Hachette Australia has launched a prize for emerging writers in memory of its former c.e.o. Matt Richell, who died suddenly in July 2014.
The Richell Prize for Emerging Writers, has been launched with the Richell family, is in partnership with the Guardian Australia and The Emerging Writers’ Festival (EWF), which began today (26th May). The prize will be awarded annually.
Richell, who was also chairman of Hachette New Zealand, died following an accident while surfing.
The 41-year-old, who was from the UK, worked at Bloomsbury, Pan Macmillan and John Murray before moving to Sydney with his wife and two children, aged six and three.
The Richell Prize for Emerging Writers has been set up to continue Richell’s “work in encouraging emerging writers in Australia”, The winner will receive $10,000 in prize money, to be donated by Hachette Australia, and a year’s mentoring with one of Hachette Australia’s publishers.
Hachette Australia will work with the winning writer to develop their manuscript with first option to consider the finished work for publication.
As well as promoting the Prize, the Guardian Australia will publish an extract of the first chapter of the winning work and will also offer the winner and shortlisted entrants the opportunity to attend their Guardian Australia Masterclass series.
Richell’s widow Hannah Richell said: “Writing requires great courage, a leap of faith, intense dedication to the craft and the support and encouragement of others. The Richell Prize is an exciting new initiative designed to offer both financial and practical support to some of the very best unpublished writers working in Australia. It is a fitting legacy for a man who found such joy in nurturing writers and whose untimely death last July devastated so many of us in the book industry. Our hope is that through this prize, many talented new voices and writing careers will be launched and as Matt’s family, our gratitude for the people involved is boundless.”
Justin Ractliffe, joint m.d. of Hachette Australia, said: “Anyone who had the pleasure of working with Matt Richell knew of his passion for acknowledging and nurturing emerging literary talent. His enthusiasm and encouragement made a difference for many writers, both here and in the UK. With the Richell Prize we honour Matt with an award he would be proud of.”
The Richell Prize for Emerging Writers is open to unpublished writers of adult fiction and adult narrative non-fiction. Writers do not need to have a full manuscript at the time of submission, though they must intend to complete one. The prize will be judged on the first three chapters of the submitted work, along with a synopsis outlining the direction of the proposed work and detail about how the author’s writing career would benefit from winning the prize.
Nancy Groves, culture editor of the Guardian Australia, said the newspaper was “looking forward to showcasing the talents of new Australian voices”. Sam Twyford-Moore of The Emerging Writers’ Festival said Richell’s “commitment to supporting emerging writers was deeply felt at the festival; we’re extremely proud to be a part of his legacy”.