Writers’ Award – Application Guide and Criteria

A $25,000 award to a New Zealand writer, the Writers’ Award is proudly brought to you by the New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA) and Copyright Licensing New Zealand (CLNZ).

The award was established to provide financial support for writers wishing to devote time to a specific project and to cover reasonable research expenses relating to it. In a broad range of non-fiction genre, specifically including education works, it is the clear intention of the Writers’ Award that a book will be published as a result of winning the award. Applications can be submitted in English or te Reo Māori. Works or projects with a visual component can be considered if the story is conveyed primarily through the text. Educational books can be included as long as the book is available for curriculum / educational purposes. 

Applications open 31 May 2024 (9am) 
Applications close 1 July 2024 (4pm)

Please keep an eye on this page, our social media pages, and (if you are a member) on the Literary Bulletin for any updates about the award. Please note the guide and application criteria may be updated before the award opens. Ensure you read this thoroughly at time of application.

Section 1. How to enter

  1. All applicants must read, understand and accept the information, terms and conditions within the Writers’ Award Application Guide and Criteria document. Applicants are encouraged to print or download this document and to refer back to it throughout the application process.
  2. The application process can take some time to work through. Applicants will have an opportunity to save their work and come back to it. Before starting your application, please read Section 2 of this document to learn what information will be required, and ensure all supporting documentation required to be uploaded is in pdf format. Please also take note of the word and page limits when submitting and uploading information.
  3. Before submitting their application, applicants will have an opportunity to review and edit their application. Once submitted, the application cannot be edited further. A copy of the application will be sent to the email address supplied.
  4. A $25 application fee is required to confirm your application.

Section 2. What information will you need to provide?

Applicants will be asked to provide the following:

Applicant details:
– Full name
– Postal address
– Email address
– Phone number
– Responses to some general questions including ethnicity, gender, age and iwi affiliation (this will allow CLNZ to assess the reach of applications and diversity of applicants. This information will only be used in an anonymised format and will not be submitted to the selection panel).

Project details:
– Title of project
– Summary of project (300 word limit)
– Genre of project
– Research and consultation process (300 word limit)
– Will this project add to already published work on this subject or genre? (300 word limit)
– Do you intend to apply, have you already applied, or have you received any other grants/awards in connection with this project? (if yes, you will be required to supply further details)
– Outline of the project plan broken into four stages across a 12-month period. Describe what you will be doing during each stage (300 word limit per quarter)
– Estimated publishing date
– Proposed % breakdown of what the award amount will be used for (ie. living expenses, research, travel etc).
– Do you intend to work on this project full time or part time?

Supporting documentation:
Applicants will be required to upload supporting documentation during the application process. These documents must be in pdf format and not exceed the page limits stated.
– Sample of writing – from proposed work or from an alternative work in the same genre (5-10 pages maximum)
– Curriculum Vitae – to include a summary of your achievements as a writer, and any published works (3 pages maximum)
– Expressions of interest – this could be letters or emails received from publishers. (maximum 3 pages)

TIP: It may be useful to have answers written in a separate word document that can be copied and pasted to the online form so that you have time to edit thoughtful answers. 

Section 3. Acceptance of grant

If successful, applicants acknowledge and agree to the following:

  1. The award will be used for the purpose/project for which it was awarded.
  2. Recipient will participate in any media exposure reasonably requested by CLNZ or NZSA and provide a photograph for publicity purposes.
    Acknowledgement will be made in the resulting publication(s) produced by the recipient and a complimentary copy provided to CLNZ. Specific reference: Recipient of a (applicable year) Writers’ Award from Copyright Licensing New Zealand and New Zealand Society of Authors. The acknowledgement needs to feature in the imprint, together with the CLNZ logo. CLNZ Grant Acknowledgment Guidelines for recipients
  3. In the week of the announcement of the Writers’ Award, the recipient will be paid $25,000 (by direct credit to a nominated bank account). The nominal period for the Writers’ Award is January to December in the year following the award being made. Any variation to this timeframe will need to be agreed, in advance, with CLNZ. Applications must be for work that has not yet been completed and costs that have not yet been incurred.
  4. Following the completion of each project stage as outlined in the application, the recipient will provide CLNZ with a short report detailing the work that has been completed.
  5. In addition to these reports, at the completion of the third stage of work, a letter from a publisher confirming a contract to publish the work will be provided to CLNZ. This letter will disclose a delivery date for a final draft and a projected date of publication. In the absence of a publisher’s letter, the recipient will notify CLNZ as soon as a date of publication is known in order that CLNZ may be involved in pre-launch publicity. These reports can be emailed to CLNZ.
  6. Recipient acknowledges that CLNZ reserves the right to modify or withhold any payments to be made under this award or to require a refund of all or part of the award funds, if it, in CLNZ’s sole discretion, deems that:
    -The recipient has not fully complied with the conditions of this award;
    -The recipient’s actions, whether intentional or accidental, have or may, bring CLNZ, NZSA and/or the Writers’ Award into disrepute.
  7. Any taxes (including any income tax, GST and any others) that may be due in relation to receipt of the Writers’ Award is the responsibility of the recipient.

Section 4. Eligibility and conditions of entry

The applicant is solely responsible for ensuring that their entry meets the eligibility and conditions of entry outlined here. Any queries regarding eligibility including interpretation of eligibility, conditions of entry and selection criteria should be directed to NZSA by email.

  1. Applicant must be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident and be a writer of proven merit.
  2. To qualify, the work must be for original writing of a new work of non-fiction, including education works. The resulting work should be likely to be accepted by a publisher for publication.
  3. Applications must be for work that has not yet been completed and costs that have not yet been incurred.
  4. Applications may be made by joint authors, however one author must be named as the Lead Author and be the “Applicant” for the purposes of the award and who will also be the award recipient. CLNZ and NZSA will not be involved in, nor responsible for, any agreements, negotiations or disputes between joint authors.
  5. The recipient of the award may be expected to accept the award and introduce their project at a formal presentation event. Travel costs for the recipient, if any, will be paid for and arranged by CLNZ. During the time between the successful applicant being notified of their success and being presented with the award, it is expected that strict confidentiality will be maintained
  6. The period of the award is nominally from January to December of the year following the announcement of the award and payment will be made as one lump sum in the week following the announcement.
  7. Applications for projects of national or significant local interest or which add significantly to the field or genre on the subject will be favoured by the selection panel.
  8. Submissions for entries must be made online and are open from 9am Friday 31 May 2024 to 4pm Monday 3 July 2024. Once your entry has been submitted, you will receive confirmation to the email address supplied.
  9. The selection panel’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Any attempt to contact members of the selection panel will render the application ineligible. It is not possible to provide individual feedback to applicants.