The Blake-Beckett Trust Scholarship

The Blake-Beckett Trust Scholarship is offered annually to an Australian author to provide them with valuable time to work on a current manuscript. It is offered by the Blake-Beckett Trust, thanks to the generosity of one of our long-term members and supporters, Wendy Beckett. The prize pool has been increased to $50,000 for 2023. The winner of the Scholarship will receive AU$35,000 and the runner-up will receive AU$15,000.

The Scholarship is open to writers of adult fiction in ANY genre, and writers of biography. Works of poetry, memoir, autobiography and children’s writing (including YA) are not eligible for this Scholarship.

To enter you must be a Full member of the ASA and have previously published a minimum of two books. These two books can be in any genre or category, but they must have been traditionally published.

Applicants must have a manuscript underway and be able to outline how they would benefit from this fellowship.

Key dates

Applications open

23 August 2023, 9am AEST

Applications close

6 October 2023, 5pm AEDT

Announcement of the winner

29 November 2023

Application elements

The scholarship is open to only current Full members of the ASA. Not a member? Join here. Associate members can upgrade to Full membership here.

Applicants will be asked to provide two documents: a statement and a sample.

The statement consists of:

  • (a) no more than 500 words explaining how this grant of money would benefit you;
  • (b) your bio, including an overview of your publishing history, of no more than 150 words;
  • (c) a synopsis of your Manuscript of no more than 250 words

The sample consists of:

  • (d) a small sample of your Manuscript of no more than 5 pages.

Documents must be submitted in 12 point, double-spaced in Word Document format.

2023 Assessors

How to apply

  1. Please read the Terms and Conditions carefully and ensure your work is eligible.
  2. Complete and submit the online application form. No paper or email submissions will be accepted.

Past winners

On behalf of the Blake-Beckett Trust, the Australian Society of Authors is thrilled to announce the winner of the 2022 Blake-Beckett Trust Scholarship.

This year’s applications were assessed by Shankari Chandran and Jennifer Mills, who selected the three shortlisted applicants:

Ashley Hay

Gretchen Shirm

Julienne van Loon

We would like to introduce Wendy Beckett of the Blake-Beckett Trust to announce the winner of the 2022 Scholarship, and exciting news for next year’s Scholarship.

Assessor’s Comments

The judges were impressed by the exceptionally high standard of entries and felt that each of three shortlisted authors would have been a worthy winner.

Ashley Hay’s The Running Dream is an intriguing exploration of the subconscious in the era of climate crisis. The writing demonstrates a sophisticated project that promises to contribute meaningfully to the growing body of Australian climate fiction. Hay deftly navigates the shifting space between anxiety and optimism, resignation and resistance, with a cast of engaging and surprising characters.

Gretchen Shirm’s Blue Chair is an exciting work of testimonial fiction about the impacts of war crimes, based on her experiences working at the International Criminal Tribunal. A well-developed and deeply considered proposal which positions Australian characters in a global context. The Blue Chair explores a terrible period in recent history using these specific injustices to interrogate the universal and ongoing trauma of war.

Julienne van Loon’s Who is the city for? engages with ideas that are deeply relevant to contemporary democracy, such as the housing crisis, public space, intersectional privilege and community life. Interesting, engaging writing with a strong political impact, the extract demonstrates the power of literature in activism. The project is ambitious in its intellectual reach without losing any intimacy in its story-telling.

Congratulations to Ashley Hay, recipient of the 2022 Blake-Beckett Trust Scholarship!

About the Winner

Ashley Hay’s work has been praised for its ‘intelligent scrutiny of the human psyche’, ‘a tenderness that is deeply compelling’ and its ‘simple grace’. Her previous novels – The Body in the CloudsThe Railwayman’s Wife and A Hundred Small Lessons – have received various prizes and nominations and been published internationally and in translation; a revised and expanded edition of her narrative non-fiction Gum: The Story of Eucalypts and Their Champions, was published in 2021. She works as a writer, editor, facilitator and mentor, and has published in journals and anthologies including CosmosThe GuardianReading Like an Australian Writer and Living in the Anthropocene. Between 2018 and 2022 she was the editor of Griffith Review.

Four shortlisted applicants were selected for the 2021 Blake-Beckett Trust Scholarship: Michelle Aung Thin, Kate Holden, Gretchen Shirm and Laura Woollett.


Michelle Aung Thin is the recipient of the 2021 Blake-Beckett Trust Scholarship with her winning entry The Japanese Photographer.

The shortlisted applicants for the 2020 Blake-Beckett Trust Scholarship are Aoife Clifford, Eleanor Limprecht and Mark Smith.


Eleanor Limprecht is the recipient of the 2020 Blake-Beckett Trust Scholarship with her winning entry The Coast.

The shortlist for the 2019 inaugural Blake-Beckett Trust scholarship included Shankari Chandran, Leah Kaminsky and Julienne van Loon.


The winner was announced as Shankari Chandran at the ASA Christmas Party on 11 December 2019.