The WestWords/Ultimo Prize is a new prize that aims to reveal the diversity of a contemporary Australia. Nowhere is the experience of a diverse culture and experience more apparent than in Western Sydney, home to 10% of Australia’s population.

The Prize welcomes submissions from emerging writers of fiction and narrative non-fiction with a completed, previously unpublished manuscript who have a connection to Western Sydney. This connection can be through their personal connection, their manuscripts or the subject matter they deal with and its relevance to the issues and concerns of this dynamic region.

The winner will receive:
* $5,000 in prize money,
* a week at Varuna, The National Writers’ House and
* a publication deal with Ultimo Press.

Entry is free.

Entries open: 25th March, 2022
Entries close: Tuesday 17th 5pm
Announcement: late August 2022

(Please note: Due to a small number of reported technical difficulties, we are extending the submission window to Tuesday 17th 5pm. If you experience any issues while attempting to submit, please email

“At Ultimo Press we’re driven to be the home for the best new writing coming out of Australia – which is why we’re so excited to be working with WestWords to discover amazing new voices. We can’t wait to see what stories the WestWords/Ultimo Prize uncovers, and to share those new voices with readers everywhere.” Robert Watkins, Ultimo Press Publishing Director

“Western Sydney, its stories and concerns, are a rich tapestry that exemplifies the forefront of new Australian writing. WestWords is dedicated to nurturing and providing opportunities for writers to have their stories told and celebrated. The partnership with Ultimo Press is so important because it provides the linkage between new writers, their writing and national audiences.” Michael Campbell, Executive Director, WestWords.


  1. The Prize is open to both published and unpublished emerging writers.
  2. The manuscript must be a complete work of fiction or narrative non-fiction, between 60,000 and 90,000 words, aimed at an adult readership.
  3. The manuscript must be written in English and an entirely original work, written by the entrant.
  4. No more than 10% of the manuscript can be previously published in any form, including self-publishing.
  5. The submitted manuscript cannot be under consideration to any other publisher or entered in any other award.
  6. Entrants to the prize must not be a current employee of WestWords, Ultimo Press, Hardie Grant Publishing, Hardie Grant Media or Hardie Grant X.
  7. Manuscripts must be double spaced, to include the title and page number on every page, and to be written in a simple, clear font. The manuscript must be submitted as either a PDF or Word document.
  8. Entrants must demonstrate their, or the manuscript’s connection to Western Sydney.
  9. Entrants must include a short synopsis (no more than 600 words) and a short bio (no more than 300 words) of the entrant.
  10. Entrants must be citizens or full-time residents of Australia.
  11. All entries must be submitted via the entry form on the WestWords website ( and by 5pm, 17th May, 2022. Hard copy or emailed submissions will not be accepted.
  12. Entries will be judged on the manuscript’s literary merit and commercial potential.
  13. The judging panel will include a representative from WestWords, and a representative from Ultimo Press.
  14. The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into either during or after the judging process.
  15. The winner and shortlistees will be notified by phone and/or email. The winner will be announced in late August 2022 and on the WestWords and Ultimo press’ website.
  16. The winner of the WestWords/Ultimo prize receives $5,000 in prize money, a week at Varuna, The National Writers’ House as part WestWords/Varuna Emerging Writers’ Residency program (19th-25th September, 2022) and a publication deal with Ultimo Press, which constitutes an advance against royalties from sales, and a contract to publish the winning book with Ultimo Press. Only one prize will be awarded. The offer of publication will be made in good faith and based on competitive commercial terms for the work.
  17. Ultimo Press will make an offer for worldwide publications rights in the winning entry, under the terms of a publishing agreement, which shall be negotiated with the winner in good faith and in line with industry norms. The winner of the WestWords/Ultimo Prize agrees to negotiate those terms in good faith.
  18. Ultimo Press reserves the right to make a good faith offer based on competitive commercial terms for worldwide publication rights to any manuscript submitted to the competition, until the winner has been announced. Work submitted to the prize must not be offered for publication elsewhere until after the winner has been announced.
  19. The winner and shortlistees grant WestWords, Ultimo Press and Hardie Grant Books the right to use all or any part of their entry for the purpose of announcing or promoting the author as a winning entrant, or to promote the prize itself.
  20. The winner and shortlistees agree to take part in events and media activities to promote the prize.
  21. WestWords and Ultimo Press reserves the right not to offer a prize if in its reasonable opinion no entry is received which is of an acceptable standard to warrant publication.
  22. By entering the WestWords/Ultimo Prize you accept the conditions of entry and give your consent for your manuscript to be considered for the prize.

In entering the competition you warrant that: 

  • Publication of your manuscript by Ultimo Press will in no way whatsoever infringe on any existing copyright or licence or any other right of any third person.
  • The work contains no defamatory matter, or any matter which invades any individual’s right of privacy.
  • All statements in the work purporting to be facts are true.