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CAL Scribe Fiction Prize
Subcategory of Awards Australian Awards
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Established in 2009 by small publisher Scribe with the Copyright Agency Limited’s Cultural Fund. Awarded to an unpublished manuscript by an Australian writer aged 35 and over, regardless of publication history. No winners have been announced since 2012.


  • Prize for an unpublished manuscript by an Australian writer over 35 who may or may not have been published before. As part of the prize, the winner receives a book contract from Scribe. Scribe announced the prize as one that 'recognises that there are many examples of late bloomers when it comes to writers, certainly in terms of getting published. Youth is already celebrated in so many ways, and Scribe wants to support writers who are emerging or still going strong in their prime. It is Scribe's intention that this prize will raise the profile of Australian fiction, demonstrate our commitment to local authors, and find a wonderful new voice and/or novel.' The prize is assisted by the CAL Cultural Fund.

    The inaugural winner announced March 2010

    Source: Scribe Publications website, (sighted 03/08/2009)

Latest Winners / Recipients

Year: 2012

winner y separately published work icon Trouble Telling the Weather Amy Espeseth , 2011 (Manuscript version)x402176 Z1827805 2011 single work novel

Year: 2011

winner y separately published work icon Cat and Fiddle Lesley Jorgensen , 2011 (Manuscript version)x402157 Z1765117 2011 single work novel

'Cat & Fiddle centres on two families whose lives become entwined at the country estate of Bourne Abbey. While Dr Choudhury is busy advising Henry Bourne on the restoration of the abbey to its former glory, his wife's main concern is marrying off their three children, whose chances of good matches are dwindling by the day. Thankfully, for the royal family always seems to have a solution to her problems: how to find a wife for a reluctant son; how to manage a difficult father-in-law; and, of course, how not to deal an inter-faith relationship.

'Then there's the Bourne family. Henry's wife, Thea, is feeling lost, now that she's got the lifestyle she's always longed for. His elder brother, Richard, a successful London barrister, finds himself increasingly drawn to the family home — the inheritance that he's given up. Meanwhile, Henry just wants to keep the peace, but that's proving to be tricky . . .

'And finally, there's Bourne Abbey itself: the repository of an ancient mystery that links the histories and cultures of the Bournes and the Choudhurys in a way that no one could have anticipated.' (Publication summary)

Year: 2010

winner y separately published work icon A Darker Music Maris Morton , Carlton North : Scribe , 2010 Z1666238 2010 single work novel

'When Mary Lanyon takes on the job of temporary housekeeper at Downe, a famous Merino stud, she is looking forward to staying in a gracious homestead with the wealthy Hazlitt family. The owner's wife, Clio, has been ill, and Mary's task is to get the house back into shape in the lead-up to the wedding of the only son and heir, Martin.

'When she arrives, however, Mary realises things are not right. Clio Hazlitt rarely ventures from her room. The house is shabby, redolent of dust and secrets. As a friendship develops between the women, Mary discovers answers to the questions that have puzzled her: What is the nature of Clio's illness? What has caused the grim estrangement between Clio and her husband? And why did Clio give up playing music, when she says it meant so much to her?

'A Darker Music is a gripping mystery that takes you into the heart of rural Western Australia, and into one family's troubled past.' (From the publisher's website.)

Works About this Award

One Small Hitch Deborah Bogle , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Advertiser , 4 May 2013; (p. 14)
Undercover Susan Wyndham , 2010 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 20-21 February 2010; (p. 26)
A column canvassing current literary news including a report on the first issue of the literary journal Kill Your Darlings. Wyndham also notes the winner of the inaugural CAL Scribe Fiction Prize - Maris Morton for A Darker Music.
New Wrinkle for Older Writers Jason Steger , 2009 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 1 August 2009; (p. 24)
A column canvassing current literary news including reports on Scribe Publishing's new fiction award for writers over the age of thirty-five and on an anthology celebrating forty years in bookselling for Melbourne's Readings bookstore.