The Ampersand Prize

Submission guidelines

We accept submissions from any person who has not previously had a young adult or middle-grade novel published by a trade publishing house anywhere in the world. If you have had a picture book, adult's novel, educational or non-fiction title published, you are still eligible.

Submissions must be entered at and all required fields completed before submission. Writers will be required to submit a one-page synopsis with their manuscript, as well as a 100-word explanation of why they wrote the book.

By entering your manuscript into the Ampersand Prize, you give your consent for your entry to be considered for the award, and agree to assign world rights in all languages, territories and formats to Hardie Grant Children's Publishing in the event that your entry is selected as the winner.

The winning manuscript will be published by Hardie Grant Children's Publishing under the terms of a publishing agreement, which will be negotiated with you or your chosen representative in line with industry norms. As the author, you will receive a formal offer with an advance calculated against projected royalty earnings.

If you are a self-published author, you are eligible to submit a manuscript provided you follow submission guidelines, and note in your cover letter whether the submitted manuscript has been self-published already. If it has, please remove it from sale for the duration of the Ampersand Prize (from 1 July 2020 until the shortlist is announced in October 2020). By entering your manuscript, you agree to contract all publishing rights, including print and digital, if selected as the winner. Note that we do not accept ePub or Mobi files as submissions.

Each writer may submit ONE completed manuscript. Manuscripts must be full-length novels at a minimum length of 20,000 words. At this time we are not accepting short-story collections, non-fiction, or chapter books for junior fiction readers. You may submit the same manuscript two times only in different years, so long as you are able to articulate what has changed between submissions; after two times, the project cannot be resubmitted again.

Middle-grade fiction is defined as fiction featuring pre-teen characters in situations of interest to 8-12 year olds. MG novels are usually between 30,000 and 50,000 words long.

Young Adult or YA fiction features teen protagonists in situations of interest to teen readers. YA novels are usually between 50,000 and 90,000 words long.

Feedback on individual submissions is not provided as a matter of course, but may be provided to shortlisted individuals at the editors' discretion. Preference will be given to citizens and residents of Australia and New Zealand.

Eligibility for the Ampersand Prize is at the editors' discretion.

If you have any questions about the Ampersand Prize, you can email us at and we will respond as soon as we can. Submissions will not be accepted via this email address.

The Ampersand Prize will re-open for submissions in 2022.