14 September, 2020
Four new audio projects have been selected as winners of the Australian Writers’ Guild and Audible’s On Air Podcast Writing Competition, presented with support from Screen Australia.
The current renaissance in audio storytelling has unlocked new and exciting possibilities for creatives. Podcasts have catapulted to the forefront of pop culture discussions, capturing the imaginations of millions. Now four Australian writers: Candice Bowers, Emme Hoy, India Dupre, and Michele Lee, will have their chance to develop exciting new stories in this thriving sector, sharing in $20,000 of development funding as winners of the On Air Podcast Writing Competition.
Characteristic of the enormous storytelling potential available in audio, each of the winning projects could not be more different. In How Do I Let You Die, award-winning playwright Michele Lee reflects with humour on her relationship with family, death and ghosts, while in Stripped: The Margaret Dupre Story, India Dupre tells the extraordinary true tale of a mother’s quest to be reunited with her children.
In the fiction category, Emme Hoy’s Left Behind takes audiences on a thrilling spiral into a darkly comedic and apocalyptic world, following a secretary tasked with solving her own murder while running hell’s propaganda division. Meanwhile, Candice Bowers’ hilarious Bottlo2560 is the audio-answer to the classic fall from grace narrative, in which a sommelier has to pick up the pieces of her life while working in her home-town bottle shop.
‘We were blown away by the response to On Air, both in the number of entries and the calibre and breadth of exciting ideas unearthed across the competition,’ said AWG’s Professional Development Manager Susie Hamilton. ‘The Guild is proud to be offering Australian writers tangible opportunities to develop work in this successful space, and we’re excited to see how each of the winning projects develops and finds its audience.
Ben Naparstek, Audible’s Head of Content for Audible Australia and New Zealand said, ‘It was a pleasure to collaborate with the Australian Writers’ Guild and Screen Australia for the On Air Podcast Writing Competition. The enthusiastic and considered response from talented Australian writers demonstrates just how many local creatives are now turning to the audio medium.’
The winning writers will now share in $20,000 development funding from Audible and Screen Australia, with the potential for their projects to form part of Audible’s original content program.
THE WINNING PROJECTS
Bottlo2560 by Candice Bowers [Fiction]
A queer sommelier has to move back to her home-town in Western Sydney after her fancy life falls apart and she finds herself working at the local bottle shop.
How Do I Let You Die by Michele Lee [Non-fiction]
A humorous autobiographical work from a Hmong writer about her relationship (and lack thereof) with her ageing parents, death and ghosts.
Left Behind by Emme Hoy [Fiction]
A secretary investigates her own murder whilst running hell’s propaganda division on an apocalyptic earth.
Stripped: The Margaret Dupre Story by India Dupre and Margaret Dupre [Non-fiction]
In 1977, after her three young British kids are abducted by the Australian Government and placed in work camps as part of a ‘Keep Australia White’ scheme, a shy yet determined mother becomes a stripper, kidnaps her children back and flees across Australia while the fixated government hunts her down.
On Air was developed by the Australian Writers’ Guild in collaboration with Audible, the world’s leading provider and producer of audiobooks and spoken word entertainment, and with development support from Screen Australia. The competition encouraged writers from across Australia to broaden their creative prospects and turn their screen and stage writing skills towards new avenues in the podcast space, expanding the scope of contemporary non-fiction and fiction audio storytelling.
‘It was a joy and privilege to sift through pitches from some of the best writers and audio creators in Australia,’ said the final judging panel. ‘We were faced with one of the best problems to have - the painful conundrum of whittling down the list to just a handful of winners from such a deep and varied field of submissions. If the productions live up to the ambition of the pitches sent in, each one of the winning and shortlisted audio narratives is going to be a great listen.’
Thirteen projects from 22 Australian writers have been shortlisted, with concepts ranging from spine-tingling true-crime thrillers, fresh comedies and fantastical sci-fi journeys to nuanced explorations of Australian society and reflections on family, justice and human rights. Each of the shortlisted projects is now available for producers to view on AWG’s prestigious Pathways Showcase.
ABOUT ON AIR
Launched in May 2020, On Air invited writers from across Australia to submit ideas for a 3-6 hour podcast concept of premium quality and global audience appeal, with a focus on strong narratives that attest to the power of audio storytelling to entertain and spark conversations.
Developed by the Australian Writers’ Guild in collaboration with Audible, the world’s leading provider and producer of audiobooks and spoken word entertainment, and with support from Screen Australia, the competition encouraged writers to broaden their creative prospects, expanding the scope of contemporary non-fiction and fiction audio storytelling.
On Air is managed and promoted by the Australian Writers’ Guild Ltd (ABN 38 002 563 500) and any queries relating to the competition should be directed to the Australian Writers' Guild at [email protected].
Audible Australia is dedicated to serving our Australian and New Zealand customers with audiobooks sold by Audible Australia Pty Ltd. Audible, the world’s leading provider and producer of audiobooks and spoken word entertainment, invented and commercialised the first digital audio player in 1997, and has since been at the forefront of the explosively growing world of spoken-word entertainment. In 2019, Audible Australia customers downloaded an average of 22 audiobooks during the year. Audible Australia content includes more than 400,000 audio titles from leading publishers, broadcasters, entertainers, magazine and newspaper publishers, and business information providers.
ABOUT THE AUSTRALIAN WRITERS’ GUILD
The Australian Writers’ Guild is the professional association for Australian screen and stage writers principally in film, television, theatre, radio and digital media and has protected and promoted their creative and professional interests for more than 50 years.
The Guild’s vision is to see stage and screen writers thrive as a dynamic and integral part of Australian storytelling: shaping, reflecting and enhancing the Australian cultural voice in all its diversity.
The Guild fights to improve professional standards, conditions and remuneration for Australian stage and screen writers, to pursue a thriving industry environment, and to protect and advance the creative rights of our members.