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2021
Submissions open

About the Prize

The Ethel Turner Prize ($30,000) is offered for a work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry written for young people of secondary school level. Books containing the work of more than four authors, including anthologies, are not eligible for nomination. In the case of books containing original illustrations which are integral to the success of the book, the judges may determine that the award be shared by the writer/s and the illustrator. 

The judging panel

Jane McCredie

Senior Judge

Jane McCredie is an award-winning journalist, writer and reviewer who has been widely published in Australia and internationally. A former book publisher, she is the CEO of Writing NSW and the founder and director of the Quantum Words Festival of writing about science. She is the author of Making Girls and Boys: Inside the science of sex and was coeditor of the 2013 anthology of The Best Australian Science Writing.

Jane is a graduate of the Australia Council’s arts leaders program and has previously chaired both the Christina Stead and Douglas Stewart panels of the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.

Photo of Felicity Castagna

Felicity Castagna

Chair

Felicity Castagna’s most recent novel, No More Boats, was a finalist in the 2018 Miles Franklin Literary Awards and is published internationally. She is also the author of Small Indiscretions and The Incredible Here and Now, which received The Prime Minister’s Award for Young Adult Literature, as well as the International Board On Books For Young People’s award for writing. Her next book Girls in Boys’ Cars will be released in 2021.

She publishes essays on home, suburbia, art-making and literature in many different places and reviews books for ABC radio and television. She is very interested in cross-artform collaboration and has worked with artists in many different fields to produce work for The Sydney Festival, The National Theatre of Parramatta, The Four Winds Festival and lots of other places. She also makes all sorts of collaborative, complex and dynamic stories with The Finishing School Collective. She holds a PhD from The Writing and Society Research Centre, WSU and teaches creative writing at universities, schools and many other places all over Australia.

photo of sarah ayoub

Sarah Ayoub

Sarah Ayoub is a journalist and author whose work has been published in the Guardian, the Sydney Morning Herald, Girlfriend, ELLE, Marie-Claire, SBS, ABC The Drum, Cosmopolitan and more. She teaches journalism and writing at the University of Notre Dame, where she is a PhD candidate researching the representations of culturally diverse females in Australian YA literature.

She is a regular fixture at schools and writer's festivals around the country, has been invited to speak at Children's Literature events both locally and abroad, has worked with Sweatshop and the Stella Prize, and is a mentor to the youth curators of The Sydney Writer's Festival YA program.  Her second novel, The Yearbook Committee, was longlisted for The Gold Inky, Australia's premier teen choice award. 

Erin Gough

Erin Gough is the author of two novels for young adults; The Flywheel, which won the Ampersand Prize; and Amelia Westlake, winner of the Readings Young Adult Book Prize and the Ethel Turner Prize for Young People's Literature. Her books have been published in Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Canada and the United States.

About Ethel Turner

The Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s Literature is named after Ethel Mary Turner (1870–1958), author of Seven Little Australians. Turner was born in England. Her mother migrated with her daughters to Sydney in 1880 after the death of Turner’s stepfather. Together with her sister Lilian she was educated at Sydney Girls’ High School where they edited their own magazine Iris. After they left school in 1889 they founded the monthly Parthenon. Both sisters later became novelists. Ethel worked as the editor of the ‘Children’s Page’, first for the Illustrated Sydney News and later for the Australian Town and Country Journal. Her first novel and best-known work Seven Little Australians was published in 1894 and quickly sold out. It was translated in several languages and has been in print for more than 100 years. In her lifetime Turner wrote thirty-four volumes of fiction, short stories and poems and was awarded several prestigious literary awards for her works.

Past winners and shortlists

2020

Cover image for the book Lenny's Book of Everything.
Allen & Unwin
Winner
It sounded better in my head book cover
Text Publishing
Shortlisted
Cover image for the book The Little Wave.
University of Queensland Press
Shortlisted
Cover image for the book Impossible Music.
Allen & Unwin
Shortlisted
Cover image for the book This Is How We Change Everything.
Text Publishing
Shortlisted
Cover image for the book How It Feels to Float.
Pan Australia
Shortlisted

2019

Cover image of the book titled 'Amelia Westlake'.
Winner
Between Us
Shortlisted
Stone Girl
Shortlisted
I am out with lanterns
Shortlisted
Cover image for Small Spaces.
Shortlisted
The Art of Taxidermy
Shortlisted