Writer Jess Gately on why entering the Fogarty Literary Award is the best thing you can do this year

Are you a young writer looking to enhance your career and win a nice pot of prize money in the process? Look no further. WA-based writer and editor Jess Gately explains what entering the Fogarty Literary Award could do for you.


How much of an impact could the award potentially have on a young writer’s career?

You only have to look at the careers of writers such as Gail Jones, Tim Winton and Kim Scott to see how an award and the opportunity to publish early on can impact upon a young writer. It’s not just the prize money and the recognition that an award like this offers, it’s the opportunity to work with a publisher, to go through that process and to see your writing from different points of view. It’s learning how the industry works as a whole, which gives you the opportunity to develop and shape your career.

Why is it beneficial to limit the award to West Australian writers?

Western Australian writers often get lost in the literary landscape of Australia. With so many opportunities, publications and events existing in Sydney and Melbourne, it can sometimes feel like people in those areas are more interesting to readers simply because they’re close [by?] and they have tight-knit communities.
But we have that here in Western Australia too, and having an award that is Western Australia specific reinforces that our stories are just as exciting, just as interesting and just as worthy of telling. It’s also great for fostering a literary community here in Western Australia and maintaining that there are opportunities for us too.

How would you use the money?

Oh gosh! There are so many things I could think of that I would like to do! I think I’d use $20,000 to buy a whole load of books and then send myself to a writing retreat so I could work on another manuscript. I’d also like to use the money to help other young and emerging writers find their feet. It would be great to be able to put some money towards some workshops or online programs for some other writers who could use a boost.

What are you currently writing?

I’m currently working on a couple of manuscripts that I would love to find a home for. I’d love to have one polished up and ready to submit to the Fogarty Literary Award.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

A lot of young people think they need to be older to be published, that it’s not until we’re adults that we truly understand the value of our experiences. But there’s something to be said for our experiences and feelings of the here and now. The internet has become our playground because it’s a place that allows us to express that.
There are concerns that young people are reading fewer books that explore deeper themes and require more critical thinking and reflection than online articles. Maybe if we had more books written by young people for young people, we could see that trend reversed.

Jess Gately is a WA-based writer currently studying a Master of Professional Writing and Publishing at Curtin University, and is the Marketing and Media Manager for Underground Writers.

Entries to the Fogarty Literary Award are now open. Click here to submit.



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