especially those in regional areas. “We need people to continue writing, especially in the early stages when it can be particularly challenging,” she said. “The festival has always had a role to play by providing opportunities for regional writers and the prize cements this.”

The prize will be judged by three leading writers: Sunil Badami is a Sydney-based writer, performer, broadcaster, academic and storyteller; Ivy Ireland an award-winning Hunter region poet who has written three collections; Inga Simpson is an award-winning nature writer and novelist who lives on the NSW south coast.

Milsom welcomed the “essential” support of Newcastle business Fourth Wave Wine via its popular Elephant in the Room label. “Frances and Nicholas Crampton have been long-time festival sponsors and when I spoke to them about the proposal for the prize, they didn’t hesitate,” said Milsom. “They are as committed as we are to shining a spotlight on new literary voices.”

Prize Details

The prize opens for submissions on June 14, 2021. Writers living outside the Sydney metropolitan area, which includes western Sydney, can apply. There is no upper age limit and applicants can provide a writing sample of up to 3000 words in fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. An ‘emerging writer’ is defined by the festival as someone who has not previously published, or has a contract for, a full-length work with a commercial publishing house.

A shortlist of four will be announced at the festival’s 2021 program launch on August 12. The winner will be announced at a special event at the 2021 Newcastle Writers Festival on September 25.

Important Dates:

  • Open for submission from Monday, June 14
    via https://freshinkprize.submittable.com/submit
  • Entries are now closed – Deadline for entries was July 27
  • A shortlist of four will be announced on August 26, not August 12 as the prize was extended by a week
  • The winner will be announced on September 25

For enquiries about the prize please email coordinator Bastian Fox Phelan freshinkprize@newcastlewritersfestival.org.au

Download Terms & Conditions

Prize Sponsors

Judges // Fresh Ink Emerging Writers Prize

Sunil Badami

Sunil is a Sydney-based writer, performer, broadcaster, academic and storyteller.

Ivy Ireland

Ivy is an award-winning Hunter region poet who has written three collections.

Inga Simpson

Inga is an award-winning nature writer and novelist who lives on the NSW south coast.