AustLit logo
Dorothy Hewett Award for an Unpublished Manuscript
or Dorothy Hewett Award

The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.


'UWA Publishing, in partnership with Copyright Agency Limited and ABC 720 Perth, has established a new award [in 2015, first awarded in 2016] for an unpublished manuscript.

The award has been established as a response to the changes to the WA Premier’s Book Awards announced earlier this year. Along with the majority of the Western Australian arts community, UWA Publishing expressed the view that the loss of $65,000 per annum and move to a biennial format undervalues the arts in a state that has produced some of the nation’s finest writers and thinkers.

'The aim of the Dorothy Hewett Award is to support literary talent both in and related to Western Australia, and to celebrate the life and writing of a stalwart Australian radical. The award will be an annual fixture designed to be a catalyst for writers beginning or furthering their professional writing careers.' (Source: )

Latest Winners / Recipients

Year: 2021

joint winner Kgshak Akec for Hopeless Kingdom
joint winner Joshua Kemp for Stranger Places

Year: 2020

winner y separately published work icon Where the Fruit Falls Karen Wyld , Crawley : UWA Publishing , 2020 19910013 2020 single work novel

'An ancient ocean roars under the red dirt. Hush. Be still for just a moment. Hear its thundering waves crashing on unseen shores.

'Spanning four generations, with a focus on the 1960s and 70s, an era of rapid social change and burgeoning Aboriginal rights, Where the Fruit Falls is a re-imagining of the epic Australian novel.

'Brigid Devlin, a young Aboriginal woman, and her twin daughters navigate a troubled nation of First Peoples, settlers and refugees – all determined to shape a future on stolen land. Leaving the sanctuary of her family’s apple orchard, Brigid sets off with no destination and a willy wagtail for company. As she moves through an everchanging landscape, Brigid unravels family secrets to recover what she’d lost – by facing the past, she finally accepts herself. Her twin daughters continue her journey with their own search for self-acceptance, truth and justice.' (Publication summary)

Year: 2019

winner y separately published work icon Rogue Intensities Angela Rockel , Crawley : UWA Publishing , 2019 17186040 2019 single work autobiography 'Rogue Intensities is a memoir grounded in Tasmania, with a richness of storytelling which emerges from the space between human, nature and environmental threads. It manages to straddle the intimate and the universal with ease a great deal of delight. The exploration of the Australian landscape through prose is a core tenet of Australian literature and the UWAP has been successful in finding a shining example of this in Rogue intensities. This work successfully adds to this canon in a way that extends it and enriches writing alongside it.' (Publication summary)

Year: 2018

winner y separately published work icon Legacy Julie Watts , Nedlands : UWA Publishing , 2018 14701111 2018 selected work poetry

'This impressive volume keeps the reader in its strong, yet tender, hold. The poems are poised, poignant and braced with feeling, especially grief and loss, but there is joy, too, and celebration, especially of family. In poem after poem, Julie Watts delivers many perspectives, but at all points the human, geographic and moral landscapes are convincing and real. She can dovetail inner and outer worlds effortlessly. Her poems are probing, investigative, yet always humane.

- Judith Beveridge

'This substantial volume is startling in its range: it encompasses elegies, love poems, descriptive pieces, poems of joy and of sorrow as Julie Watts ponders the legacies that form us through genetics and culture and that we in turn pass on. With considerable empathy and generosity of spirit she contemplates the old, the middle-aged and the young, the distant and near past, the present and the future, childhood’s imagination and adulthood’s sometimes tough reality. Identity for her is found in relation to others, in a world that is closely observed and closely imagined; life is a kind of music and she renders it with rhythmic and imagistic richness.

- Dennis Haskell'   (Publication summary)

Year: 2016

winner y separately published work icon Drawing Sybylla Odette Kelada , Crawley : UWA Publishing , 2017 11571879 2017 single work novel fantasy

'‘Sometimes I think there are a great many women behind, and sometimes only one, and she crawls around fast, and her crawling shakes it all over.’ '                                             'The Yellow Wallpaper' ~ Charlotte Perkins Gilman

'On stage, a woman named Sybil Jones is making a speech. She is talking about the significance of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story 'The Yellow Wallpaper'. Behind her sits a panel of writers, facing their audience, and one writer drawing Sybil’s likeness in a contemplative daze.

'The Sybil in the writer’s drawing starts to move, like the women behind Gilman’s wallpaper. She shakes. She takes the writer by the hand and leads her down into the paper, into the dark recesses of her mind, and into Australia’s past — into the real and imagined lives of Australia’s women writers. 

'Drawing Sybylla is a novel about the challenges women writers have faced in pursuing the writing life.' (Publication summary)

Works About this Award

Interview with Julie Watts Alexis Late (interviewer), 2020 single work interview
— Appears in: Writ Poetry Review , February no. 4 2020;
'Julie Watts is a Western Australian writer. She has been published in various National and International journals and anthologies. She was shortlisted for the 2017 Montreal International Poetry Prize, won The Blake Poetry Prize 2017 and The Dorothy Hewett Award for an Unpublished Manuscript 2018. Her second poetry collection, Legacy, was published by UWA Publishing in November, 2018. She took a moment to talk to us about the story behind her Blake poem, what wasps reveal to us about human frailty, the connotations of the word ‘disarm’, the difficult origins of her book’s titular poem ‘Legacy of a Suicide’, and how images in poetry can offer a non-judgemental critique of societal issues.' (Introduction)
Extinctions Given New Lease of Life Amanda Ellis , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: The West Australian , 23 February 2016; (p. 6)