Manuscript Prize

Walker Books Manuscript Prize Logo

Walker Books is now delighted to announce Ange Crawford’s How to be Normal as the first winner of our biennial prize. The inaugural Prize shortlist was judged by authors Sally Murphy, Jared Thomas and Kate Foster together with publisher Clare Hallifax, and will be published in 2025.

Ange Crawford is an editing and publishing professional based in Naarm (Melbourne). She holds a Master of Arts (Writing). She has written for publications such as Archer Magazine, Un Extended and Rabbit, and has participated in several arts writing programs, such as the Writing in the Expanded Field program through ACCA and RMIT’s non/fictionLab. Her interactive teen fiction game Detective Story was a finalist for the 2021 Freeplay Award for Excellence in Narrative, and her short story Anya won the Short Story category of the 2020 City of Melbourne Lord Mayor’s Creative Writing Awards. Apart from writing and editing, she is a fan of cats and synthesisers, and she can often be found with an armful of books in a local independent bookstore.

“Ange’s manuscript deftly deals with finding your place in the world, when you are walking on eggshells and the ground is shifting. Her novel, How to be Normal is a brilliantly written YA text that explores timely issues with insight, and a light touch when needed, and is a very worthy winner of our inaugural prize. We look forward to being able to shepherd her story to a broad readership, and aim to publish her novel in early 2025.”



To coincide with Walker’s 30th anniversary in Australia this year, Walker Books Australia is proud to announce the establishment of the Walker Books Manuscript Prize. Walker Books’ mission has long been to publish works that become firm favourites and formative reading. The aim of this new manuscript prize is to foster a new generation of Australian voices, who best represent Walker Books’ values of excellence, accessibility and inclusivity. The Prize will be awarded biennially (every two years) to an unpublished manuscript, from 5,000 to 80,000 words written for a readership of 8+ and suitable for formats junior fiction, middle grade fiction or young adult fiction. The manuscript will be judged on literary merit, its originality and use of language, and on its representation of Walker’s values. The winner will be offered a publishing contract with an advance against royalties.

The award is open for the following categories:
Junior fiction: for readers 5-8 years (5,000-20,000 words)

Middle grade fiction: for readers aged 8-12 years (30,000 to 50,000 words)

Young adult fiction: for readers 12+ (50,000-80,000 words)

Who can enter

  • Entries are open to residents of Australia and New Zealand and non-resident citizens of Australia and New Zealand, except employees and immediate families of Walker Books Australia. Immediate family means any of the following: spouse, ex-spouse, de-facto spouse, child or step-child (whether by natural or by adoption), parent, step-parent, grandparent, step-grandparent, uncle, aunt, niece, nephew, brother, sister, step-brother, step-sister or first cousin.
  • Entries must be the work of one creator only. Illustrations may be included but must be the work of a single author/illustrator.
  • Each entrant may submit a maximum of two manuscripts.
  • Entries must not have been previously published or be contracted elsewhere for future publication

Judging and announcement of winner

  • The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • Judges’ comments on the winner will be published, and comments on the shortlisted entries may also be provided at the judges’ and Walker Books’ discretion. No other feedback on entries will be provided.