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Heads up Territory writers and wizards of the written word, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and polish up any unpublished projects, because entries for the 2023 NT Literary Awards are open!

By Kate Conway

For over 35 years, the annual competition has celebrated the artistry of local wordsmiths across an array of categories including short story, creative non-fiction, poetry, theatre and more, with a prize pool of free memberships, masterclasses and over $5000 in cash up for grabs. Not bad at all.

Prolific local novelist, playwright and screenwriter Sean Guy won the Brown’s Mart Theatre Award last year for his theatre script, Under the Table, and says the nod was a milestone in his career.

“It was just about the best feeling of my adult life. I’ve never won an award as a writer before, except for a few short stories when I was a teenager, but as an adult professional writer, that was the first one,” he says.

After submission, the play was performed at a sold out run during last year’s Darwin Fringe Festival, followed by a further three nights due to audience demand. This year, Guy put his work out to theatre companies around Australia, and it was recently performed in Melbourne with more theatre groups interested in his quirky whodunnit.

While he’s previously had work picked up by interstate theatres, Guy acknowledges the value taking out the prestigious award can bring.

“You cannot overstate how important an award like this is for local writers.

It’s the biggest one for unproduced work … That kind of award and recognition, it’s not even about the money, [it’s about] being able to go to interstate theatres and say ‘hey, I won the biggest NT award for theatre writing’ it just makes a huge difference. It’s a massive kick start to a career.”

Whether you’re an established writer with a back catalogue of unpublished pieces to draw from, or an emerging talent at the early stages of your career, everyone is encouraged to enter. If you’ve got a story to tell, submit your entry and make the most of this incredible platform. According to Guy, the benefits of entering are endless.

“The worst thing that will happen is you come out of it with a finished piece of work. Or you might get some feedback. Even if you’re not shortlisted, then at least you’ll have something ready that you can send off to the next award, you can show your friends, or you can keep developing it for next year. There is no downside to entering an award.”

NT Literary Awards

Thumbnail & Header: 2022 NT Literary Awards Winners
Inset: Sean with Cj from Brown's Mart

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