The John Marsden & Hachette Australia Prize

Entries are now open for the 2017 John Marsden & Hachette Australia Prize for Young Writers, a developmental award open exclusively to Australian secondary school students across the nation.

The prize recognises excellence in three creative writing categories: fiction, nonfiction* and poetry.

The Prize is named after and supported by international best-selling author John Marsden, sponsored by Hachette Australia and administered by Express Media. The prize is judged by John Marsden, alongside representatives from Hachette Australia and Express Media.

Fifteen shortlisted writers will be invited to a special event to meet John Marsden and also participate in an exclusive creative writing workshop with Mark Brandi, one of Australia’s most exciting debut novelists.

Prize winners will also receive a $500 cash prize and a book pack of YA titles, courtesy of Hachette Australia, publication of their work on the Express Media website plus their names and an acknowledgement printed in Voiceworks, Australia’s premier youth literary journal.

The prize will be announced and presented in a special event at the 2017 Melbourne Writers Festival on Thursday August 31, 2017.

*Unsure what we’re looking for in the nonfiction category? Head here to learn more.

Entries open on Tuesday April 18 and close at 11:59pm on Friday June 30, 2017.


Submit your entry now


How to Enter

  1. All entries must be received by 11.59pm, Friday June 30, 2017
  2. One entry may be submitted, per category, with a maximum of 2 entries across the 3 categories
  3. Each entry must be submitted via the submissions portal, with one entry per submission form. DO NOT put multiple submissions in one word or PDF document
  4. Submissions of fiction or nonfiction may be up to 3,000 words in length
  5. Submissions of poetry may be up to 100 lines in length
  6. All entries must be typed and double-spaced
  7. Submittable accounts must be created in the entrant’s own name and list the entrant’s contact details

Conditions of Entry

  1. Entries must be original works, written entirely by the entrant, and must not infringe upon anyone else’s copyright or intellectual property rights
  2. Entries must not, either wholly or partly, have previously been published in print or online (with the exception of an entrant’s personal blog or website)
  3. The name of the entrant should not be included anywhere on the submission; it should only be entered in the submission form
  4. All members currently serving on the Express Media board; and/or all paid, permanent staff of Express Media, are ineligible to enter
  5. Entrants must be in secondary school or, if not enrolled in school, be of secondary school age
  6. Entrants under 18 years of age must have permission from a parent/guardian/teacher to enter the prize
  • Express Media and Hachette Australia each reserve the right not to consider a submission if the conditions of entry above are not complied with
  • Note: Entrants must acknowledge and agree to these terms upon submission. Parent/guardian/teacher of the entrant must confirm permission for entry upon submission

Consideration of Submissions

  1. The judges’ decision is final; no correspondence will be entered into about the judgements or the judging process
  2. Only shortlisted entrants will receive feedback on entries


Shortlisted writers from each prize category receive:

  • Feedback on their writing from Hachette Australia and Express Media judges
  • An invitation to meet John Marsden over lunch hosted by Hachette Australia and Express Media
  • An invitation to take part in an exclusive writing masterclass
  • An invitation to attend a premiere event as a guest of the Melbourne Writers Festival

The first place winner of each prize category receives the above, plus:

  • A $500 cash prize
  • A $500 travel reimbursement to attend the winners’ announcement event
  • A book pack of selected works from Hachette Australia’s young adult publications
  • Publication on the Express Media website
  • Winner names and an acknowledgement will be printed in Voiceworks, Australia’s premier youth literary journal

For more information contact

The John Marsden & Hachette Australia Prize is generously supported by Hachette Australia.