ACT Literary Awards

Current Prizes

ACT Book of the Year

ACT Writers Centre Anne Edgeworth Young Writers' Fellowship

ACT Writers Centre Marjorie Graber-McInnis Short Story Award

ACT Writers Centre Poetry Awards

ACT Writing and Publishing Awards

Canberra Critics Circle Award

June Shenfield Poetry Award

University of Canberra Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Poetry Prize

University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor's International Poetry Prize

Previous Prizes

ACT Poetry Prize (2003-2013)

ACT Creative Arts Fellowships (1995-2013)

ACT Book Review of the Year (1993-1996)

ACT Literary Award (1991-1995)

ANUTECH Literary Prizes (1992-circa 1998)

Canberra Times National Short Story of the Year (1974-1988)

Canberra Times Patricia Rappolt Memorial Prize (1979-1988)

Fellowship of Australian Writers ACT Short Story Competition

Fellowship of Australian Writers ACT Writers Competition

Ginninderra Press Short Story Competition (2000-2005)

Ginninderra Press Short Story Competition for Children (2002-2006)

Lu Rees Fellowship (2001-?)

MUSE/University of Canberra Review Competition

Marian  Eldridge Award (1998-2009)

University of Canberra National Short Story Competition (1992-?)

University of Canberra Health Poetry Prize (2016-2017)

University of Canberra Faculty of Arts and Design Young Poets' Award (2017)


ACT Book of the Year (1993 + )

The ACT Government, through the ACT Arts Fund administered by artsACT, has offered an ACT Book of the Year award since 1993.

The ACT Book of the Year recognises quality contemporary Australian literary works including fiction, non-fiction and poetry. To be eligible for the ACT Book of the Year (1993-2013) the author must either reside in the ACT or strongly demonstrate an ACT literary practice, and the book must have been published in the calendar year preceding the year of nomination.

Winners of the ACT Book of the Year


ACT Poetry Prize (2003-2013)

The ACT Government, through the ACT Arts Fund administered by artsACT, offered an ACT Poetry Prize from 2003 to 2013.

Between 2005 and 2011 the prize was offered in four categories, three of which were open to non-ACT residents.  

  • The Rosemary Dobson Award for an unpublished poem by an Australian poet
  • The David Campbell Award for an unpublished poem of no more than 28 lines by an ACT poet
  • The Judith Wright Award for a published collection by an Australian poet
  • The Alec Bolton Award for an unpublished manuscript by an Australian poet

Winners and Shortlisted entries for the ACT Poetry Prize 2003-2012

The 2013 award was substantially altered from previous awards.  The prize for outstanding single poems of no more than 28 lines by ACT-based poets was valued at $5,000. The winning entrant received a prize of $3,000 and two short-listed poems will attracted a prize of $1,000 each.

ACT Poetry Award 2013


ACT Creative Arts Fellowships (1995-2013)

The ACT Government, through the ACT Arts Fund administered by artsACT, offered Creative Arts Fellowships from 1995 until 2013.

Recipients of ACT Creative Arts Fellowships


ACT Book Reviewer of the Year (1993-1996)

The ACT Government awarded annual prizes to local reviewers from 1993 until about 1996.

Winners of the ACT Book Reviewer of the Year


ACT Literary Award (1991-1995)

The ACT Government began awarding fellowships and grants for literary activities in 1991.

This award recognised literary achievements of writers in the Canberra region offering an established writer a degree of financial independence to concentrat on developing new skills and works. It was succeeded by the ACT Creative Arts Fellowships in 1995.

Winners and runners up for the ACT Literary Award


ACT Writing and Publishing Awards (2004 + )

These awards recognise, reward and promote ACT-based writing and publishing. They are administered by the ACT Writers Centre.

To be eligible, titles must have been published (or self-published)  during the previous calendar year; made available for sale; and published in book form with an ISBN. Also, the writer and publisher must have been residing in the ACT or region at the time of publication and the publisher must have no more than five employees.

There are four categories:

  • fiction
  • nonfiction
  • poetry
  • children’s books (This category may be divided by age group, pending judging feedback and volume of entries.)

Winners of the ACT Writing and Publishing Awards


ACT Writers Centre Anne Edgeworth Young Writers' Fellowship (2014 + )

The Anne Edgeworth Writers’ Fellowship is provided to an emerging young writer in the Canberra Region.  The Fellowship is worth up to $5,000 and is to be used to advance the recipients’ education in the craft of writing.  The Fellowship is provided annually by the Anne Edgeworth Trust and is administered by the ACT Writers Centre.

Anne Edgeworth (also known as Anne Godfrey-Smith) was a prominent poet, writer, theatre director, academic, conservationist and activist for reconciliation. She died in June 2011. Anne mentored many young writers as a tutor, author and poet and her family has established an annual award for young writers in her memory.

The Fellowship will be made for work in the field of poetry, fiction writing, non-fiction writing, screenwriting and/or playwriting.


ACT Writers Centre June Shenfield Poetry Award (circa 2106 + )

The June Shenfield Poetry Award is annual national award to commemorate poet June Shenfield, and to encourage people to write, publish and read poetry. The award is for an emerging Australian poet. The award is administered by the ACT Writers Centre in collaboration with Demos Journal.

June Shenfield was a poet, playwright and performance artist who lived and worked in Paris for much of her life. She wrote experimental, free verse poetry that was designed to be read aloud. In 1985, with her husband Ken Shepherd, she opened the first gallery and bookshop in France devoted to Australian art and writing. Her poetry book Tristesse was published in France in a bilingual edition in 2004. She died of breast cancer later that year.

The winner will receive $300, and the runner up will receive $200. The winning poems and up to three highly commended poems may be published in an issue of the ACT Writers Centre magazine


ACT Writers Centre Poetry Awards (circa 2002 -? )

The prize is awarded to an original, unpublished poem not exceeding 50 lines by an emerging writer who lives permanently within the ACT or region. The Award is administered by the ACT Writers Centre.

Winning and highly commended poems are published in ACTWrite, the newsletter of the ACT Writers Centre and on the centre's website with the author's permission. Copies of ACTWrite are available at the ACT Heritage Library, shelf location H A 820.3 ACTW.

List of winners and some winning entries may be found the ACT Writers Centre website.


ACT Writers Centre Marjorie Graber-McInnis Short Story Award (circa 2001 + )

The Marjorie Graber-McInnis Short Story award is administered by the ACT Writers Centre. It was established by Don McInnis to commemorate the wife of his wife, Marjorie, a local short story writer who passed away on 25 September 1997.

The award is for an emerging ACT region writer.

The first prize is $600. The winning short story and up to three highly commended stories may be published in an issue of the ACT Writers Centre magazine.

List of winners, shortlist and some winning entries on the ACT Writers Centre website


ANUTECH Literary Prizes (1992- circa 1998)

ANUTECH Short Story Prize 1992- circa 1998.

ANUTECH Poetry Prize 1994 - circa 1998.


Canberra Critics Circle Award (1991 + )

The Canberra Critics Circle is the only group of critics in Australia that looks at all the major forms of art. Each year the circle changes depending on who is writing or broadcasting. The aim of the circle is to provide a focus for Canberra reviewers via discussions and forums.


Canberra Times National Short Story of the Year (1974-1988)

The National Short Story of the Year was a competition sponsored by The Canberra Times and the Commonwealth Bank. There were two sections:

  • open (first prize $2,000; runner up prize $300)
  • secondary school students in the ACT and surrounding districts (a prize of $50 for the winner in each school form/year category)

Canberra Times Patricia Rappolt Memorial Prize (1979-1988)

Pat Rappolt was a highly respected journalist and literary editor. Her achievements as literary editor for The Canberra Times was acknowledged with the establishment of The Canberra Times Pat Rappolt Literary Award, a prize for short story writers under 25 Years of age.  The competition was held in conjunction with the National Short Story of the Year competition.


Fellowship of Australian Writers ACT Short Story Competition

The Fellowship of Australian Writers (FAW) was established in 1928 in Sydney. The national, state and regional offices of the FAW offer a number of literary competitions and awards. The ACT branch, later became the Canberra Fellowship of Australian Writers.


Fellowship of Australian Writers ACT Writers Competition

The Fellowship of Australian Writers (FAW) was established in 1928 in Sydney. The national, state and regional offices of the FAW offer a number of literary competitions and awards. The ACT branch, later became the Canberra Fellowship of Australian Writers.


Ginninderra Press Short Story Competition (2000-2005)

Canberra based independent publisher, the Ginninderra Press, organises an annual short story competition for adults. A different theme is selected each year. Winning and short listed entries are published in an anthology.

List of Anthologies and the names of winning and shortlisted entries


Ginninderra Press Short Story Competition for Children (2002-2006)

Canberra based independent publisher, the Ginninderra Press, organises an annual short story competition for children aged 8-12 years. A different theme is selected each year. Winning and short listed entries are published in an anthology.

List of Anthologies and the names of winning and shortlisted entries


Lu Rees Fellowship (2001 + ?)

Julie Bradley won the inaugural fellowship in 2001. She is a children's book illustrator.


MUSE / University of Canberra Review Competition


Marian Eldridge Award (1998-2009)

Marian Eldridge made a lasting and important contribution to Australian literature. As well as publishing three books of short stories, a novel and poems to critical acclaim, she was also well known in the Canberra and Australian literary world for her talks and readings, her book reviews, and her work in adult education. She was the first ACT literature co-ordinator and had a major role in establishing the ACT Writers Centre.

Administered by the National Foundation of Australian Women, the NFAW Donor Fund makes a grant annually to an aspiring woman writer for the purposes of professional development. The first four awards were restricted to promising female writers from the ACT or NSW. In its fifth year, the award was expanded to encompass applications from across Australia

Recipients of the award:

Sarah St Vincent Welch (1998)
Julie Simpson (1999)
Rose de Angelis (2000)
Elanna Herbert (2001)
Annah Faulkner (2002/2003)
Caroline Lee (2005)
Nina Cullen (2006)
Glenys Osborne (2007)
Jennifer Mills (2008)

The final award will be made on 8 November 2009 at Gorman House in Canberra.


University of Canberra National Short Story Competition (1992 - ?)

Open section - winning prize $3,000, with two runners up prizes of $1,000 each.

Tertiary Student section - winning prize $1,500, with two runners up prizes of $500 each.


University of Canberra Vice-Chancellor's International Poetry Prize (2014 + )

The University of Canberra offers an international poetry prize celebrates the enduring significance of poetry to cultures everywhere in the world, and its ongoing and often seminal importance to world literatures. It marks the University of Canberra’s commitment to creativity and imagination in all that it does, and builds on the work of the International Poetry Studies Institute in identifying poetry as a highly resilient and sophisticated human activity. It also builds on the activities of the Centre for Creative and Cultural Research, which conducts wide-ranging research into human creativity and culture. The awards are administered by the International Poetry Studies Institute (IPSI) and Faculty of Arts and Design, the University of Canberra.

  • The winner receives $15,000
  • The runner-up (second-placed poem) receives $5,000
  • Four additional poems may be short-listed
  • All poems entered for the prize must be single poems that have a maximum length of 50 lines

University of Canberra Health Poetry Prize (2016-2017)

The University of Canberra Health Poetry Prize aims to inspire others through poetry to consider the journey to live life well. The poem may be focussed on mental or physical health, and can investigate what 'living life well' means. This may include barriers to living a well life, promoting a life lived well, or describe the experience of, or transition to, living life well.

  • The winner will receive AUD$1,500
  • The runner-up (second-placed poem) will receive AUD$700
  • The second runner-up (third-placed poem) will receive AUD$300
  • Up to ten additional poems will be short-listed for publication, along with the winners, in the University of Canberra Health Poetry Prize Anthology
  • All poems entered for the prize will be single poems that have a maximum length of 40 lines (see the Conditions of Entry for further details)

University of Canberra Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Poetry Prize (2017 +)

The University of Canberra Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Poetry Prize is sponsored by the Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership and Strategy and supported by the Faculty of Arts and Design.

  • The winner receives AUD$1,500
  • The runner-up (second-placed poem) receives AUD$700
  • The second runner-up (third-placed poem) receives AUD$300
  • Winners  receive an invitation to attend an award ceremony and aim to be published in Meniscus (http://meniscus.org.au), the literary journal of the Australasian Association of Writing Programs.
  • All poems entered for the prize are single poems that have a maximum length of 40 lines
  • The competition is open only to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

University of Canberra Faculty of Arts and Design: Young Poets' Awards 2017

The Young Poets' Awards was open to all Year 11 and Year 12 students in the ACT and NSW. The awards seek to encourage young poets and to reward imaginative, well-crafted poems with a distinctive voice. The awards are administered by the International Poetry Studies Institute (IPSI) and Faculty of Arts and Design, the University of Canberra.

  • First prize $500, and work published on IPSI website
  • Second prize $250, and work published on IPSI website
  • Third prizes (x5) of $50, and work published on IPSI website