• SBS is looking for the next generation of Australia's diverse storytellers. (Getty Images/Digital Vision)Source: Getty Images/Digital Vision
SBS is looking for the next generation of diverse Australian writers.
4 Aug 2020 - 8:55 AM  UPDATED 28 Aug 2020 - 5:32 PM

SBS is inviting aspiring writers to share their stories and have their voices heard with the launch of the SBS Emerging Writers’ Competition.

Open for entries from 15 August – 15 September 2020, the SBS Emerging Writers’ Competition is searching for the next generation of bold new voices that reflect the diversity of contemporary Australia, providing them with a platform to share their unique experiences and perspectives.

An initiative from SBS Voices, SBS’s online platform which champions the voices of diverse and often underrepresented Australians, the competition has been created to support the discovery and development of emerging talent and contribute to greater diversity in Australian storytelling. 

Writers aged 18 and over are invited to submit a memoir piece of 1000-2000 words on the topic of ‘Growing up in diverse Australia’. The winning submission will be awarded a $5000 prize to further their storytelling future, as well as having their story published on the SBS Voices website.

Entries will be judged by acclaimed author Melissa Lucashenko, winner of the 2019 Miles Franklin award for her novel Too Much Lip, and Benjamin Law, creator and co-writer of the award-winning SBS TV program The Family Law and editor of Growing Up Queer in Australia

Lucashenko said: "Australia is so much more than we have been led to believe. This is a country of Blak, brown and yellow voices, both heard and unheard. It is the country of those who know they don’t feature in the mainstream imagination. The country of those excluded, and downtrodden and for too long left out of the picture. As a First Nations writer and the child of refugees, I feel a strong compulsion to say to emerging writers: you matter. Your story matters. I’m listening. Together we can make change happen." 

Fellow judge Benjamin Law, said: “The SBS Emerging Writers’ Competition is so necessary and important. Given the rich diversity of Australia’s multicultural communities, we don’t nearly have enough of that diversity in publishing. And we’re definitely not hearing enough from young people. Thankfully we have a lot more young and diverse writers coming up through the ranks, but I want to hear more." 

Marshall Heald, Director of TV and Online Content at SBS, added: “SBS is committed to sharing stories that explore diverse cultures and experiences, and reflect what it means to be Australian today. We’re excited about the opportunity to discover and support new talent through the SBS Emerging Writers’ Competition and elevate the next generation of diverse voices through this important initiative.”  

There will also be a $3000 prize awarded for second place, and two honourable mentions will each receive $1000, to support the emerging writers to further develop their skills and knowledge. Winning entries will be announced in November 2020, with all winning entries having their stories published on the SBS Voices website.

Entries open 15 August 2020 and must be submitted online at sbs.com.au/writers.


More about the SBS Emerging Writers’ Competition 

Competition dates:

Entries are open from 15 August – 15 September 2020.

How to enter:

Writers (Australians aged 18+, yet to be published authors of a book) will be asked to submit a first-person memoir piece on the topic of ‘Growing up in diverse Australia’.  All entries must be submitted in English.  Go to www.sbs.com.au/writers for more information, and for the competition Terms & Conditions


The winner will be awarded $5000 to support the development of their storytelling. A $3000 prize will be awarded for second place, and $1000 each for two honourable mentions. Winners and runners up will be published on the SBS Voices website. 

About the SBS Emerging Writers’ Competition judges

Melissa Lucashenko is an acclaimed Goorie author of Bundjalung and European heritage. Her novel, Mullumbimby, won the 2013 Queensland Literary Awards for Best Fiction and her sixth novel, Too Much Lip, won the 2019 Miles Franklin award. Melissa is also a Walkley Award winner for her non-fiction work, and a founding member of human rights organisation Sisters Inside. 

Benjamin Law is the author of The Family Law, Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East and editor of Growing Up Queer in Australia. Benjamin created and co-wrote the award-winning SBS TV series The Family Law, based on his memoir, and his debut play Torch the Place

About SBS Voices

SBS Voices is an online platform which provides a voice for, and champions, emerging writers from diverse backgrounds in Australia, particularly women. It aims to foster a sense of belonging for all Australians, by celebrating the unique stories of Australia’s emerging writers.

SBS Voices has a mission of raising the voices of marginalised Australians with a focus on first person, memoir-style content and video. In the past two years, SBS Voices is proud to have published more than 100 new writers, sharing their unique stories and perspectives with all Australians. Many of those writers had never been published before. 

SBS Voices has a successful partnership with Sweatshop, a diverse writers’ collective in Parramatta, Sydney, now in its third year. It has also developed an Asian-Australian Emerging Writers project edited by Candice Chung, and a Muslim women writers’ series edited by Sarah Malik.

Pitch to SBS Voices - voices@sbs.com.au

Queries about the Writing Competition - queries.writers@sbs.com.au

Benjamin Law's top tips for emerging writers
"Storytelling requires you to see the world from a different perspective. Good storytelling, original storytelling means you bring something new to the conversation and to the table."
Meet the judges of the SBS Emerging Writers' Competition
“The SBS Emerging Writers’ Competition is so necessary and important. Given the rich diversity of Australia’s multicultural communities, we don’t nearly have enough of that diversity in publishing."
Melissa Lucashenko: 'Write what your truth is'
“There’s so much going on in Aboriginal Australia. There’s so much to say, there’s a lot of ideas to put down and a lot of characters to bring into the public eye.”