The Pearl Prize: Writers Award 2024

About The Pearl Prize 2024: Writers Award

The Pearl Prize is presented with Osborne and Fawkner Publishing and supported by Midsumma Festival. A writing award where Queer writers have a platform for self-expression through the writing landscape and into publication.

  • Main Award Winner: Spencer M. F. Rodrick
    (Prize: $500 supported by Midsumma Festival)
  • Highly Commended Winner: Sam Elkin
    (Prize: $300 supported by Osborne and Fawkner)

Writers can submit writing in any form of prose or poetry to a literary panel and begin their journey in the Australian writing scene. 15 finalists were selected and published and the winner of the Pearl Prize announced during Midsumma Festival 2024 at two Melbourne bookstores. The publication was released during Midsumma Festival and is available to purchase from the Midsumma Closet. The Pearl Prize 2024 is proudly part of Midsumma Festival's A Brave(R) Space arts programming.

The Pearl Prize theme for 2024 was A Brave(R) Space.

Submissions Opened: Friday, July 21st 2023
Submissions Closed: Friday 11.59pm 15 September 2023 AEST.

Submissions have now closed. Please see The Pearl Prize event for finalist details.

Writers of new original unpublished works are invited to submit proposals. 15 finalists will be selected and have their works published in a book, The Pearl Prize 2024 available to purchase during Midsumma 2024.

An industry panel will decide on the finalists through a selection criteria process and then vote on the winner of The Pearl Prize 2024.

The finalists will be announced online in late 2023. During Midsumma 2024 there will be an in-bookshop launch of the book, the announcement of the winner of The Pearl Prize at the book launch, an Author meet and greet and a book signing.

2023-24 Award Winners will receive

  • Main Award Winner: $500 supported by Midsumma Festival
  • Highly Commended Winner: $300 supported by Osborne and Fawkner

Each finalist receives a copy of the book and the achievement that comes with being a published writer. The winner of The Pearl Prize will receive a gift and the opportunity to read the winning entry.

The panel will assess the writing based on the following criteria:

Queer Themes

It is important that your work incorporates an exploration of queer themes. Discuss ‘A Brave (R) Space’. Structure of language and sophisticated level of craft. Clever use of formulation in writing. Creative writing is a sense of freedom so run with this… let your queer bloom.

A Brave(R) Space

Now is the time to explore bravery; the championing of our diverse cultural warriors as we come together as artists, audiences and communities and be the change-makers for our future. To be courageous in the development of new contemporary writing, pushing creative boundaries in the pursuit of a queer aesthetic unique to our region of the world. Think about what bravery feels to you, what creates a brave space. How have creatives throughout queer history and now pioneered their own take on fierceness.

Audience appeal

When writing take inspiration from a wide berth of the world around you. Think about your work appealing to wide audience of readers. Your story too can be incredibly important and give insight into writing that needs to be told.


This is essential that the work is original and guided by the writer into a realm of literary integrity. We are eager to uncover original, unique and authentic stories. The panel will be looking for works that clearly communicate engaging stories or captivating commentary upon current or historical events. The writing must respond to required theme.

Submissions Open: Friday July 21st

Submissions Close: 11.59pm Friday 15 September 2023 AEST.

Respond to A Brave(R) Space theme of Midsumma Festival 2024.

  • Up to 1500 words written in any form of prose and/or poetry.
  • Must be an unpublished new original work.
  • Not submitted to any publishing agent, outside publisher, or in consideration.
  • Entries are welcome from people who identify as GSD (Gender and sexually diverse) as well as allies.
  • Entrant must be over the age of 18.
  • Written by the writer submitting the work.
  • Submit $15 entry fee; must be paid same day as submission of entry online at Osborne and Fawkner Publishing website.
  • Please note entries close: 11.59pm Friday 15 September 2023 AEST (Australian Eastern Standard Time). Payment can be made here
  • Entering does not guarantee being a selected finalist as this is a competition.
  • Headshot of Writer for publicity purposes when accepted as Finalist.
  • On being selected as a finalist you must sign a contract stating this is original work and written by the person submitting the work.
  • One entry per entrant.
  • Individual permits the Publisher, if selected as a finalist, to publish the submitted work and put to print in subsequent print editions in the future.
  • The writer (entrant) owns the copyright of their work.
  • No further royalties will be paid to finalist.
  • Panel decision is final.
Submissions for the 2024 Pearl Prize have now closed


Please submit entries via email to: [email protected]

Submit: PDF document.
Label file: Title of manuscript _First Name_ Last Name Your document must include a cover page.

*Please note there is an entry fee (paid to Osborne and Fawkner Publishing) to enter this literary award. Entry does not guarantee selection.

When emailing entry:

Subject Title: Pearl Prize Entry 2024_ First Name _Last Name

Pay entry fee FIRST and include order number from receipt of payment in cover page with submission when you email your entry. Your receipt is emailed to you once received.




  1. Pay entry Fee: $15
  2. Receive email receipt Prepare entry: Cover Page include all details & writing submission as a PDF
  3. Email Entry.


Cover page needs to include your full name, phone number, pronouns and postcode and order number. This information is needed to contact you if need be, and to communicate to you respectfully.

*If submission contains language other than English you must include at the end of your entry a page title Translation Page, and include a full translation of the non-english words.

Finer conditions detail all writers must adhere to:

1. Being an original, independent work.
1.2 Completely incorporates on a creative queer perspective the theme A Brave(R) Space.
1.3 Submitted no later than 11:59pm on the closing date, Australian Eastern Standard Time.
1.4 Entrant must be over the age of 18.
1.5 Writer if selected as a finalist permits publisher to publish their work in the publication of Pearl Prize 2024. And put to print in subsequent editions in the future.
1.6 Writer owns the copyright of their work. No further royalties will be paid to finalist.
1.7 Up to 1500 words written in any form of prose and/or poetry. 1500 word count is final and if word count is in excess entry is deemed invalid.
1.8 All Entrants pay $15 entry fee. Entry does not guarantee being a finalist as this is a competition.
1.9 Does not include names of individuals known or public figures without consent within manuscript.
2. Entries are welcome from people who identify as GSD (Gender and sexually diverse) as well as allies living in Australia.
3.Written in English; but can have parts (100 words in total) in multiple languages (yet include translation page, 1 extra page of translation of non-English segments must be included). Translation page is not part of the writing manuscript. Non English words must adhere to the guidelines outlined in this document or they will be deemed invalid entries.
4. Free from any claims, including copyright or trademark claims, by other parties.
5. Unpublished. No appearance online, such as on a blog or in an anthology, that constitutes prior publication, in no way awaiting correspondence as a submission to other publisher or award outside The Pearl Prize
6. Entry not submitted for publication or broadcast elsewhere or entered into any other. No discussion of entry (i.e. podcast, television, radio, recording device) to the public prior to award entry and finalists announcements to The Pearl Prize.
7. After this award submission period is complete and finalists announced, the writer if not a finalist is free to submit their entry elsewhere.
8. All entries must follow the online registration and submission process on time.
9. No more than one entry per entrant may be submitted. It is the responsibility of the writer to make sure that no more than one entry is submitted in total.
10. Entrants warrant that their prize submission is original, entirely their own work, does not infringe any existing copyright, moral rights or any other rights of any third party and contains nothing obscene, libellous, unlawful, defamatory or LGBTQIA phobic.
11. By submitting an entry, finalists and winner agree to make themselves available for public relations activities at a reasonable request wherever possible. Book signing, meet and greet public. Bookstore appearances are strongly encouraged and show commitment.
12. Finalists and winner agree to give an interview that may be recorded, and/or assist in the production of a follow up article in each case that may be published and made available to the public during Midsumma Festival 2024.
13. The entrant’s name, biography and image may be used in marketing and publicity materials and any announcements, publications and communication relating to the award.
14. Any entries considered to be of an offensive nature may be rejected by the panel.
15. In all matters relating to judging of the competition, the decision of the panel is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
16. Entries must include all requested contact details to be eligible to win.
17. Entrants may only enter in their own name.
18. incomprehensible, illegible, and incomplete entries will be deemed invalid.
19. Entrants are responsible for their entry being submitted on time with all required content, or will be deemed invalid.
20. The award criteria is a democratic process assessed by a panel. Assessing quality in craft, relation to theme, originality and interpretation of bravery.
21. On becoming a finalist, writers agree to signing a contract which states their work is original and free of any copyright infringements. And the writer will provide promotional information which includes headshot, and a short writer biography.
22. Finalists will be notified in October 2023
23. Finalists will be announced online in November 2023.
24. The Pearl Prize 2024 book launch and award presentation will be held during Midsumma Festival 2024 in a bookstore.

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