Debut Author Wins the 2020 Hawkeye Publishing Manuscript Development Prize

Winner of the 2020 Hawkeye Publishing Manuscript Development Prize is West Australian author Khaiah Thomson for Welcome to Blackwood.

Congratulations to West Australian author Khaiah Thomson, winner of the inaugural Hawkeye Publishing Manuscript Development Prize for her young adult manuscript Welcome to Blackwood.


Also deserving congratulations for their excellent work are runner-ups (listed in no particular order):

  • Camille Booker for Coffee & Peaches,
  • Nicole Kelly for Lament,
  • Robyn Neilson for Discovery Bay Women.

‘The field was encouragingly strong,’ Carolyn Martinez, Director of Hawkeye Publishing said. ‘Thirteen entrants from the field were long-listed based on the synopsis, marketing plan and first 50 pages of their manuscripts. Judges narrowed the field to four short-listed at which time full manuscripts were required. Welcome to Blackwood emerged as the winner. Thomson’s storylines and character development in her YA manuscript are riveting, and her book’s ending is compelling.’

The future for long-listed entrants

‘Writing a complete manuscript is an achievement in itself. Thank you to everyone who entered the inaugural Hawkeye Publishing Manuscript Development Prize. All thirteen long-listed entrants should be highly encouraged that judges deemed they have a manuscript destined for publication in some form, and the work should continue to be pursued and refined by those listed authors in particular,’ Martinez said.

Sequel sought

Thomson wins a full publishing package valued at $4,500. Martinez notes that due to the calibre of the manuscript Thomson has been offered the option of having Welcome to Blackwood and its sequel traditionally published by Hawkeye Publishing.

About the winner

Khaiah Thomson is a mother of two boys, avid reader, gamer and daydreamer. ‘Welcome to Blackwood was my response at a time when I’d binged on good YA fiction and had run out of novels to read; I decided to write one myself,’ Thomson said. ‘This book is a part of me, and I love each of the characters that have formed over the journey. Hawkeye Publishing has given me the opportunity to give them voice and I’m beyond excited to have won. I hope readers love Welcome to Blackwood as much as I do.’

About the judges and sponsor

‘We wish to thank our team of judges C. T. Mitchell, Kylie Kaden, Lauren Daniels, Silvana Nagl, Lynette Hammond, and Christine Hammond,’ Martinez said. ‘Their generous time offerings made it possible to offer the competition. This is a not-for-profit competition and we couldn’t have done it without our supporters. A big thank you also to Lauren Daniels and Brisbane Writers Workshop for sponsoring the winner’s Structural Edit.’

Upcoming competitions and opportunities

The Hawkeye Publishing Manuscript Development Prize for 2021 is now open. Entries close on 18 December 2020.

Also open is the Sydney Hammond Memorial Short Story Competition that closes on 1st August, 2020. This year’s theme is ‘if only’.

Your can read more about the team of professionals behind Hawkeye Publishing here. Hawkeye Publishing is currently open for submissions.

If you’d like the opportunity to work with industry professionals and volunteer as a competition judge or promoter, contact Carolyn Martinez through the contact form; include information about yourself and your writing experience.

The full list of long-listed entrants for the 2020 Hawkeye Publishing Manuscript Development prize included:

  1. Living Well With Pain by Gabriella Marie Kelly-Davies
  2. Discovery Bay Women by Robyn Neilson
  3. Tom Finch and the Black Lake by Sarah Maxwell
  4. Welcome to Blackwood by Khaiah Thomson
  5. John Hughes – No Ordinary Convict by Janine Wood
  6. Hope is My Second Name by Carolyn Mathews
  7. Coffee & Peaches by Camille Booker
  8. All For Her by Ashlee Warwick
  9. Home Brewed Vampire Bullets by Garth Jones
  10. Sleeping Dogs by Suzanne Frankham
  11. Lament by Nicole Kelly
  12. Lilian – Changes of Fate by Cherise Louise
  13. Dear Little Elvira by Elvira Davis

Carolyn Martinez

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