The Banjo Prize 2022 is now open for submissions

The Banjo Prize 2022 is currently open for submissions for novel-length manuscripts. Run by major publisher HarperCollins, and now in its fifth year, the prestigious prize is looking for Australia’s next great storyteller.

“We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into,” the publisher says on its website about the experience of running the prize. “But after four years and numerous marathon reading and judging sessions (fuelled by equally numerous cups of tea and home-baked treats), we are so happy – we’ve succeeded beyond our wildest dreams. In those four years we have found four outstanding writers who have won The Banjo Prize and had their wonderful book published by us.”

The Torrent by Dinuka McKenzieOf those four outstanding writers, two are AWC alumni!

Dinuka McKenzie won the prize in 2020 with her gripping contemporary crime novel, The Torrent (originally titled Flood Debris). As part of the prize, Dinuka won a publishing contract with HarperCollins and a $15,000 advance. Dinuka has done several courses at AWC, including Anatomy of a Crime: How to Write About Murder. Her book was published in February 2022.

Another AWC alumna took the prize in 2021 – Veronica Lando won for her “astonishingly assured mystery” novel, The Whispering, released in July 2022. Veronica has completed our core fiction writing courses Creative Writing Stage 1 and Novel Writing Essentials (among others) and she credits these as the kickstart she needed to pursue her manuscript.

Among The Banjo Prize shortlistees over the past four years, we have seen many names familiar in the AWC community, including Karli Florisson, Megan Albany, Rachael Keene and Michelle Upton.

So are you ready to dust off your manuscript and possibly secure an amazing publishing opportunity for yourself? As the HarperCollins site says, you’ve nothing to lose – and everything to gain!

“It’s worth a shot. You have nothing to lose. Even if you don’t end up winning or getting shortlisted, you’re having your work read by publishers … there might be pay off down the track, you never know. And most importantly, you’ve said to yourself, yes, my work is good enough. It’s worth it. You’ve followed your dreams, you’ve taken the chance, you’ve put yourself out there. Good on you. So, come on. Take the chance. Enter The Banjo Prize this year. We can’t wait to read what you’ve written.”

Entries close at 5pm AEST on Friday 27 May 2022. The shortlist will be announced on 6 September 2022 and the winners will be announced on 27 September 2022.

For more details – and to enter! – check out the Banjo Prize page on the HarperCollins website.

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