Home » Calendars » Opportunities and Competitions » Bass Coast Prize for Non-fiction

Bass Coast Prize for Non-fiction

Date: Fri May 15 2020 12:00 am to Fri September 4 2020 11:59 pm

With: Phyllis M Papps, the Bass Coast Post & ​Waterline News

Entries are now open for the 2020 Bass Coast Prize for Non-Fiction, one of the richest competitions for non-fiction in Australia, with a total of $10,000 in prize money.

The prize is sponsored by Phillip Island writer and activist Phyllis Papps to encourage and support local writers of non-fiction in an era of diminishing options for mainstream publication.  The first prize winner will receive $5000, second $3000 and third $2000.
The inaugural competition last year attracted 42 entries from throughout Gippsland, ranging from personal memoir and true adventure through to biography, natural history and local history. Ms Papps said the judges were gratified by the response from writers and impressed by the very high quality of the work submitted. The competition has been brought forward this year to take advantage of the COVID-19 lockdown when many writers have more spare time.
The prize is open to writers living, working or studying in Gippsland, or who have a strong connection with the Gippsland region. Entries can be in the form of prose or poetry but must pertain to the Gippsland region, issues or people. The length is 4000-10,000 words.
The three judges are Bass Coast Post editor Catherine Watson, Waterline News editor Geoff Ellis and local writer Anne Heath Mennell.The prize is auspiced by the Bass Coast Post and the Waterline News.z
Post editor Catherine Watson said that while the generous prize money was important, most important to many writers was a deadline and a guarantee that their work will be read.
Entries close on September 4, 2020 and prize winners will be announced in November 2020. The winning entries will be published in the Bass Coast Post and may be republished as an e-book or hard copy following consultation with the writers.
For more information and entry criteria, visit Bass Coast Prize for Non Fiction at basscoastprizefornonfiction.weebly.com/ or email Phyllis Papps at p.m.papps@waterfront.net.au.


Conditions of entry


The competition is open to anyone living, working or studying in the Gippsland region or who has a strong connection with the Gippsland region, past or present.


The theme is open but entries must relate to Gippsland people, places or issues. For instance, you could write about climate change but the primary focus should be local rather than national or global. A memoir is acceptable but should be set substantially in Gippsland.


Entries must be between 4000 and 10,000 words and not have been published previously, including on the Internet.


The prize winning entries will be published. Please do not enter the competition if you do not want your work to be published.


Essay, profile, long-form journalism, narrative non-fiction, prose or poetry. Genres: biography, autobiography, memoir, family history, social history, local history, natural history, science, environmental, travel, true crime.

Judging criteria

Entries will be judged on the quality of the research and writing and the ability to hold the reader’s attention.

Open to all

Entry is open to all writers, regardless of age, nationality, race, gender or sexuality.

Multiple entries

More than one entry from the same author will be accepted as long as they are submitted in separate emails.

Cover page

Entrants must submit a separate cover page with the title of the work, their full name, contact details and brief biographical information. Entries submitted anonymously or using a pseudonym will not be accepted.

Closing date

mail entries to Phyllis Papps at p.m.papps@waterfront.net.au by September 4, 2020.

Judges’ decision is final

The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. 

Winners announced

Prize winners will be announced in November 2020 at a date and venue to be decided.


The selection panel reserves the right not to award the prizes in 2020 if they consider entries do not meet the criteria or quality required. In such a case the prize money will be rolled over into the following year.

The judging panel

  • ​Geoff Ellis, Harmers Haven writer, ​editor and ​publisher of the Waterline News
  • ​Catherine Watson, journalist, editor and publisher ​of the Bass Coast Post
  • Anne Heath Mennell, Bass Coast writer and editor


The winning entries will be published in the Bass Coast Post and may be republished as an e-book or hard copy following consultation with the writers.


Winners are requested to acknowledge the sponsor and auspice in interviews and in published or promotional material.​


Scroll to Top