The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and Brisbane Times partner with Dymocks for inaugural essay competition

Sydney Morning Herald and Dymocks essay comp Maxine Beneba Clarke, Tara June Winch and Ellen van Neerven

James Chessell: “We hope this essay competition gives young people a platform to be thought-provoking and inspiring”

The Sydney Morning HeraldThe Age and Brisbane Times have teamed up to announce a prestigious new annual essay prize for young writers.

The essay prize, which is supported by Dymocks Books and Tutoring, is an exciting chance for budding writers to share their ideas and unique perspectives with a vast audience, as the winners will be published by the mastheads. 

Winners in each state will receive cash prizes totalling $12,000 courtesy of Dymocks, 12-month digital subscriptions to The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and Brisbane Times, plus an invitation to pitch up to four additional opinion pieces in the following 12 months. 

James Chessell, Nine’s managing director – publishing, said: “This is a terrific opportunity for young Australians to showcase creativity and we couldn’t be prouder to launch this project with the support of Dymocks. Our mastheads are the home of Australian public interest journalism and are built on a foundation of uncompromising, high-quality writing. We hope this essay competition gives young people a platform to be thought-provoking and inspiring.”

Mark Buckland, director of Dymocks Group, said: “For almost 150 years, Dymocks through Dymocks Books and Dymocks Tutoring has been committed to the written word and the impact it can have on society. We’re incredibly proud to support The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and Brisbane Times in this inaugural essay competition. We hope that the competition amplifies the voices of today’s young writers and encourages them to share through the written word their aspirations and vision for the future.”

Entries are invited in two age categories, 14-18 and 19-24 years, on a choice of essay topics. The essays will be judged by senior editors at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and Brisbane Times, as well as special guest judges in each state – award-winning authors Tara June Winch (NSW), Maxine Beneba Clarke (Victoria) and Ellen van Neerven (Queensland).

The judges will be looking for original, compelling content that has not been previously published (in school newspapers or other competitions); that demonstrates excellent writing skills; has an engaging voice and style; that makes a compelling argument; that is topical and thought-provoking.

Writers are able to incorporate first-person narrative in their persuasive argument; creativity and innovation will be given special consideration.

Entries are due by October 2. In mid-November each masthead will announce a shortlist of writers in each age category, then the winners and runners-up will be announced in late November.

The Essay Prize joins Nine Publishing’s other highly respected writing awards – The Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelist Award, and The Age Book of the Year Award (fiction and non-fiction).

Entry forms for the essay prize can be found here for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and Brisbane Times.

Top image, left to right: Maxine Beneba Clarke, Tara June Winch and Ellen van Neerven

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