First Nations Fellowship

We are delighted to announce the winner of the First Nations Fellowship for 2019

Angie Martin, Melaleuca 


Shortlisted titles for 2019

Julie Janson, Desert Lands 

Melanie Saward, Barks and the City 

Angie Martin, Melaleuca 



Commercial Fiction Fellowship for First Nations Writers Guidelines


Flinders University of South Australia, Harlequin— a division of HarperCollinsPublishers Australia — and Writers SA invite applications for a Commercial Fiction Fellowship for First Nations Writers.

In recognition of the scarcity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices in Australian commercial fiction, this Fellowship offers a unique opportunity for a writer to work closely with a leading industry expert and a major publishing house to bring a commercial manuscript for a novel to publishable standard. Writers SA and Flinders University will offer additional mentorship and support.

The judging panel will consist of authors Karen Wyld, Jo Mackay of Harlequin, and Dr Amy Matthews of Flinders University.


Entry Restrictions

Entry is open to all residents of Australia aged 18 years of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent (i.e. being of Aboriginal or Torres Islander descent, identifying as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person and being accepted as such by the community in which he/she lives, or formerly lived).


The Fellowship offers the opportunity for an emerging writer to

  • Work with Jo Mackay, Publisher at HQ and MIRA, Harlequin, HarperCollinsPublishers Australia to develop their full manuscript (up to 30 hours from 1 August 2019 to 1 August 2020, to be arranged between winner and Publisher).
  • Be granted Research Associate status at Flinders University from 1 August 2019 to 1 August 2020, with library access and the mentorship of a senior creative writing teacher and academic who specialises in genre fiction, Dr Amy Matthews. This may be taken up remotely, depending on the location of the Fellowship recipient.
  • Attend a funded writing residency in South Australia offered by Writers SA.
  • Receive a $3,500 stipend.
  • The shortlist will be announced on Thursday 25 July 2019 and the winner will be announced on Wednesday 31 July 2019 by phone, email and/or mail.

 Submission requirements

To apply, you will need to submit the following (in Word format double spaced, in a clear 12-point font):

  1. A cover letter introducing yourself and an outline of relevant writing history (maximum 700 words);
  2. A short synopsis of your manuscript (maximum 700 words); and
  3. The first 3,000 words of your manuscript. Your full manuscript of no less than 70,000 words must be your original work and must not have been previously published, shortlisted or a prize winner in any other competition. Your manuscript must be a work of commercial fiction for adults. It may be in the romance, historical, crime or contemporary women’s fiction genres. Please note: Fantasy, science fiction, erotica, horror, young adult, poetry, plays, graphic novels, works for children and non-fiction works are not eligible.


How to apply

  • Entries open: 9.00am AEDT Tuesday 19 March 2019
  • Entries close: 5.00pm AEDT Wednesday 15th May 2019
  • Submit your cover letter, synopsis and manuscript (along with your name, postal address, email address and telephone number) by email to: [email protected], with First Nations Fellowship in the subject line.
  • Your submission will be acknowledged by email. If you do  not receive acknowledgement of receipt of your manuscript within 24 hours, please notify [email protected]


Terms and Conditions

  • By entering the First Nations Commercial Fiction Fellowship, you agree to be bound by these Guidelines.
  • There is no fee for submission.
  • Directors, employees and their immediate families of HarperCollins Publishers Australia Pty Ltd, HarperCollins Publishers New Zealand) Ltd, Harlequin Enterprises (Australia) Pty Ltd, Writers SA and Flinders University are not eligible to enter.
  • The successful applicant may be required to provide evidence of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent.
  • No late entries will be accepted.
  • There is a limit of one entry per person.
  • The one entrant whose entry is judged by the panel of judges to be the most original and creative will win the prize. No discussion will be entered into with unsuccessful applicants. The panel of judges may, in their absolute discretion, decline to award any or all of the prize. Chance plays no part in determining the prize winner.
  • If your entry is shortlisted, we will request the full manuscript on Friday 31st May 2019 which must be submitted by Friday 7 June 2019.
  • In the event that any part of the prize becomes unavailable due to circumstances beyond our control, we reserve the right to provide a similar product to the same or greater value as the original prize subject to applicable laws or written directions made under applicable legislation.
  • By entering the competition, you grant HarperCollins Publishers Australia the right to use, reproduce, publish and communicate the work submitted and to authorize its use, reproduction, publication and communication in connection with the First Nations Commercial Fiction Fellowship in all languages anywhere non-exclusively throughout the world.
  • If your submission wins, you grant the HarperCollins Publishers Australia the exclusive first option to consider the work for publication. You agree to negotiate in good faith with the Promoter to publish the work on reasonable commercial terms.
  • For the avoidance of doubt, the copyright in your entry shall remain your intellectual property, and your moral rights as a creator will be recognised and respected.
  • To provide you with this competition, we need to collect personal information about you. If you do not provide the information requested, we may not be able to provide you with the entry. You agree that: we may transfer personal information confidentially to organisations that provide services in relation to this competition; disclose personal information to State and Territory lottery departments; publish winners names as set out in these Guidelines and as required under applicable law; and/or use the prize winner’s personal information in any media for publicity purposes associated with the competition without any further payment or other compensation, unless the prize winner otherwise notifies us at the time of accepting the prize. Entry details remain the property of HarperCollins Publishers Australia and our related entities and we collect the entrant’s personal information for the purpose of conducting and promoting this competition. The entrant may request access to his or her personal information by calling the HarperCollins Privacy Officer on 02 9952 5000.
  • Support from Flinders University will be offered during the same period.
  • Winner will be announced on the 10th of August 2019


If you have any enquiries regarding the submission process, please contact Johanna Baker, publishing coordinator: [email protected]