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First Pages Pitch Contest

23 October 2021 | 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Enjoy our signature TWC First Pages pitch contest with $200 prize money on offer. ‘First pages’ from aspiring authors are read by a narrator to industry experts who will provide a critique of chosen submissions. The session will provide other attendees with a chance to learn what attracts the attention of agents and publishers when seeking new historical fiction. Entrants will remain anonymous other than the winner of the contest. Our judges are Meredith Curnow (Penguin Random House), Gaby Naher (Left Bank Literary Agency), and Sophie Masson (Eagle Books). Rachel Nightingale will act as narrator.


The contest will be recorded to enable other writers in the audience to gain the benefit of advice provided by the panel.

Submission Details

Please email the following documents marked ‘HNSA First Pages’ to contact@hnsa.org.au  by Midnight 15 October AEST*

  • Cover sheet with your name and booking numbers for your HNSA 2021 conference and First Pages tickets
  • First 400 words from your manuscript
  • Include your title in a word.doc file
  • Do not place your name on the excerpt

Purchase of a weekend conference or day ticket is a precondition to entering the contest.

*HNSA reserves the right to refund your money and allocate your place to the next person in the waiting list if the deadline is not met.

Preference will be given to early bird registrants.

Limit: 8 persons

Cost: $15

The Panellists

Rachel Nightingale (Narrator)

Rachel Nightingale is an author, award-winning playwright, educator and actor. With a passion for storytelling and the theatre, it was only natural that her first fantasy series, the Tales of Tarya trilogy, would centre on both. She has also co-authored Mandala: Journeys Within the Circle, with artist Karen Scott. Having survived improv theatre, travelled the world and immersed herself endlessly in research and creative practice, she often finds herself at the mercy of stories that demand to be written. She lives in regional Australia with her family, a very bossy cat and the cutest dog in the world. For further information:

Meredith Curnow

Meredith Curnow is a publisher at Penguin Random House where she publishes fiction and non fiction. For further information:

Sophie Masson

Born in Indonesia of French parents Sophie Masson AM is the award-winning author of over 70 books, for children, young adults and adults, many of which are in the historical novel genre. These include the bestselling award-winner The Hunt for Ned Kelly (Scholastic Australia, children’s) and the genre-bending Forest of Dreams(Penguin/Random House, adult). Forthcoming in 2022 is Sydney under Attack(Scholastic Australia, children’s) Sophie is also a founding partner and publishing director of award-winning small publisher, Christmas Press, a children’s/YA specialist, which has published historical novels for children, by established and emerging authors, under its Eagle Books imprint. For more information:

Gaby Naher

Gaby is a literary agent with over 30 years experience in the book industry. Her clients include Stella-prize-winning, Heather Rose, New York Times #1 bestseller, Candice Fox and Dr Norman Swan. Gaby is one of the directors of Left Bank Literary Agency. She has worked as a publicist in Sydney, London and New York. She is the author of four books and has a Doctorate of Creative Arts. For further information:




23 October 2021
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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