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SBS Emerging Writers’ Competition (Applications close 15 September)

SBS is inviting aspiring writers to share their stories and have their voices heard with the launch of the SBS Emerging Writers’ Competition.

Open for entries from 15 August – 15 September 2020, the SBS Emerging Writers’ Competition is searching for the next generation of bold new voices that reflect the diversity of contemporary Australia, providing them with a platform to share their unique experiences and perspectives.

An initiative from SBS Voices, SBS’s online platform which champions the voices of diverse and often underrepresented Australians, the competition has been created to support the discovery and development of emerging talent and contribute to greater diversity in Australian storytelling.

Writers aged 18 and over are invited to submit a memoir piece of 1000-2000 words on the topic of ‘Growing up in diverse Australia’. The winning submission will be awarded a $5000 prize to further their storytelling future, as well as having their story published on the SBS Voices website.

Entries will be judged by acclaimed author Melissa Lucashenko, winner of the 2019 Miles Franklin award for her novel Too Much Lip, and Benjamin Law, creator and co-writer of the award-winning SBS TV program The Family Law and editor of Growing Up Queer in Australia.

Lucashenko said: “Australia is so much more than we have been led to believe. This is a country of Blak, brown and yellow voices, both heard and unheard. It is the country of those who know they don’t feature in the mainstream imagination. The country of those excluded, and downtrodden and for too long left out of the picture. As a First Nations writer and the child of refugees, I feel a strong compulsion to say to emerging writers: you matter. Your story matters. I’m listening. Together we can make change happen.”

Fellow judge Benjamin Law, said: “The SBS Emerging Writers’ Competition is so necessary and important. Given the rich diversity of Australia’s multicultural communities, we don’t nearly have enough of that diversity in publishing. And we’re definitely not hearing enough from young people. Thankfully we have a lot more young and diverse writers coming up through the ranks, but I want to hear more.”

Marshall Heald, Director of TV and Online Content at SBS, added: “SBS is committed to sharing stories that explore diverse cultures and experiences, and reflect what it means to be Australian today. We’re excited about the opportunity to discover and support new talent through the SBS Emerging Writers’ Competition and elevate the next generation of diverse voices through this important initiative.”

There will also be a $3000 prize awarded for second place, and two honourable mentions will each receive $1000, to support the emerging writers to further develop their skills and knowledge. Winning entries will be announced in November 2020, with all winning entries having their stories published on the SBS Voices website.

Entries open 15 August 2020 and must be submitted online at

More about the SBS Emerging Writers’ Competition

Competition dates:

Entries are open from 15 August – 15 September 2020.

How to enter:

Writers (Australians aged 18+, yet to be published authors of a book) will be asked to submit a first-person memoir piece on the topic of ‘Growing up in diverse Australia’.  All entries must be submitted in English.  Go to for more information, and for the competition Terms & Conditions.


The winner will be awarded $5000 to support the development of their storytelling. A $3000 prize will be awarded for second place, and $1000 each for two honourable mentions. Winners and runners up will be published on the SBS Voices website.