Hawkeye Manuscript Prize 2023 Winners Announced!

Now in its fourth year, the Hawkeye Manuscript Development Prize has proven fertile ground for uncovering new and emerging talent, with seven titles from previous Hawkeye Prizes published, and four more soon to be released.

The winner of the Hawkeye Manuscript Development Prize receives a coveted $2,500 editing package that comprises a structural edit with gold sponsor, Lauren Daniels from Brisbane Writers Workshop, followed by a line edit with Carolyn Martinez from Hawkeye Publishing. Lauren has over 100 published titles to her credit, and Carolyn has 20 years experience as a newspaper, magazine and book editor. Lauren and Carolyn co-authored the bestselling writing guide: Winning Short Story Competitions: Essential tools for the serious writer. Both editors are experienced writing competition judges.

Highly unusual for competitions of this size, all entrants to the Hawkeye Manuscript Development Prize receive judges’ feedback on their entry.

In case you missed it, you can read the LONGLIST and SHORTLIST from this year’s Hawkeye Manuscript Development Prize. These linked articles include judges’ comments on the 2023 field of entrants.

The judging panel this year was diverse. Authors Eileen O’Hely, Jack Roney and Paul Garrety, and Author Publicist Meesha Whittam, selected those entrants who were included on the Longlist. The longlist was then judged by Peta Carolan of Unfolded Edges to announce the shortlist. And authors Nicole Kelly, Jack Roney, Paul Garrety, along with Peta, enjoyed judging and robust discussion to select first, second, and third place from the five shortlisted entrants. Judges’ scores across the top five shortlisted were very close, validation of the quality of those manuscripts that rose to the top during the judging processes.

It is our honour to announce:

Third Place

Congratulations to Samantha Trayhurn for securing third place for her manuscript: The Curlew. The Curlew is a lyrical work of eco-fiction (55K words) with a metaphysical twist, that one judge described as, “Emotional, affecting and beautifulIly written –reminiscent of Lucy Treloar’s books.”

Second Place

Second place honours go to Jo Skinner and her manuscript The Truth About My Daughter. A 78K word women’s fiction told through two timelines, the narrative explores the love/hate relationship between two sisters and how it is shaped by their father’s coercive abuse and their mother’s secrets. Judges noted that The Truth About My Daughter is “a refreshing, immersive and compelling read about family drama, conflict, tragedy and redemption. The story is written to a very high standard. An engaging story, highly emotional and with a very satisfying ending.”


And the biggest announcement, the overall winner of the 2023 Hawkeye Manuscript Development Prize is Camille Booker for her gothic historical fiction, The Woman in the Waves, set on the south coast of NSW in 1921 – A mother’s life can be a good indication of a daughter’s… whether she makes the same choices, whether she is defined by the same fate.

Judges noted, “Powerful themes about a woman’s secrets and battles with mental illness. A murder mystery with an intriguing twist at the end. The historical setting brings added appeal and high commercial value.”

Camille Booker is a former Hawkeye Prize Runner Up for her epic since-published debut novel, What If You Fly?

Please join us in congratulating Camille Booker, Jo Skinner, and Samantha Trayhurn.

Congratulations to all those who shortlisted and longlisted in this year’s Manuscript Development Prize. You should all be celebrating your significant achievement in a strong field. Thank you to all who entered and provided strong storylines to showcase new and emerging talent. We hope the judges’ feedback assists you in achieving publication for your manuscript.

Thank You to This Year’s Judges

We are able to host the Hawkeye Manuscript Development Prize thanks to the time so graciously donated by our guest judges, and the structural edit prize sponsored by Brisbane Writers Workshop. If you would like to learn more about any of our judges or sponsors, please follow these links:

  1. Eileen O’Hely
  2. Jack Roney
  3. Peta Carolan
  4. Paul Garrety
  5. Nicole Kelly
  6. Lauren Daniels

Interested in sponsoring next year?

If your organisation is interested in sponsoring this important, not-for-profit, prize that provides an entry avenue to new and emerging talent, please contact us – we have opportunities for next year.

The 2023 Hawkeye Manuscript Development Prize is now open and closes on Friday, 15th December, 2023. Visit the competition page here.

2 comments to “Hawkeye Manuscript Prize 2023 Winners Announced!”

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  1. Jo Skinner - April 20, 2023 Reply

    Thanks so much to Hawkeye for the opportunity to enter the manuscript development prize. I am still on a high that my novel made the shortlist and then placed in this special competition. Writing a novel is such a huge undertaking, not unlike running a marathon. Months of solitary slog, the heart sink of feedback that involves completely rewriting your first draft, the joy of getting a character right, a scene word perfect, then more lonely hours of getting the rest of it down with the correct pacing, POV and tension. Submitting it is like entering a 42.2km. Just getting to the start line feels like a miracle. The joy of seeing your name on a long list or short list actually surpasses the runner’s high of completing a marathon, arms raised in victory. I am so appreciative to the judges, and to Hawkeye for seeing something worthwhile in my novel. It means the world. Lori Culnane once wrote, ‘Everything you ever wanted to know about yourself you learn in 42.2km.’ I think, this wisdom is actually even truer about writing a novel. I feel honoured to be alongside Camille and Samantha on the finisher’s podium. Yet I also know know that every person who submitted now knows so much more about themselves and what they are capable of because I too have been there, brushing myself off, rewriting and resubmitting. Thanks again for providing this wonderful platform for aspiring writers.

    • Carolyn Martinez - April 26, 2023 Reply

      Jo, thank you for your words, and thank you for sharing your wonderful manuscript with us. We will celebrate with you when we see your name on a book cover.

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