We are delighted to announce the 2016 Richell Prize for Emerging Writers shortlist, and we are so thrilled by the range of talent that it encompasses. A huge congratulations to Andrea Baldwin, Emma Doolan, Susie Greenhill, Sophie Everett and Susie Thatcher. There were 430 entries to the Prize, and to stand out as the authors of the five very best entries is no small feat.
Represented within this list is an intergenerational story of a family’s attempt to save the loggerhead turtle from extinction [Andrea Baldwin, The Illusion of Islands], a psychological thriller and Gothic tale of surveillance, obsession, guilt, and identity [Emma Doolan, Dark Tides], an ecological love story about extinction, grief and interconnection [Susie Greenhill, The Clinking], a story about family secrets, art and loneliness where nothing is exactly as it appears [Sophie Overett, The Rabbits], and a literary mystery that examines the fate of a missing family [Susie Thatcher, Gardens of Stone].
The entries were judged blind, and we’re thrilled to see the great range in the ages of the shortlisted writers – with almost 25 years separating the oldest from the youngest – proving once again that writers can emerge at any age.
We’ve asked each of the shortlisted writers to tell us who they are, and what winning the Richell Prize would mean to them.
“While I have attained a PhD in Creative Writing, have published some short pieces, and have been long-listed in several international competitions for flash fiction, short stories and novels, I am – in turtle terms – not so much emerging, as still buried in the nest. The Richell Prize offers a rare and precious opportunity for an emerging writer to access professional mentorship and other development opportunities. Winning this prize would help me develop my writing skills and practice, and communicate with readers in satisfying, beautiful and important ways.”
“When writing a novel I sometimes find it hard to cultivate momentum without the gratification that publication of, for example, a short story can provide. Although I’m part of a supportive and useful writers’ group, time constraints and workload can make it challenging to get advice and feedback on long-form works. The twelve-month mentorship with a Hachette publisher would be invaluable in this regard, providing both ongoing encouragement, and insight into the development of the work.”
“I’m the mother of a young child, so time for writing is precious. I wrote my Phd on strips of bark and scraps of paper while my daughter slept. This prize would give me the financial support to focus on writing for a time, it would give me guidance where it is much needed and the confidence to keep going in the face of never-ending anxiety and doubt. Mostly the prize would help me tell a story that I believe it is incredibly important to tell – a story that has already firmly entwined itself around my heart.”
“Winning The Richell Prize would be invaluable for me at this point in my career. I have developed a strong writer’s toolkit in story construction, character, theme and editing, but I’m ready to move forward with my creative practice and professionalism. Working with an editor and/or publisher at Hachette Australia would shape the course of my career and help me to hone my work to a publishable standard. The money associated with the prize would also allow me valuable writing time to really put those lessons into action.”
“Working with Hachette mentors to improve my manuscript and drill down to the most compelling telling of this story, would propel my writing career from aspiring to emerging. I am constantly honing my craft and working towards being better at it. While this novel is my first, I have long-term ambitions for a sustained writing career. Winning the Richell prize would lay the foundations for this. I’m committed to finishing the manuscript and polishing it to the best of my abilities, but I know there’s a point where the only way for it to reach its full potential is under the stewardship of expert advice, critique and guidance, such as the Prize facilitates.“
The winner of the 2016 Richell Prize for Emerging Writers will be announced in Sydney on 28 September.