The Penguin Random House (PRH) Literary Prize, launched in 2017, was established to find, nurture and develop new Australian authors of literary fiction. PRH is already home to many admired and awarded authors, and this prize offers aspiring and diverse writers from across the nation a chance to connect with people who can celebrate their work.
Of last year’s prize Justin Ractliffe, Publishing Director at PRH Australia, commented, ‘It was a pleasure and a privilege to be on the judging panel last year. There is just so much talent out there and I can’t wait to see what this year’s submissions bring. Discovering new writers and giving them the opportunity to have their work developed and published is one of the best parts of working in publishing and the reason we launched the Penguin Literary Prize.’
Since its launch the Literary Prize has received an incredible number of submissions: approximately 400 each year, exploring an array of themes and genres. Previous winners include Hitch by Kathryn Hind, published June 2019, which was also awarded the Betty Trask Award in 2020; and The Spill by Imbi Neeme, published June 2020, and now with rights sold in Germany and Estonia. The 2020 winner was The Rabbits by Sophie Overett, to be published July 2021.
On winning the award, Overett said, ‘The Penguin Literary Prize has been a gift in so many ways. From the personal achievement of submitting a complete draft of a manuscript, to the pinch-me excitement of winning the prize itself. I was overwhelmed with the warmth of the response and the level of support I received from the community and industry alike, and signing a book deal with PRH has only further solidified that. Being able to continue the journey of The Rabbits with the incredible, generous and inspiring team at Penguin, particularly my amazing editor, has been invigorating creatively, personally and professionally. Seeing my story evolve from idea to manuscript and now to book is, in the words of Stephen King, a uniquely portable magic.’
Of the publishing process, Neeme said, ‘It was a huge privilege to have my manuscript selected as the winner of the Penguin Literary Prize and then transformed into a book, thanks to the care, attention and passion of the team at Penguin Random House.’
Hind said, ‘I still remember visiting each of the PRH offices and being blown away by the scale of their inner workings. Yet despite PRH’s size, everyone I met there knew about Hitch, and due to the nature of the prize, many had even read it. Releasing my debut novel was a huge moment in my life, and at each step along the way I felt I was in safe and extremely proficient hands. Not to mention in the hands of bright, warm, book-loving people who were a joy to work with at every stage.’
Submissions are open to all Australian residents aged 18 and above. Submissions will close at 11:59pm AEDT on Tuesday 15 December 2020.
For more information and to submit your work, visit our website penguin.com.au