The UNSW Book Idea of the Year Prize

In partnership with UNSW Press

Manuscript development prizes run by publishing houses are a significant aspect of the Australian literary landscape. UNSW is excited to launch a prize that will discover, develop and promote the work of a nonfiction writer from UNSW.

At UNSW Press we are passionate about books that are unafraid to ask big questions and challenge us to think in new ways. This prize enables UNSW Press to continue to develop relationships with talented early to mid-career academics at UNSW from all backgrounds and disciplines. The prize offers an opportunity to drive a distinctive academic career at UNSW and a path to publication.


The UNSW Book Idea of the Year Prize accepts submissions for general, scholarly, and literary nonfiction. The prize offers manuscript development for the winning entry with the editorial team at UNSW Press/NewSouth and, potentially, publication. Manuscript development includes mentoring from our publishers as well as feedback on a proposal and sample two chapters. In addition, we will acknowledge up to five ‘highly commended’ entries.

UNSW Press retains first option to publish the winning manuscript, as well as any shortlisted or highly commended entries.

Submissions to the prize require a proposal or outline for a full-length nonfiction book manuscript as well as two sample chapters and an entry form. Each chapter should be no more than 5,000 words in length. We define a full-length book as a work of more than 50,000 words.

The proposal and sample chapters should not be under consideration by other book publishers when entered for this prize.

The prize is open to early to mid-career academics currently employed at UNSW. We will accept entries from all disciplinary backgrounds. We encourage submissions from writers from underrepresented backgrounds, including First Nations writers, writers of colour, LGBTQ+ writers, and disabled writers.


The judging panel for the prize will include: Fiona Inglis, Managing Director of Curtis Brown Australia and member of the UNSW Press Board; Roanna Gonsalves, award-winning author and lecturer in Creative Writing at UNSW; Elspeth Menzies, Executive Publisher at UNSW Press; and Harriet McInerney, Associate Publisher at UNSW Press.

The prize opens in May 2022 and entries close on 1 August 2022.

UNSW Press will hold an online Q&A session on 25 May 2022 at 12 noon in which our publishing team will discuss how to enter and what we are looking for. If you would like to attend this session, please email with your expression of interest and questions.

The inaugural UNSW Book Idea of the Year Prize will be presented at UNSW Bookshop in December 2022, which is the 60th anniversary of UNSW Press.