HARDCOPY 2016 is currently closed for applications. If you have accepted a place in the program and have any questions or need more information, please don't hesitate to contact us via hardcopyPD@gmail.com or on (02) 6262 9191.

What’s this all about?
HARDCOPY is a unique, national professional development program that helps build the capacities, aptitudes and resources committed Australian writers need in order to reach their potential.
By creating an environment that is educative, vigorous and nurturing, HARDCOPY:

  • helps writers develop their manuscripts;
  • increases industry knowledge;
  • facilitates relationships between writers and publishing professionals; and
  • breaks down the barriers of location and geography.

In 2016 the program will focus on fiction manuscripts.

HARDCOPY does not specifically aim to have its participants achieve publication as a direct and immediate result of the program. Rather, HARDCOPY focuses on (1) manuscript development, (2) education about how the Australian publishing industry works, and (3) building connections and relationships within the industry/writing community. Any publication outcomes that may occur because of the program are considered an added bonus.

HARDCOPY aims to develop writers who will have longevity as Australian writers.

HARDCOPY is underpinned by the principle of pragmatic optimism: being aware of the challenges, but also being positive about the future.

HARDCOPY is a special initiative of the ACT Writers Centre and funded by the Australia Council for the Arts.

Who is HARDCOPY for?
HARDCOPY is open to writers from anywhere in Australia who are serious about their practice and have a manuscript in development.

By emerging we mean writers who are yet to have a novel-length work published by a recognised publisher (i.e. a publisher that is active, has editorial rigour, and enables distribution including through a website).

By serious we mean writers who are dedicated to the work they do: write regularly and frequently and perhaps are starting to build a list of publications in journals or magazines; seek and build on feedback; are patient and self-reflective; and aim to have the right project published at the right time by the right publisher.

Applicants should have confidence in their manuscript’s direction, and be excited about its ongoing development and how it might one day have a public life.

When you say ‘fiction’, what do you mean exactly?
By ‘fiction’ we mean literary fiction, genre fiction of any kind, and young-adult fiction if it’s for readers 16 years and over. Manuscripts for children and short story collections are not eligible.

What happens and when?
The Program comprises two rounds and three stages. Please note that all sessions are held in the ACT.

Round 1
applications selected by a panel of high-profile Australian writers and coordinated by the ACT Writers Centre

‘Towards the Best MS’ – – a three-day manuscript development intensive masterclass with professional freelance editor Nadine Davidoff

27-29 May 2016

A program reception will be held on the evening of Thursday 26 May


Manuscript development
(July-August) – writers work under their own steam to develop their manuscripts.

During this period the ACT Writers Centre facilitates a small number of digital conversations with established writers via Facebook. HARDCOPY participants may also establish writing groups in their home jurisdiction.

June – August 2016


‘Intro2Industry’ – three-day seminar on all facets of the publishing industry (e.g. contracts, copyright, knowing your market, e-publishing, social media etc).

9-11 September 2016. 

Round 2
applications selected by a high-profile professional literary agent

‘Going public’:

  • agents/publishers Q&A panels
  • one-on-one sessions with Australian agents and publishers to hear industry-level feedback

26-27 November 2016. 


— places for Round 1 are capped at 30 participants
— places for Round 2 are capped at 10 participants
— only those who participated in Round 1 are eligible to apply for Round 2
—important note: participants are not compelled to apply for Round 2 i.e. if a participant does not feel ready to get industry-level feedback, they may wish to not apply to be considered for this stage
— having access to Facebook will enable participants to engage with the closed HARDCOPY page, where program alumni share information and support each other; this will also enable participation in the digital discussions with established writers that are held during the program.

Who is on the Round 1 selection panel?
The Round 1 selection panel is comprised of the following highly regarded Australian authors: Robyn Cadwallader, Mark Henshaw, Irma Gold, and Craig Cormick.

Who is Nadine Davidoff?
Nadine has worked as a senior editor at Random House Australia and as a commissioning editor at Black Inc. She was also fiction editor for The Monthly magazine before starting her own freelance editing business in 2006. Her areas of interest include literary and popular fiction, general non-fiction, biography/memoir, travel narrative and health. Nadine is an honorary fellow at the Writing Centre for Scholars and Researchers at Melbourne University’s School of Graduate Research, a member of the NSW Writers’ Centre, the Writers Victoria, and a member of the Society of Editors. She lives in Melbourne.

Who are the participating agents and publishers?
The following are confirmed for HARDCOPY 2016's Going Public weekend in November: literary agents Curtis Brown Australia and Jacinta di Mase, and publishers Allen & Unwin, Black Inc., Finlay Lloyd, Penguin Random House, Text Publishing, Transit Lounge, and UQP. Please note: due to the fluid nature of publishing and the busyness of the industry, the mix of agents and publishers can change.

Anyone else involved in the program I should know about?
Mary Cunnane is a highly regarded former literary agent and has been involved with HARDCOPY as advisor since the program’s inception. Mary has worked in the publishing industry for more than 30 years both in the United States and Australia. Mary selected the 2016 Round 2 participants—together with former publisher/editor Craig Munro—and will attend the Going Public agents and publishers weekend in November to help the participating writers process the feedback received. For more, please visit http://marycunnane.com/about.html

Should your application be successful, the cost for Round 1 is $550 for current financial members of an Australian state/territory writers centre and $700 for those who aren’t members of an Australian writers centre. A small number of subsidised places are available—please indicate on your application if you would like to be considered for one of these. The cost for Round 2 is $100 but places are limited to 10; only those who have participated in Round 1 are eligible for Round 2. Please note that participants are responsible for their own travel and accommodation costs.

Okay, it all sounds great—how do I apply?
Prepare a 3-page expression of interest that includes the following:

  • a synopsis of your manuscript;
  • a statement about the development of the manuscript to date;
  • biographical statement (i.e. your writing activity/achievements);
  • what you hope to get out of being involved in HARDCOPY.

Expressions of interest that go over the 3-page limit will be deemed ineligible.

Attach a cover sheet that includes your name, address, daytime and evening phone numbers and email address. If you are a member of an Australian state/territory writers centre, please include your membership number. There will potentially be a limited number of subsidised spaces available – if you would like to apply for one of these places, please indicate this on your cover sheet along with the reasons why (i.e. student, recent graduate). Please also include the title of your manuscript on your cover sheet.

Attach 30-50 pages of your manuscript. Manuscripts must be presented in Times New Roman, 12 point, 1.5 spaced, with standard margins.

Email your expression of interest to hardcopyPD@gmail.com. Please do not send physical applications to the ACT Writers Centre.

Expressions of interest close 4pm Friday 11 March 2016. Extensions will not be granted, and applications received after the closing date/time will not be assessed.

What happens next?
Applications will be assessed by a highly qualified panel of published Australian fiction writers against the following criteria:

  • clarity of vision—is the core idea exciting and succinctly expressed?
  • originality of idea, voice, structure—how unique?
  • manuscript quality—is there sufficient life and energy in the prose to engage and move a reader?
  • development—how much work has already been done on the manuscript and how much work is yet to be done?
  • publishability—what is the likelihood that the manuscript will find a publisher and readership?

The panel’s decision, which is final, will be announced in late April, and we regret that the ACT Writers Centre will be unable to give feedback.

For more information
Please phone the ACT Writers Centre on 6262 9191 or email hardcopyPD@gmail.com 

The ACT Writers Centre is supported by the ACT Government. HARDCOPY is assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

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HARDCOPY is proudly developed and delivered at the Gorman Arts Centre, Canberra.

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