2019 Richell Prize Shortlist Announced

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

“Five years ago, Hachette Australia launched the Richell Prize in memory of our friend and colleague Matt Richell.  Since then, we’ve received an astonishing 3300 submissions from all over the country, making the Richell Prize one of the most sought-after prizes for unpublished writers. By the middle of 2020, Hachette will have published books from six winning or shortlisted writers: Sally Abbott, Brodie Lancaster, Julie Keys, Mandy Beaumont, Sam Coley and Ruth McIver. Everyone at Hachette is thrilled that the Richell Prize has unearthed such great writing talent and has contributed to the rude health of Australian publishing.” – Louise Sherwin-Stark, CEO Hachette Australia and New Zealand

“Matt Richell was a huge supporter of emerging writers and I know he would have been delighted by the depth of incredible Australian writing talent that the prize has discovered. Thank you to all the writers from around Australia who have stepped boldly, submitted their work, and made the prize what it is today. Here’s to many, many more exciting books from Richell prize entrants!” – Fiona Hazard, Group Publishing Director Hachette Australia and New Zealand

After receiving over 700 entries to the 2019 Richell Prize, we are excited to announce the six writers on this year’s shortlist.

The 2019 shortlisted writers are:

Ayla Black, The Earth Starts Talking
Judges’ comments:
Crime looms large in a small Australian town ravaged by race and gender politics. THE EARTH STARTS TALKING showcases an author with a voice that we felt should be heard.

Sara El Sayed, The Blind Pussy Cat
Judges’ comments:
THE BLIND PUSSY CAT is brave, emerging Australian literature with a new voice that is energetic and highly engaging.

Else Fitzgerald, Nearly Curtains
Judges’ comments:
NEARLY CURTAINS is a firework show of bursting ideas. Filled with beautiful prose, here is an emerging writer tackling important questions about our future.

Heather James, The Inlet
Judges’ comments:
THE INLET is an absorbing, deftly written psychological drama that promised to lead us through the unreliable corridors of an elderly woman’s mind and memories, and delivers a killer twist.

Allee Richards, In Real Life
Judges’ comments:
IN REAL LIFE exudes freshness and authenticity; it reads as something utterly of the moment. Richards’ writing is punchy and will appeal to readers everywhere.

Yannick Thoraval, White Foam
Judges’ comments:
WHITE FOAM is an assured and polished manuscript with vivid scenes that had our hearts beating a little faster; an impressive piece of literary fiction.

The winner will receive $10,000 in prize money, to be donated by Hachette Australia, along with a 12-month mentorship 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 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 winner will be announced in Sydney on November 8.

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

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 congratulations to everyone on the shortlist.