The SBS Emerging Writers’ Competition Is Back, Here’s Why You Should Enter

By Caitlin Booth
5th Aug 2022

Do you ever catch yourself lost in thought about how to describe your current moment with the right words? Maybe you journal every day and seek the challenge of turning those scrawls into something larger? Is there a story from your life that the world should hear, if only it was put to paper? Maybe it's an experience as yet untold in the Australian cultural landscape?

The beauty of writing is that all of these things are possible, it’s just that sometimes we need a little push to put down our procrastination and pick up a pen (or a computer, even if the notion is slightly less romantic). 

Well, we’ve found the perfect little push in the form of the SBS Emerging Writers' Competition, opening to entries on August 16. 

Back for another year, the competition is looking to unearth great stories and literary talent from around Australia. This year entrants are asked to submit a first-person memoir of up to 2,000 words speaking to the theme ‘Emergence’. Uplifting and inspiring open to wide interpretation, this theme speaks to people emerging in every form of the word. From their backgrounds, a situation in their life, from any restraints, and fully into their true selves. What does 'Emergence' mean to you?

There is a generous prize pool of $10,000 for those selected as winners, and the opportunity to be published in the annual anthology and on SBS Voices. This year, acclaimed Aussie authors Alice Pung (One Hundred Days, Growing Up Asian In Australia) and Christos Tsiolkas (The Slap, Barracuda) are on the judging panel.  

Pung emphasises that she is looking to read a good story, rather than a grammatically perfect one, sharing that her mother, a Cambodian migrant, was illiterate.  “One thing Christos and I have in common is we understand what it's like to live every day with illiteracy. We are not looking for the most finely polished pieces.” 

Need a little inspo? Head over here to read last year’s winner, Cat Yen’s story, Minor Details—a story of pain, privilege, class and identity in the suburbs of Melbourne.

Is there a story in you itching to be told? For all of the information on the prize pool, and how to enter, head over here


What: SBS Emerging Writers' Competition
Entries Open: August 16 - September 13, 2022
What:  A first-person memoir of up to 2000 words on the theme ‘Emergence’.
Prize:  $5000 for first place, $3000 for second place and $1000 for two honourable mentions. Winners and runners-up with have their works published on SBS Voices. 

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