The 2018 PRIZE FOR EXPERIMENTAL NON-FICTION, brought to you by the lifted brow and rmit's non/fictionlab


The Lifted Brow & RMIT non/fictionLab Prize for Experimental Non-fiction aims to unearth new, audacious, authentic and/or inauthentic voices from both Australia and the world.

This prize seeks work that is unlike any other. We want to hear from writers we’ve never read before, and we want writers we already know and love to challenge themselves to create work unlike any they’ve previously produced.


First prize is AU$5000 + publication in The Lifted Brow
Two runners-up will each receive AU$500 and discussion with editors w/r/t publication of their pieces


Nadja Spiegelman, Ander Monson and Ellena Savage


May 31st, 2018


5000 words

Submissions to this prize need to be able to be published on the printed page. We applaud the current focus and fascination with boundary-pushing non-fiction that is published online, but we still believe there’s scope to further experiment on the page, using facts, maybe-facts, words from life, journals, journalism, collage, theory, photography, illustration, tricks, arguments, etc. The essay, as the end of experience, is a malleable form, and we want to celebrate that with this prize.

What is ‘experimental non-fiction’? Like all non-fiction writing it is steeped in facts, real events and real people, with the aim of communicating information, argument, and truth. It differs from traditional non-fiction in that it tries to convey its meaning using unorthodox form, or style, or voice, or point-of-view, or etc. The best pieces of experimental non-fiction are those in which any unorthodox element deepens the meaning and authenticity of the subject matter.

Submit your entry.



Entries are welcome from writers anywhere in the world. We particularly encourage people who identify as queer and/or trans and/or of any colour, religion, or gender, and/or have a disability, and/or are rad and excellent and canny, to apply. There is no age limit.

Online submissions only. No hard copies. Deadline is midnight AEST on Thursday May 31st, 2018. Late submissions will not be accepted. In a short cover letter, please include: your name, address, phone number, email address, the title of piece, its word count, a one-paragraph bio, and a one-paragraph synopsis of the piece.

All submissions will be read blind, meaning that your submission will be assessed without your name or any biographical information attached to it. As such, your name must not appear anywhere in the document or in the name of the file. The file name should only include the title of the piece.

Each entry must be accompanied by an entry fee of AU$7. All entry fees go directly to the running of the prize. This fee is waived for subscribers to The Lifted Brow and also for current RMIT University students and RMIT University alumni. TLB staff are not eligible to enter. RMIT staff may enter as they are not in any way involved in the reading process.

Due to the large number of submissions, The Lifted Brow editorial staff will take responsibility for the initial reading stage, during which a shortlist is decided upon. That shortlist of pieces is what the judges will read. Entries must be a single piece of up to 5,000 words, written in English (any footnotes or endnotes should be included in that word count). Please make your entry legible.

All entries are final. No revisions are accepted. Multiple entries are permitted, each with an entry fee. Entries must be original works written by an individual author or a collaboration between authors, and must not infringe upon anyone’s copyright. Entries should not be on offer to other publications or prizes or anthologies for the duration of the prize. Previously published, prize-winning, or broadcast work will not be accepted. (Previous online posting constitutes prior publication.)

If an entrant elects to withdraw an entry, the entry fee will not be refunded. Copyright remains with all entrants, including the winner.

A longlist will be announced in mid-July, followed by a shortlist in mid-August, followed by the announcement of the overall winner with the publication of The Lifted Brow Edition 39 in September 2018. The judges’ decision is final, and no correspondence will be entred into about the judgements or the judging process. Only shortlisted entrants and the winner will be notified. No feedback will be given on entries. TLB reserves the right not to award a prize.


The Judges

Nadja Spiegelman  is the author of the memoir   I’m Supposed to Protect You From All This. The daughter of   Maus  author Art Spiegelman and   New Yorker  art director Francoise Mouly, she grew up in New York City, and now divides her time between Paris and Brooklyn.

Ander Monson  is the author of six published books of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry, with two more forthcoming. A finalist for the National Book Critics Circle award and the New York Public Library Young Lions award, he is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in General Nonfiction, the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers award in Nonfiction, the Graywolf Prize in Nonfiction, the Annie Dillard prize in Creative Nonfiction, and a John C Zacharis prize from Ploughshares. His story 'Reduce Your Likelihood of Murder' won the World’s Best Short-Short Story Contest, and his work has been anthologised in the   Best American Essays. He’s received fellowships from the Christopher Isherwood Foundation and the Howard Foundation. He is the president of the Tucson Poetry Festival, the editor and publisher of the journal   DIAGRAM  and the New Michigan Press, and the founder of the website   Essay Daily.

Ellena Savage    is an Australian lyric essayist, editor, teacher, and PhD candidate. She is from Melbourne, via Sydney, regional New South Wales, and Athens. Ellena's  essays, poems, and short stories have been published widely in small places. She is a former editor of The Lifted Brow. Her chapbook   Yellow City    is forthcoming with The Atlas Review in July, 2018, and she is working on her debut collection of essays   Blueberries.