Searching for Canberra’s talented writers – the Canberra Culture project

Suzanne Kiraly 3 November 2017
Ink pen on paper.

All you budding Canberran writers, this one is for you!

Canberra is full of talented writers; some established, but many still undiscovered. Interestingly, we also have the most readers per capita of any Australian city (I know this because before I opened my bookshop in Manuka, I did my due diligence – I researched the stats).

In a town full of undiscovered talent, it only makes sense to unearth those hidden gems and give them an opportunity to showcase their work to a crowd of earnest readers waiting for their next literary treat. And it is always a treat to be introduced to local writers who have lived in and loved Canberra.

The ‘Canberra Culture project’ was conceived because of this. It is an anthology of short pieces, written by some of our best writers, each of them submitting a piece of writing with some connection to Canberra. They supported the project and many of them sent in the most engaging, wonderful pieces packed with so much heart, soul, and love for Canberra!

You may well recognise some of the writers participating in this project: Marion Halligan, Paul Daley, Craig Cormick, Jeff Brownrigg, Irma Gold, Tracey Hawkins, Nichole Overall, Marg Wade, Tim the Yowie Man & Jenny Morris to name a few. Their stories explore a range of complexities and nuances of Canberra; some quirky, others dark. They treat their readers to a view of the city in all its uniqueness. Those who live here will recognise and relate to these stories, and those who don’t may get to see another side of our nation’s Capital, beyond politics, that they never knew existed.

It is the notion of giving back that encouraged some of the writers to get together and agree that we should use this project to create an opportunity for new writers of all ages. We saw this as an opportunity to find talented, newly emerging writers who live and write in Canberra. So, we created this competition to do just that.

The competition was launched at the Canberra Writers Festival and is supported by the Canberra writing community and the ACT Writers Centre. To enter, you simply write a piece of up to 2,000 words or less (any genre), that has some connection to Canberra. You can find the competition details on, a not-for-profit site that exists to promote Aussie writers with talent. Send your entry to me:, as I am administering the competition (but not judging it). Make sure that your subject heading is: Canberra Culture Writing Competition.

The competition will be judged by a panel of professional writers and there are two categories: one for those younger writers under 50 years of age, and a category for older writers, over 50 years of age. Winners will have their stories published alongside the professional writers whose stories appear in the book, and not only will this be a great boost to their writing careers, but it will also give Canberra readers the opportunity to discover new writing talent.

If you are an emerging writer (which means that you have not had a book published before), then you are eligible to enter the competition. If you know someone who should be in the running, please share!

But hurry. The competition closes on November 5th!

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