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The Deborah Cass Prize for Writing

A photo of Deborah Cass.

From 2015 to 2022, early career writers of migrant background were invited to apply for the Deborah Cass Prize for Writing.

The prize was established in the memory of Deborah Cass. The granddaughter of Jewish immigrants, Deborah became a prize-winning professor of International Law at the London School of Economics. After diagnosis of cancer, Deborah left her academic career and focused on creative writing. She had a number of short fiction pieces published, but was unable to realise her aim to complete a novel. With generous support from family and friends, the prize aimed to help someone outside the mainstream find a voice for themselves.

The winner received a cash prize of $3,000, a three-month mentorship with an established writer, and their manuscript presented to Black Inc. for publication consideration.

In October 2022, Deborah’s brother Dan Cass announced that 2022 would be the final year the Prize is awarded, writing the following:

“On behalf of our family – especially my late parents, Shirley and Moss – I am tremendously grateful to you for supporting the Prize. It’s been a very meaningful way to remember my sister, Deborah, who had a love of writing and a passion for justice… What began as a modest project has had a significant impact on the writers we’ve served. Many writers say that they have been buoyed by the recognition and sense of community the prize gave them.”

Read more about Deborah and the Prize on the Deborah Cass Prize website.

The 2022 Deborah Cass Prize for Writing


Anneliz Marie Erese, ‘International’


Nilofar Zimmerman, ‘Kaa’

Min Chow, ‘Melonshine’


  • Meghalee Bose, for ‘international roaming charges’
  • Min Chow, for ‘Melonshine’
  • Jing Cramb, for ‘The Baby’
  • Olivia De Zilva, for ‘A Bigger Splash!’
  • Anneliz Marie Erese, for ‘International’
  • Sevim Dogan Ozkan, for ‘To Not Be Forgotten’
  • Binh Pham, for ‘Girl on the Move’
  • Anne Ryden, for ‘Ashes’
  • Ara Sarafian, for ‘Crack’
  • Niko Satria, for ‘Meeting Hunter’
  • Nilofar Zimmerman, for ‘Kaa’

The winner and runners-up of the final Deborah Cass Prize will be announced at an online event on Wednesday 16 November at 7PM. The event is free to attend, with registrations open via Eventbrite here.

Previous Years



Bryant Apolonio, ‘Independicia’

Read ‘Independicia’ at The Mascara Literary Review here.


Patrick Arulanandam, ‘The Seconds of Holroyd House’

Irina Frolova, ‘On the Tail of the Firebird’


  • Bryant Apolonio, ‘Independencia’
  • Patrick Arulanandam, ‘The Seconds of Holroyd House’
  • Sam Elkin, ‘Magic Waters’
  • Irina Frolova, ‘On the Tail of the Firebird’
  • Maria Katasabanis, ‘Motherlode: memory, mothers and migration’
  • Gary Paramanathan, ‘The Dreaming’
  • Mesh Tennakoon, ‘The Lollipop Lady’
  • Gisele Weishan, ‘The Marigold Girl’
  • Chamberlain Zhang, ‘Si Bo – Fourth Uncle – Eagle Flight’


Winner: Anith Mukherjee

Read Anith’s prize winning story, ‘I am full of love’, at The Mascara Literary Review.  


Winner: Janette Chen

Read Janette’s prize winning story, ‘Wall of Men’, at The Mascara Literary Review.


Winner: Karina Ko

Read Karina’s prize winning story, ‘Things I Used to Believe’, at The Mascara Literary Review.


Winner: Rafeif Ismail

Read Rafeif’s prize winning story, ‘Almitra Amongst Ghosts’, at The Mascara Literary Review.


Winner: Jean Bachoura

Read Jean’s prize winning story, ‘Night Falls’, on the Deborah Cass website.


Winner: Moreno Giovannoni

View Moreno’s book, ‘The Fireflies of Autumn‘, on publisher Black Inc.’s website.

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