Emerging Queensland Writer - Manuscript Award

This award is open to all unpublished Queensland writers, and is designed to foster emerging local voices and open up exciting career pathways for new writing talent in Queensland.

The winner receives prize money and a publishing contract with the category sponsor, University of Queensland Press.

Previous winners of this award include Karen Foxlee, Patrick Holland and Steven Lang, all of whom have gone on to enjoy successful and wide-ranging literary careers.

Can I enter?

If you’d like to enter the Emerging Queensland Writer – Manuscript Award, you’ll need to be:

  • a Queensland resident (for at least three years prior to the award closing date)
  • an Australian citizen or permanent resident of Australia (for a minimum of three years prior to the award closing date)
  • over 18 years of age (or provide a consent form from a parent or guardian)
  • living at the time of the award closing date
  • unpublished—this is defined as a writer who has not had any significant work (book, published script/play, collection of poetry or short stories) commercially published by a trade publisher or other conventional publisher, does not have an existing binding publishing contract or is not in current contractual negotiations.

Please note that if you have previously self-published a full-length work with an ISBN, you are ineligible to enter.

If you have any questions at all about your eligibility, please get in touch by phoning 07 3842 9486 or send an email to qla@slq.qld.gov.au. We can help with any questions you may have.

What sort of manuscript can I submit?

Your manuscript must be:

  • an original work
  • an unpublished work
  • a complete work of more than 5,000 words (entries of between 40,000 and 100,000 words are recommended).

Your entry can be a novel or novella, a collection of short stories or a work of non-fiction, and it can be aimed at children or adults.

If you’ve previously submitted a manuscript to this award, you may re-enter the same manuscript.

How do I enter?

You can enter during the nomination period from April to May each year.

During the nomination period, you can find the full entry requirements and step-by-step instructions on how to submit your nomination in the Guidelines, Terms and Conditions and FAQS.

During the nomination period, you can find the Guidelines and the  Emerging Queensland Writer Award nomination form will be available.

Where can I get feedback on my writing?

Queensland Writers Centre (QWC) is an excellent source of information, advice and support for writers at any stage of their career. As the state’s leading support and resource centre for writing and writers, QWC offers a range of comprehensive online and in-person services, including a year-round program of events, workshops and seminars, with discounted rates for QWC members. Find out more about QWC or contact it directly at 07 3842 9922 or admin@qldwriters.org.au.

How do I write a synopsis or summary?

A synopsis should summarise your novel and give an overview of your main character/s, the central conflict they face over the course of your narrative and how that conflict is resolved (yes, that means revealing your ending!). Here are some tips to make your synopsis stand out:

  • Keep it brief – around one single-spaced A4 page or 500–600 words.
  • Emphasise what’s fresh or original about your story – what sets it apart from other novels in the same genre?
  • Give readers enough detail to intrigue them and leave them wanting more (that is, to read the book!)
  • Focus on style as well as content – the synopsis is your chance to show how you write as well as what you’re writing about. Aim for active voice, third person (even if your novel is first person) and present tense.
  • Remember to capture your characters’ feelings and emotions as well as describing your plot – this will help make your synopsis a compelling read.
  • Your synopsis needs to be short, so you won’t have time to delve into every subplot or narrative detail. If it doesn’t directly affect the story’s outcome, don’t include it.

How should I format my manuscript?

There’s no set way to format your manuscript, but it’s generally best to use a clear, legible font such as Times New Roman or Arial (size 12) and to double space your lines.

You should also make sure you include the manuscript title and word count and your name and contact details.

Can I enter if my manuscript isn’t finished yet?

Yes. However, for your best chance of success in the award, the manuscript you enter – whether it’s finished or unfinished – should be as polished as it can be, so it’s strongly recommended that you self-edit and proofread your work before you submit.

If you have any questions at all about how to enter, please get in touch by phoning 07 3842 9486 or send an email to qla@slq.qld.gov.au. We can help with any questions you may have.