Competitions are a great way to get your work in front of readers and (sometimes) earn a few extra bucks. They also get you connected with people in the industry, push you out of your comfort zone and if you place, are a boost to confidence and something to add to your portfolio. Below are the list of Australian competitions that are either specifically for LGBTQ+ work, YA work, or are known to respond favourably to LGBTQ+ work. If there are any we’ve missed, please let us know.

The Ampersand Prize

“Each year, the team at Hardie Grant Egmont throws open the doors for the Ampersand Prize and puts out the call for manuscripts by unpublished writers. The Ampersand Prize aims to find brilliant debut novels by writers of young adult and middle-grade fiction. If we fall in love with a manuscript, the writer receives an advance against royalties, a publishing contract, and full editorial development to bring their book to market.”

The Ampersand Prize was won by Erin Gough in 2013 for her AusQueerYA novel ‘The Flywheel’.

The Ampersand Prize is open for submissions from July 10th and closes July 31st.

The Text Prize

“Awarded annually to the best manuscript written for young readers, the prize has unearthed extraordinary, multi-award-winning books and launched international publishing careers. Published and unpublished writers of all ages are eligible to enter with works of fiction or non-fiction. The winner receives a publishing contract with Text and a $10,000 advance against royalties.”

There haven’t been any QueerYA winners of this prize, but Text has a good history of publishing Queer YA.

The Heywire Competition

A cross-media competition for 16-22 year old’s living outside the major cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Adelaide. You can read previous LGBT winners here.

The John Marsden & Hatchette Australia Prize

“Named after and supported by international best-selling author John Marsden, sponsored by Hachette Australia and administered by Express Media, The John Marsden & Hachette Australia Prize for Young Writers is a developmental award open to Australian secondary school students in the categories of fiction, creative nonfiction* and poetry.”

In 2012, yours truly placed 4th (back when the prize was open to writers under 25 years) with a Queer YA short story. You can read it here: Hope Rose.

Kat Muscat Fellowship

“Express Media is honoured to present The Kat Muscat Fellowship, offering support and development for a young writer or editor.

The annual Kat Muscat Fellowship offers professional development up to the value of $3,000 for an editorial project or work of writing by a young female-identifying or non-binary person. Kat’s writing embodied her personal mantra of feminism, empathy and defiance, and each year the recipient of the fellowship is asked to take up her notion of challenge: exploring bold subjects, thinking deeply and critically about the world and the culture we consume, and reflecting and building on the craft of writing or editing.”

OutStanding Short Story Competition

A free short story contest specially for Australian’s writing LGBTQ+ fiction. This years theme is ‘It’s Complicated’. Word count is capped at 750. Submissions are open until 1st of September.

Rachel Funari Prize for Fiction

“The Rachel Funari Prize for Fiction is a themed fiction competition open to all women, female-identifying and non-binary writers.”

Opportunity here to explore queer themes/find a safe place to write as a non-binary person or queer woman.