HarperCollins launched The Banjo Prize in 2018 in a quest to find Australia’s next great storyteller. The inaugural winner was Tim Slee, whose delightful debut novel Taking Tom Murray Home was published by HarperCollins in July 2019. The 2019 winner was Elizabeth Flann’s incredibly tense Australian thriller Beware of Dogs, published in January 2021. The 2020 winner was Dinuka McKenzie with her gripping contemporary crime novel, The Torrent, published in February 2022, and Veronica Lando won in 2021 with her atmospheric Australian mystery, The Whispering, publishing in July 2022.
The Banjo is open to all Australian writers of commercial fiction, offering the chance to win a publishing contract with HarperCollins, with an advance of $15,000. Two runners-up will each receive a written assessment of their manuscript from HarperCollins.
Applicants are required to submit a full manuscript of adult commercial fiction, a short pitch of between one and three sentences, a 500-word synopsis and a 200-word biographical statement. Any Australian resident aged 18 or older is eligible to enter.
HarperCollins Fiction Publisher Anna Valdinger said, ‘There is a magic to a great story which makes us think and feel, and introduces you to characters and a world you want to stay in. Great commercial fiction offers us thrills and adventures, love and heartbreak, hope and betrayal and everything in between. The Banjo Prize uncovers extraordinary Australian storytellers across all genres – whether it’s a thrilling crime read, an absorbing family drama, captivating historical fiction, charming uplit, or tense psychological suspense. We can’t wait to discover what gems you have for us this year.’
- Entries open: Thursday 31 March 2022
- Entries close: 5.00pm AEST Friday 27 May 2022
- Shortlist announced: Tuesday 6 September 2022
- Winners announced: Tuesday 27 September 2022