The Deakin University Nonfiction Prize

Deakin University and Express Media are excited to present The Deakin University Nonfiction Prize. The Nonfiction Prize for Young Writers was started as a joint venture between Scribe Publications and Express Media in 2013, and has since been a unique development award to foster talented writers aged 30 and under writing longform nonfiction. Deakin University and Express Media are thrilled to continue the legacy of this Prize.

Entries between 5,000 and 10,000 words are welcome across all nonfiction genres, including memoir, journalism, essay, and creative nonfiction.

In 2019, all shortlisted writers will receive:

  • an invitation to an exclusive craft development masterclass with some of Australia’s best nonfiction writers
  • personalised feedback on their entry from the judges
  • a generous selection of new-release books from publishers including: NewSouth Publishing, Black Inc and Scribe Publications

The winner receives:

  • a cash prize of $3000
  • an editorial mentorship to develop their work from Managing Editor at Black Inc and Express Media Board Member Julia Carlomagno

The shortlist and Prize winner will be selected by Bethany Atkinson-Quinton (Creative Producer, Express Media), Timmah Ball (2016 Westerly Magazine Patricia Hackett Prize Winner), Julia Carlomagno (Managing Editor, Black Inc), Maddee Clark (2018 Un Magazine‘s Co-editor), and Briohny Doyle (Lecturer in Creative Practice, Writing and Literature, Deakin University). The winner will be announced as part of the opening night of the Word for Word National Non-Fiction Festival at Geelong Library & Heritage Centre on Friday 15 November.

Writers will also have the chance to ask their burning questions about the prize, and seek advice on what the judges are looking for during a live Q&A on Thursday 1st August at 6pm.

Past winners and shortlisted writers have gone on to sign their debut works as a direct result of the prize: Briohny Doyle (Adult Fantasy, May 2017), Oliver Mol (Lion Attack!, May 2015), Patrick Mullins (A Liberal View, forthcoming 2018), Drew Rooke (The Final Spin, forthcoming May 2018), and Lech Blaine (Car Crash forthcoming late 2018). The 2014 winner, Robbie Arnott, has received critical acclaim for his work, and was awarded The 2015 Tasmanian Young Writers Fellowship.

Entries close 11.59pm Sunday 1 September.

The Deakin University Nonfiction Prize is presented in partnership with Express Media and Word For Word National Non-Fiction Festival.


Submission Guidelines
  1. Entries open at 5pm Monday 27 May.
  2. Entries will be accepted in any nonfiction genre, including memoir, journalism, essay, biography, and creative nonfiction.
  3. Entries must be between 5,000 and 10,000 words. They may be excerpted from a longer work but should preferably also function as stand-alone pieces.
  4. The entry must be an original work by the entrant and written in English.
  5. Entrants must be 30 years of age or under as of the closing date (Sunday September 1, 2019), and be residents of Australia.
  6. Both previously unpublished writers and writers who have had a work published with a commercial or not-for-profit publishing house are eligible.
  7. Entries must be neatly typed and double-spaced. Please do not include your name anywhere on the submission.
  8. Entrants must submit their entries by using the online entry form. Complete one form per entry. Entries submitted without the completed entry form will not be processed.
  9. There is a maximum of two entries per individual.
  10. Entries must be received by 11.59pm. (AEDT) on Sunday 1 September; late entries will not be accepted. Express Media takes no responsibility for lost or delayed entries.
Terms and Conditions
  1. The submission guidelines form part of the terms and conditions.
  2. No more than 10 percent of the entry material may have been previously published (in print or electronic form) on a commercial basis.
  3. While previously published authors are eligible, the entry material must not be under consideration with any other publisher (excluding prizes in which a publisher is co-sponsor). Entrants must notify Express Media immediately if their entry ceases to be eligible.
  4. While the entrant may submit the work in other prizes, the entry material must not have previously been awarded first place in any other prize. If, during the judging process of the Deakin University Nonfiction Prize, the entry material wins another prize, the entrant must notify Express Media, as their entry ceases to be eligible.
  5. Entrants warrant that their submission is their own original work; that they are the sole author and owner of the copyright in the entry; that the material has not been previously licensed for exclusive use in any form in any territory; that the material does not infringe any existing copyright or licence or any other third-party rights; that the material does not contain any material in breach of official secrets, confidentiality obligations or any other laws; and that all statements in the entry purporting to be facts are true.
  6. All members currently serving on the Express Media Management Committee and all paid, permanent staff of Express Media or continuing staff at Deakin University are ineligible to enter.
  7. An announcement of shortlisted entries will be made on the Express Media and Deakin University websites and in associated media, and shortlisted entrants will be notified by 5pm by Friday 4 October.
  8. Shortlisted entrants agree to take part in events and media activities to promote the Prize. If your entry is shortlisted, you grant Express Media and Deakin University permission to use part of your entry for the purpose of promoting you as a shortlisted entrant.
  9. Shortlisted entrants will receive personalised feedback from the competition judges once the winner is announced. This feedback may be written or oral.
  10. The winner may be notified in strict confidence during October, but must agree to keep this news confidential until the announcement of the winning entry on Friday 15 November.
  11. The judges have the discretion to divide the prize equally between authors of entries they consider to be of equal merit, should the situation arise. In this instance, an editorial mentorship will be awarded to both winners. The judges’ decision is final; no correspondence will be entered into.
  12. The judges may decide not to award the prize if they do not believe any of the entries to be of a suitable standard.
  13. The 10 hours of editorial time must be completed within 12 months of the awarding of the prize. The meeting with the editor or publisher may occur at a location in Melbourne, or via phone or Skype, depending on the winner’s preference and location.
Prize Judges

Bethany Atkinson-Quinton is a broadcaster, producer, educator, and co-founder of podcast network Broadwave. She has created audio documentaries for multiple broadcasters and podcasts including ABC Radio National’s Pocket Docs, FBi’s All The Best and Triple R. She works as the Creative Producer at national youth literary organisation, Express Media, and presents storytelling show The Glasshouse on Triple R. Beth has taught radio, podcasting and audio storytelling across The Walkley Foundation, Emerging Writers Festival and Melbourne Writers Festival. Beth has presented her writing and audio across galleries and at National Young Writers Festival, Audiocraft and The Arts Centre. Image Credit: Snehargho Ghosh, 2017

Timmah Ball is a non-fiction writer whose work is influenced by working across urban planning, zine making, and other creative forms. She grew up in Birrarung-ga /Melbourne but her heritage is Ballardong Noongar from Western Australia on her mother’s side. In 2016, she won the Westerly Magazine Patricia Hackett Prize and has written for a range of publications including Cordite, Un Magazine, The Lifted Brow, Meanjin, The Griffith Review, Going Down Swinging and other anthologies.

Julia Carlomagno is managing editor at Black Inc., where she has worked with some of the country’s best writers, including Anna Krien, Alice Pung and Maxine Beneba Clarke. She has also worked at Scribe Publications, Penguin and Macmillan. Julia undertook the Yale Publishing Course with funding from the Australia Council and is a recipient of the Barbara Ramsden Prize for Editing. In 2019 she won for the Rosie Award for Editorial Excellence. She holds a Master in Publishing and teaches editing at RMIT University in Melbourne.

Julia is particularly interested in political and cultural journalism, popular science with an original angle, nature writing, and compelling personal narrative with a strong and distinctive voice.

Maddee Clark is a part time researcher and teacher in Aboriginal literatures and queer and trans studies at the University of Melbourne. They are also a freelance writer, curator, and editor and have been published for Overland, NITV, and Runway, and were the MPavilion writer in resident in 2018-2019. Image credit: Natalie Ironfield, 2018.

Briohny Doyle is the author of Adult Fantasy (Scribe) and The Island Will Sink (Brow Books). She has published essays and criticism in The Monthly, The Age, Meanjin and The Lifted Brow. She is a lecturer in the writing and literature group at Deakin University.

Any questions about the Prize should be directed to Bethany Atkinson-Quinton, Creative Producer, Express Media, (03) 9094 7887, and any questions about Deakin University’s Writing and Literature program should be directed to Maria Takolander, Associate Professor in Writing and Literature at Deakin University, (03) 5227 1274

The Deakin University Nonfiction Prize is generously supported by Deakin University, in partnership with Express Media. Word for Word National Non-Fiction Festival is a proud presenting partner.