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

The prize opens every year in March and entries close in May. Writers can submit pieces up to 5000 words or equivalent.


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


2019: Timmah Ball, Chris Kraus, Quinn Eades

2018: Nadja Spiegelman, Ander Monson, Ellena Savage

2017: Claudia La Rocco, Wayne Koestenbaum, Eileen Myles, Leslie Jamison, Fiona Wright

2016: Helen Macdonald, Dodie Bellamy, Kate Zambreno, Maria Tumarkin

2015: John D’Agata, Daniel Mallory Ortberg, Rebecca Giggs


2019: ‘TRETINOIN’ by Jean Bachoura

2018: ‘big beautiful female theory’ by Eloise Grills

2017: ‘An Architecture of Early Motherhood (and Independence)’, by Stephanie Guest and Kate Riggs

2016: ‘Trashman Loves Maree’ by W.J.P. Newnham

2015: ‘Humans Pretending to be Computers Pretending to be Humans’ by Oscar Schwartz

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 approach/method, or etc. The very best pieces of experimental non-fiction are those in which any unorthodox element adds richly to the meaning and authenticity of the subject matter – and even that it would be difficult to imagine the piece being successful without the experimenting.

Thanks to the Copyright Agency's Cultural Fund and RMIT University's non/fictionLab for the funding of the prize.

All questions and queries can be directed to