The New England Writer’s Centre

Comments (0) Interviews

From deep inside legendary bushranger territory, the New England Writers’ Centre is urging you to stand and deliver your writing! All genres of crime writing are eligible, from hard-boiled to comic, paranormal to rural, noir to cosy, so please come and enter your stories.

This is the fifth year of the running of the popular national writing competition which has, over the years, drawn entries from all across Australia. Last year there were well over one hundred individual entries.

This year’s competition is now open for entries from all Australia residents and closes 21 Sept 2017. Entries may be submitted to New England Thunderbolt Prize for Crime Writing, New England Writers’ Centre, PO Box 1219, Armidale, New South Wales 2350 or, for the first time this year, by email to

The results will announced on the New England Writers’ Centre website on 16 Nov 2017, and in other media shortly afterwards.

This year, the entry categories are:

  • The New England Thunderbolt Prize for a Crime Fiction story of up to 2,500 words.
  • The New England Thunderbolt Prize for a Crime Non-Fiction article up to 2,500 words.
  • The New England Thunderbolt Prize for Crime Poetry for a poem of 60 lines.
  • The New England Award for the best entry in any category by a resident of New England region.
  • The Emerging Authors Award for the best entry in any category by a new, unpublished writer (over 18 years of age).
  • The Youth Award for the best entry in any category by writers aged under 18 years of age.

It would not be possible to run a competition such as this, without the generous sponsorship of The University of New England, Reader’s Companion Bookshop, Tamworth Library, Christmas Press and Little Pink Dog Books. Their enduring support for the competition is very much appreciated.

This year there are a range of cash prizes from $150 to $500, aimed at motivating aspiring writers to fulfill their potential as a writer. As in previous years, all judging will be anonymous.

Over the years, The New England Thunderbolt Prize has launched the writing career of a number of aspiring crime writers. In 2013, Emma Viskic, then an aspiring crime writer from Melbourne, won the first year of the competition in the main category of Crime Fiction. She then went on to have stories placed and shortlisted in numerous other competitions and has been published in Award Winning Australian Writing.

In 2016, winning entries came from Ballarat resident and writer Maryanne Ross. Maryanne won the 2016 New England Prize for Crime Writing Fiction, as well as the Emerging Author Award.

The Thunderbolt competition is run by the New England Writers’ Centre, based in Armidale, where a number of enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers arrange a full program of activities to encourage new and emerging talent to reach their potential in writing. During 2017, they will be running workshops and regular writing activities as part of a renowned international writing program, with well known author presenters explaining to audiences, young and old, how they started and succeeded. There are links to other festivals across the state, with weekend events to help develop expertise and understanding of other writing genres. Should you wish to hone your writing skills in any genre, please contact the New England Writers’ Centre at the address above.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *