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SBS Emerging Writers Competition

Date: Mon August 16 2021 12:00 am to Thu September 16 2021 11:59 pm

SBS is on the hunt for the next generation of diverse Australian writers, with the return of the SBS Emerging Writers’ Competition for 2021.

An initiative from SBS Voices, the competition aims to uncover bold new voices that reflect the diversity of contemporary Australia by inviting aspiring writers to share their stories and have their voices heard.

Open for entries from 16 August – 16 September 2021, the theme of this year’s competition is ‘Between Two Worlds: stories from a diverse Australia’. Writers aged 18 and over are asked to submit a first-person memoir piece, between 1,000-2,000 words. The winners will be announced on 10 November 2021.

This year’s entries will be judged by Wiradjuri author Tara June Winch, whose award-winning books include Swallow the Air and The Yield, and Kurdish-Iranian writer/journalist Behrouz Boochani, author of memoir No Friend But the Mountains for which he won the 2019 Victorian Prize for Literature.

When discussing the competition, Tara June Winch said: “We’d love to see entries from first and second-generation Australians. We want to see those new writers and new voices from the diaspora. We just want to hear the whole story of Australia. We want voices from our multicultural Australia. We want First Nations voices. We want these emerging voices that are going to perhaps have the greatest literary careers in Australia, and internationally.”

“Literature is about life. Literature is life,” fellow judge, Behrouz Boochani said.

“I think it is important we hear from people with different perspectives…we need people who have new ideas.”

He continued: “A good story is a simple story, and simple writing, but with deep layers.”

Marshall Heald, Director of TV and Online Content at SBS, said: “Following the success of the inaugural competition last year, we are excited to once again see what stories we uncover with the return of the SBS Emerging Writers’ Competition. Last year, we were overwhelmed by the incredible diversity and depth of the more than 2000 stories submitted. We received intimate, clever, and often emotionally complex stories that reflected life across culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. We read powerful First Nations stories, pieces about sexuality, neurodivergence, disability and a range of lived experiences which make up contemporary Australia. We’re proud to provide a platform for these unique voices to be heard.”

The winning submission will be awarded a $5,000 prize to support further development of the writer’s skills and knowledge. There will also be a $3,000 prize awarded for second place and two honourable mentions who will each receive a $1,000 prize. All winners and runners up will have their works published on the SBS Voices website. 

In addition, all entries will be considered for inclusion in an official anthology of the SBS Emerging Writers’ Competition, published by Hardie Grant. Approximately 30 entries from this year’s competition will be selected for the anthology, to be published in 2022.

The official anthology of the 2020 SBS Emerging Writers’ Competition, Roots: Home is Who We Are, is published by Hardie Grant on 28 July 2021.

The 2021 SBS Emerging Writers Competition opens for submissions on Monday 16th August. Further information can be found on the competition website: sbs.com.au/writers 

SBS wants to hear your story…because there’s a writer in all of us. Submit your story of 1000-2000 words that speaks to the beauty and/or challenges of being Between Two Worlds in diverse Australia and you could win up to $5000 and kickstart your career. Entries are open from August 16-September 16. Go to www.sbs.com.au/writers for more information and register here to enter.

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