The Award for an Unpublished Manuscript

In addition to the Award for an Unpublished Manuscript by an emerging Victorian writer, the 2017 Victorian Premier's Literary Awards include the Prize for Fiction, the Prize for Non-fiction, The Prize for Writing for Young Adults, the Prize for Poetry, the Prize for Drama. These winners of these categories were announced on 31 January 2017. The Award for Indigenous Writing was announced in 2016.

The Award for an Unpublished Manuscript by an emerging Victorian writer – $15,000

Offered for a Victorian resident's unpublished fiction manuscript which may be a collection of stories or a novel.

Judging panel

The panel for the Award for an Unpublished Manuscript comprises three judges: Katherine BrabonHannah Donnelly and Amra Pajalic.

Key dates for the 2017 Award

Open call for entries – Friday 3 March 2017
Close of entries – Monday 3 April 2017
Shortlist announcement – Wednesday 7 June 2017
Winner announcement on Emerging Writers' Festival opening night – Wednesday 14 June 2017

2017 winner

Decay Theory by Christian White

Judges' notes: When an American accountant approaches Melbourne-based Kimberly Leamy and tells her he believes she is Sammy Went, a child who was abducted as a two year old from her home in Manson, Kentucky, Kim believes this is a case of mistaken identity. But as she investigates her family, questions arise and she travels to Kentucky to find answers. This is an assured novel that is a page-turner about a small town mystery dealing with trauma, cult and memory.

Shortlisted entries

Truth Untold by Kaz Kilmore-Barrymore

Judges' notes: A murder mystery featuring Chrissie O’Brian, investigative journalist, who receives a tip off that there is something dodgy going on at the wharves. When her source turns up dead Chrissie begins investigating. Told against the backdrop of the newsroom, the docks and the world of corporate politics, this is a well-paced mystery with excellent characterisation.

Low Light by Laura Stortenbeker

Judges' notes: This novella/collection has an immediate sense of place and is a dark exploration of suburbs, dealing with themes of early motherhood, drink driving, loss, hospital encounters, sisters and sexual experiences in vivid and raw prose. The stories in this collection gesture subtlety to one another as characters appear and reappear, allowing deep and varied insights into the lives and troubles within this suburban community. Whether depicting harrowing personal circumstances or everyday encounters, the descriptions and dialogue ring with authenticity and gentle power.

Highly commended entries

Hey Luna and Other Stories by Terry Donnelly

Judges' notes: A compelling short story collection. In ‘Days of Empire’ a young boy’s friendship with Jimmy in a town rife with prejudice set in the 1950s is heartbreaking in its depiction of masculinity. ‘The Doctor’ is set in Ireland and features a lovely subtlety and nuance as it portrays his last call for the night and in doing so observes the small town, the personalities, and the shifts in the mood of the doctor.

The Nancys by R.W.R. McDonald

Judges' notes: A murder mystery featuring Tippy Chan, the 11 year old is narrator. Her Uncle Pike and his boyfriend Devon come to take care of her while her mother is on a holiday. Tippy’s friend Todd has an accident and her teacher is gruesomely murdered. Tippy, Uncle Pike and Devon start a detective club inspired by Nancy Drew and call themselves The Nancys and attempt to solve the mystery. This novel features lots of laugh out loud moments, and captures the sense of small town prejudice while featuring larger than life characters.


Veronica Sullivan
Programming Manager
The Wheeler Centre

(03) 9094 7821