Words by: Natasha Bloomfield
In conjunction with 720 ABC Perth and Copyright Agency Limited, UWA Publishing has announced a $10,000 prize for an unpublished manuscript in order to support literary talent in WA.
The creation of the award, titled The Dorothy Hewett Award, comes after the shock announcement earlier this year that the WA Premier’s Book Awards will now be presented bi-annually instead of annually, the next ceremony being in 2016.
Lucy Dougan, Hewett’s niece, states the importance of the award, citing that “a lot of people in the arts sector felt very strongly about the WA Premier’s prize going to every two years. [The arts sector] has been hit pretty hard federally and in our own state.”
The loss of $65,000 per annum and the change in format has been recognised by UWA Publishing as a development that “undervalues the arts in a state that has produced some of the nation’s finest writers and thinkers.”
In contrast to the Book Awards, The Dorothy Hewett Award will be accepting only unpublished manuscripts, primarily from writers beginning or wishing to further their professional career. The award is limited in scope, accepting only fiction, non-fiction and poetry, as opposed to the Book Awards’ impressive range which, along with these, also invites scripts, digital narratives and works with a historical slant.
Submissions are judged on literary merit and the work’s connection to Western Australia, such as references to landscape, people and history. Along with the prize money, winners will also be offered a publishing contract by UWA Publishing.
Entries for The Dorothy Hewett Award open on 1st August 2015, with the shortlist being released on 11th December 2015. Winners will be announced at the Perth Writers Festival, 18th-21st February 2016.