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You have the option of applying yourself, or someone can nominate you.

It’s free to apply for The Next Chapter. All applications must be submitted online (if you require assistance or alternative arrangements, let us know).

Whichever way you’re applying, there are four requirements that need to be met.

1. Tell us what you seek to get out of this program in 300 words or less, explaining how you’ll personally benefit from this opportunity. Have you encountered any specific ways in which the publishing industry was previously inaccessible to you? If someone is nominating you, they’ll write this section.

2. You need a one-page letter of support from someone who can vouch for your capacity to deliver the work. If you’re being nominated, this letter is optional and can come from the person nominating you, or someone else.

3. You need to provide a brief summary of your writing sample (maximum 200 words).

4. You need to provide a writing sample. For fiction/non-fiction prose, 10,000 words of a book-length work-in-progress (with 10% leeway either way, i.e. a minimum of 9,000 and maximum of 11,000 words); for poetry, 10–15 completed pages with a view to producing a book length work of poetry (i.e. over 50 pages), not a chapbook; for a graphic novel, 15–30 pages of a work-in-progress. For hybrid works, or those not covered here (e.g. a verse novel, or a work that mixes prose and poetry) please contact us to discuss the preferred sample length.

The majority of the writing sample (ie. 75%) must directly relate to the work that will be developed as part of the program. It must be supplied in PDF format using the following file naming convention: surname_firstinitial.pdf



Here’s what you need to know about whether you’re eligible to apply (or be nominated) for The Next Chapter. If you have any questions or clarifications, feel free to contact us to discuss your circumstances.

The author must:

  • Permanently reside in Australia, but does not have to be an Australian citizen. We encourage people who came to Australia as a refugee to apply.
  • Be at least 18 years of age; and
  • Not be a current staff or board member of the Wheeler Centre. Casual staff are welcome to apply.
  • Only enter one application per year for consideration.


Eligible works:

  • Must be entirely the author’s original, own work;
  • Must not have had more than 25% of the work previously published through one or multiple outlets or publications (excluding personal author blogs), including online, unless previously self-published (I.e. published independently at your own expense);
  • Must not be already under contract with a publisher or signed with an agent for the work you wish to develop through the program;
  • Must be presented in English (bilingual editions where one of the languages used is English are also eligible); and
  • Must be a work of prose, poetry, fiction or non-fiction or graphic novel aimed at readers aged 13 years and above.


Selection criteria

The Next Chapter celebrates writers who reflect the diversity of Australian identities and experiences. As such, grants in any given year are distributed amongst writers from a diversity of backgrounds.

Applications will be considered on the basis of:

Merit: the quality of the writing – including but not limited to the craft demonstrated in story and character development, innovation in form, and the sophistication of phrasing and lyricism.

Impact: the potential impact that the program would have on the applicant’s writing practice and career. This includes considering ways in which the publishing industry was previously inaccessible to the applicant.

Potential: the applicant’s potential success and/or impact as a professional writer in future.

Suitability: the applicant’s commitment to completing the project within the year.

Significance: the potential impact that the writing produced through the program may have in the wider community.

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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Centre stands. We acknowledge and pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their Elders, past and present, as the custodians of the world’s oldest continuous living culture.