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Opportunity for emerging writers & authors

**Submissions Closed**

We’re thrilled to announce an opportunity for Emerging Writers as part of the Australian Indian Digital Creative Festival. We’d love to see more South Asian female authors and writers publishing books/articles which reflect our shared experiences, culture and diversity.  

It’s time for South Asian women to write their own stories.  

The Opportunity:  

  • Receive feedback and a 1-1 zoom call with an established writer or author about your work.  
  • Have your work (or an excerpt) published on the ASAC blog and social media.  
  • We’ll send your work to a range of our community partners to share across their social media network to help you get your writing out there.  

We’ve launched this opportunity to give talented, ambitious and undiscovered writers the opportunity to share your story.  We understand how unnerving this may be and its common for writers to be plagued by self-doubt. If you’re working on something right now, have the drive to finish your writing and feel ready to share it with us, then take the leap and submit your work.  

We’re so proud to partner with our network of brilliant writers to offer emerging writers this invaluable opportunity and support them in their writing journey. The writers offering feedback include  

  • Milee Ashwarya Publisher of Ebury Publishing and Vintage Publishing Groups at Penguin Random House India. Milee’s focus has been on championing the best voices in fiction and non-fiction while publishing a range of bestsellers across segments. Her authors include Piyush Pandey, Hindol Sengupta, R. Gopalakrishnan, Karan Johar, Ravi Subramaniam, Anand Neelakantan, Shilpa Shetty, Novoneel Chakraborty, Twinkle Khanna, Amjad Ali Khan, Shradha Sharma, Sonali Bendre and Payal Gidwani Tiwari to name a few. *This is not an official Penguin Random House giveaway. Milee is offering this in her capacity as a fellow alumnus of Australia India Youth Dialogue 
  • Sushi Das an award-winning journalist and the chief of staff at RMIT ABC Fact Check. For more than two decades she worked for The Age in various roles and her work has been recognized with two Melbourne Press Club Quill Awards, including Best Columnist. Last year she created an RMIT online course on misinformation and disinformation aimed at helping students create a news-critical mindset. She is also the author of Deranged Marriage, an east-meets-west memoir about arranged marriage. 
  • Alicia Vrajlal a Sydney-based journalist and former Editor at HuffPost Australia. Passionate about elevating underrepresented voices through her journalism, she founded the blog Draw Your Box, which focuses on diversity-related content. Prior to HuffPost, Alicia worked at Yahoo and Daily Mail, and made her start in the industry in 2011 by launching her own Australian entertainment blog, I Am Starstruck  

You don’t want to miss this fantastic opportunity to receive feedback and connect with stellar women in the world of writing and publishing.  

Milee Ashwarya
Sushi Das
Alicia Vrajlal

About the Opportunity  

Writers do not need to have a full manuscript at the time of submission. 

You may submit either: 

  1. The first two-three chapters of the submitted work OR
  2. A short article that you’d like to pitch to mainstream media in India or in Australia on a topic that your care about (this could be women’s empowerment, climate change, culture, history, relationships, books that have inspired you or simply an experience that made you who you are today) OR 
  3. A short story that you hope to publish AND
  4. A statement about how this will further your writing career (this will be passed onto the mentors) 


How Will the Prize Be Judged? 

The applications will be judged on three main criteria: 

  1. The writing – we want to hear an original story reflective of South Asian folks, culture and diversity.  
  2. The themes – does your writing touch upon important themes around culture, diversity, health and love. 
  3. Your reason for applying, we’re looking for writers who are hungry to get their writing out there.  


Our Mentors  

Three finalists will receive feedback and comments from one of our mentors – Milee Ashwarya from Penguin Random House, Sushi Das an award-winning British/Australian journalist of Indian origin who worked for The Age newspaper for 22 years. She held various roles including news editor, columnist and opinion editor and Alicia Vrajlal, a South Asian Sydney-based journalist founded Draw Your Box, a blog that throws light upon diversity-related content. Alicia is the newly appointed Culture Editor at Refinery29 Australia, which is owned by Vice Media and focuses on content for young women. You will also receive a 1:1 zoom session to discuss the feedback. *No guarantee or promises are made with regards to representation or publication.  



Anyone based in India or Australia 18 or older who has not had their work published by a commercial publishing house.  

There is a limit of one entry per person. 

Please read the Terms & Conditions for full eligibility requirements and submission guidelines. 


What To Submit

Entries must be saved as a two google drive links, comprised of the following: 

  1. The first three chapters of the work with a maximum word length of 20,000 words OR their short article (1,000 words max) OR a short story (5,000 words)
  2.  You will also need to write a one-page synopsis (what your book is about, for articles send a paragraph summary of the theme, who it’s for and why it’s important now) 


Key Dates  

  • Opening date for entries: 22nd July  
  • Closing date for entries: 8th August 11:59pm AEST
  • Winner announced (updated): 30th August 
  • Feedback and call: September  


What To Do Next 

To participate in this opportunity you must register and attend our upcoming event ‘We will write our own stories – South Asian Women Writers & Authors’ on the 22nd of July 7pm AEST where we will be giving more information on the opportunity and sharing the application link.  


A big thank you to our funding partner Australia India Youth Dialogue and event sponsors SAARI Collective and HooHaz

Community Partners: The Indian FeministYoung Sikh Professionals NetworkAsian Woman FestivalSPARK Deakin,  Bold Punjab and SolveSquad. 

Media Partners: South Asian TodayInternash and The Lipstick Politico