Australia’s richest sci-fi screenwriting prize is open for entries

The John Hinde Award for Excellence in Science Fiction Writing offers $10,000 for the best produced script and professional support for the best unproduced script.
The Commons, Stan

Entries are now open for the 2021 John Hinde Award for Excellence in Science Fiction Writing. The prize is Australia’s most lucrative sci-fi screenwriting award, offering $10,000 for the best produced script of the previous year and professional support for the best unproduced script of 2021. 

The prize is awarded to both produced and unproduced scripts that ‘pushes the boundaries of our imagination, exploring the terrible, the exhilarating, and all the shades in-between.’ Entries are open until 27 August 2021. It is open to all members of the Australian Writer’s Guild (AWG), including Full, Associate, and Student members, and scripts for film, television, web series and interactive media are all eligible.

READ: ‘Two Hands’ TV series among Screen Australia’s 28 recipients of Story Development Funding

The John Hinde Award for Excellence was awarded last year to Shelley Birse for her gripping climate fiction series The Commons. In his four-star review of the series, Screenhub’s Anthony Morris said that The Commons ‘belongs to the classic science fiction tradition’ praising it as ‘‘grounded and gritty and all-too-plausible.’

Previous winners also include The AWGIE Award-winning multilinear narrative experience Eleven Eleven, the late Cris Jones’ feature The Death and Life of Otto Bloom, and Episode Five of Cleverman, written by Michael Miller.

In the unproduced category, both 2020 winner David Petersen and 2019 winner Steve Mitchell have been inducted into AWG’s Pathways Showcase, and continue to develop their projects. 2018 winner Georgina Love was awarded a Final Draft scholarship to attend the Rocaberti Writers’ Retreat in the south of France, and went on to win the Screencraft Screenwriters Fellowship.

Entries open Tuesday 27 July 2021 and close Friday 27 August 2021. More information is available through the Australian Writers Guild.

Jini Maxwell is a writer and curator who lives in Naarm. They are an assistant curator at ACMI, where they also host the Women & Non-binary gamers club. They write about videogames and the people who make them. You can find them on Twitter @astroblob