Named after and supported by international best-selling author John Marsden, sponsored by Hachette Australia and administered by Express Media, The John Marsden & Hachette Australia Prize for Young Writers is a developmental award open to Australian secondary schools students in the categories of fiction, nonfiction and poetry.

The prize is judged by John Marsden, alongside representatives from Hachette Australia and Express Media.

Fifteen shortlisted writers will be invited to meet John Marsden and participate in an exclusive creative writing workshop.

Prize winners will also receive a cash prize and a book pack of YA titles, courtesy of Hachette Australia.

The prize will be announced and presented in a special event at the 2018 Melbourne Writers Festival.


How to Enter 

1.       All entries must be received by 9am, Friday 29 June 2018

2.       One entry may be submitted, per category, with a maximum of 2 entries across the 3 categories

3.       Each entry must be submitted via the submissions portal, with one entry per submission form. DO NOT put multiple submissions in one word or PDF document

4.       Submissions of fiction or nonfiction may be up to 3,000 words in length

5.       Submissions of poetry may be up to 100 lines in length

6.       All entries must be typed and double-spaced

7.       Submittable accounts must be created in the entrant’s own name and list the entrant's contact details

Conditions of Entry

1.       Entries must be original works, written entirely by the entrant, and must not infringe upon anyone else’s copyright or intellectual property rights

2.       Entries must not, either wholly or partly, have previously been published in print or online (with the exception of an entrant’s personal blog or website)

3.       The name of the entrant should not be included anywhere on the submission; it should only be entered in the submission form

4.       All members currently serving on the Express Media board; and/or all paid, permanent staff of Express Media, are ineligible to enter

5.       Entrants under 18 years of age must have permission from a parent/guardian/teacher to enter the prize

Express Media and Hachette Australia each reserve the right not to consider a submission if the conditions of entry above are not complied with.

Note: Entrants must acknowledge and agree to these terms upon submission. Parent/guardian/teacher of the entrant must confirm permission for entry upon submission.

Consideration of Submissions

1.       The judges’ decision is final; no correspondence will be entered into about the judgements or the judging process

2.       Only shortlisted entrants will receive feedback on entries


Shortlisted writers from each prize category receive:

●      Feedback on their writing from Hachette Australia and Express Media judges

●      An invitation to meet John Marsden over lunch hosted by Hachette Australia and Express Media

●      An invitation to take part in an exclusive writing masterclass

●      An invitation to attend a premiere event as a guest of the Melbourne Writers Festival

The first place winner of each prize category receives the above, plus:

●      A $500 cash prize

●      Up to $500 travel reimbursement to attend the winners’ announcement event

●      A book pack of selected works from Hachette Australia’s young adult publications

●      Publication on the Express Media website

●      Winner names and an acknowledgement will be printed in Voiceworks, Australia’s premier youth literary journal 

For more information please email Rafael at

Submission Guidelines

We accept submissions to all areas of the magazine at all times. Please make sure you read the following guidelines closely. If you’re unsure about any of the guidelines, please contact Voiceworks Editor Lucy Adams here.

We are only able to publish work by artists who are under twenty-five at the time of submission. 
Voiceworks only considers previously unpublished work (which includes personal websites and blogs). Please also keep in mind that because of our funding arrangements, we are only able to publish Australian writers and artists. However, international students are excepted from this.

Visual art submissions include comics, illustrations, drawings, graphics, photography, etc. We recommend that you pitch your comics before sending them to us. For advice on how to construct your pitch, check out our handy guide here

We print in black-and-white (greyscale) and our page dimensions are 170 x 245 mm. Please supply your images at actual size and 300dpi. Please name your files—strings of numbers and letters are easily confused with other submissions.

Please send no more than three pieces. If you are submitting more than one piece, please upload them all in this submission, rather than creating a second visual art submission.

We will notify you as soon as we can with news on whether your submission has been accepted. Voiceworks is largely run by a team of volunteers, so we appreciate your patience. If you think something’s gone wrong, or you haven’t heard from us three months after the submission deadline, please get in touch.


Sunday the 29th of April, 11:59pm


#112 'Drag' (Winter 2017)

Has it been five minutes or five hours? A girl’s blanket hangs by her side as she walks, crusted with twigs and false eyelashes. She’s bored, boring, weighed down by mouldable clay. Saves her life on files, drops them onto a blue encrypted document. Has it been five minutes or five hours since she heard anyone? The clock has barely moved but it feels like forever. A lazy finger traces a path across the top of a cake. Purple icing smudged like Elmer’s glue stick wiped across eyebrows. The cat door swings open and the cat walks in, but what’s it got in its mouth? In the distance, the sound of a herd of wild horses. A cigarette burns, not a person in sight. A knife-sharp contoured cheek. A mink coat. A spotlight. A black and white checked flag waving. Almost time now. 3. 2. 1. Go!

~Thanks to EdCommers Clare Millar and Mira Schlosberg for the blurb~

Remember, you don't have to stick to the theme. Most of all, we want good work. Our motto is:

—Themed work: good

—Good work: better

—Good themed work: BEST 

Rates of Pay

$100 for a single published piece or $150 for a multi-page suite.

Terms of Publication

Express Media publishes work in Voiceworks on a non-exclusive, irrevocable and royalty-free basis. We require writers who will be published in Voiceworks to sign a licence deed granting us permission to publish work in the printed Voiceworks magazine, on the Express Media website, and for use in promoting our magazine. Writers retain copyright of their work and are free to use in whatever way they’d like in the future. Please only submit your work if you are satisfied with these terms. For more information about this, please contact us.