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 The Hage Award for First Nations Writers 

Sweatshop Literacy Movement is honoured to establish the inaugural First Nations mentorship program for emerging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers. The new award is proudly funded by Professor Ghassan Hage, in celebration of The Racial Politics of Australian Multiculturalism.

Over a period of 12 months, two First Nations writers will be awarded financial and in-kind support to develop a debut manuscript (fiction and/or nonfiction). 

Recipients will receive: 

  • A fee of $5,000.00 each to develop their debut manuscript.

  • Hot-desk and office resources at Sweatshop Literacy Movement for 12 months.

  • A mentorship with distinguished First Nations authors, Melissa Lucashenko or Tony Birch, who will oversee and nurture each recipient's journey for 12 months. 

  • Two online consultations with Ghassan Hage to discuss the progress of the award. 

  • Publishing, editing, networking and creative industry support from Sweatshop Founding Director, Michael Mohammed Ahmad, and General Manager, Winnie Dunn.

  • Successful applicants will have the option of meeting with mentors and Sweatshop staff online or in-person, depending on their access/mobility. 


  • Applicant must identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

  • Applicant must be an emerging writer (no previously published full-length books).

  • Applicant must be available for the entire duration of the mentorship, as well as any subsequent opportunities.

  • Recipient must work towards completing a full-length fiction or nonfiction manuscript.

  • Recipient must be able to respectfully and effectively collaborate with mentors throughout the duration of the mentorship, which includes accepting critical feedback and structural edits. 

Selection Process:

Submission deadline: 12 August 2024

Successful applicants will be notified: 12 September 2024

For more information, please contact:


Ghassan Hage

Ghassan Hage is professor of anthropology and social theory at the University of Melbourne. He is internationally renowned for his research on migration, on the intersection of racism, nationalism and colonialism, and for his development of critical anthropological theory. Along with the works re-published in The Racial Politics of Australian Multiculturalism, Hage’s most recent sole-authored books include: Alter-Politics: Critical Anthropology and the Radical Imagination, Is Racism an Environmental Threat? and The Diasporic Condition: Ethnographic Explorations of the Lebanese in the World.


Melissa Lucashenko

Melissa Lucashenko is a leading First Nations novelist. A Bundjalung woman, her work has been awarded the Queensland Deloitte Literary Prize, the Victorian Premier’s Prize for Fiction, and the Victorian Premier’s Award for Indigenous Writing. In 2019, Too Much Lip won the Miles Franklin Award, along with the Queensland Award for a Work of State Significance. Melissa is a Walkley Award winner for her Griffith Review essay on gendered poverty, 'Sinking Below Sight: Down and Out in Brisbane and Logan', and she is a founding member of the human rights organisation, Sisters Inside. Melissa’s most recent book is Edenglassie, a novel of Blak love and resistance in colonial Queensland.


Tony Birch

Tony Birch is the author of four novels, five short fiction collections, and two poetry books. In 2022 his book, Dark As Last Night was awarded the Christina Stead Literary Prize and the Steele Rudd Literary Award. The book was also shortlisted for the 2022 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Fiction. Tony's most recent book, Women and Children, won the 2024 Age Book of the Year Award.

Sweatshop Literacy Movement

Sweatshop is a nationally recognised grass-roots organisation that is devoted to empowering First Nations and culturally and linguistically diverse communities through reading, writing and critical thinking. Over the past decade, Sweatshop has mentored thousands of young writers across Australia and published a critically acclaimed catalogue of anthologies and single-authored works in prose, poetry and non-fiction. Sweatshop also produces podcasts, short films, book launches, readings and performances in partnership with writers' festivals and arts organisations throughout Australia. 



The Hage Award for First Nations Writers is proudly funded by Professor Ghassan Hage, with ongoing support from Sweatshop Literacy Movement and Diversity Arts Australia. The award is administered by an official steering committee, which includes Larissa Behrendt, Tony Birch, Jumana Bayeh, Randa Abdel-Fattah, Caroline Alcorso, Lena Nahlous and Winnie Dunn.


Please complete this short application form to express your interest. The form is a simple questionnaire that enables the steering committee for this award to learn about you and your practice. 

Please provide a sample of your fiction and/or nonfiction writing.

(500 - 1000 words max)

Upload File

Thanks for submitting!

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