Lit Market Lab

Writers SA is excited to announce a state industry first, the Lit Market Lab. In March 2022 in Adelaide, we will connect 20 aspiring and emerging South Australian writers with representatives from the Australian publishing industry over an intensive weekend to forge professional relationships, grow networks and—most importantly—pitch their books.

Joining us will be:

Nicola Robinson, HQ, HarperCollins
Robert Watkins, Ultimo Press
Alex Adsett, Alex Adsett Literary Agency
Melanie Ostell, Melanie Ostell Literary Agency

…and more to be announced.

Writers SA is now accepting applications from unpublished writers with a completed manuscript in any form or genre, and those with only a single publication and no current representation. We especially encourage applications from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers, writers with disability, culturally and linguistically diverse writers, and those living in outer suburban, regional and remote areas. See below for more information about what each professional is looking for.

*Please note: applications for Lit Market Lab are now closed and successful applicants have been contacted*

Applications close 11:59pm on Monday January 10, 2022. The Lit Market Lab is supported by Arts South Australia.


Rachel Bin Salleh, Magabala Books (WA)

No longer able to attend.

Robert Watkins, Ultimo Press (NSW)

Currently interested in contemporary literary fiction and contemporary reading group fiction. ‘Also keen to read psychological thrillers, but not looking for crime that sits outside what might be considered a psychological thriller (procedurals, mystery, traditional outback crime etc). I will read historical literary fiction if it has themes that feel contemporary! Ps I also like short fiction – but only if the collection has a unifying theme across the collection.’

Kelly Fagen, Allen and Unwin (NSW)

No longer able to attend

Nicola Robinson, HQ, HarperCollins (NSW)

Open to crime, memoir, rom-com and women’s fiction. Crime is a major interest – Nicola has worked with Dervla McTiernan, Tara Moss, Sarah Barrie and Caroline Overington, among others.

Sci-fi and fantasy must be high concept. ‘For example, I’d be happy to look at futuristic fiction set within our own world (like Kate Mildenhall’s The Mother Fault or Margaret Morgan’s The Second Cure) but not other-world stories. It’s much the same with fantasy – I’m happy with Gothic or magical realism elements but not the whole fantasy world.’

Not open to YA at this time.


Alex Adsett, Alex Adsett Literary Agency (QLD)

Seeking: Crime or mystery, romance, science fiction or fantasy (except urban fantasy), commercial fiction, literary fiction (with a strong narrative), narrative nonfiction, young adult, or middle grade fiction. Particularly looking for BIPOC authors or those from marginalised backgrounds.

Not seeking: Comedic SciFi Fantasy or crime, or any kind of satire or parody; no short stories, no poetry, no works that have already been published or self-published. No straight memoir, unless there is a really great hook. No urban fantasy, unless there is a genuinely fresh perspective.

Melanie Ostell, Melanie Ostell Literary Agency (VIC)

‘I’m keen to unearth distinctive voices and wonderful stories in commercial fiction, crime, literary, historical fiction, narrative non-fiction, memoir and only interested in select YA and middle grade. No microfiction, expansive fantasy series, poetry or plays.’

Grace Heifetz, Leftbank Literary (NSW)

No longer able to attend.

Applicants must: 

  • Have a completed and polished manuscript not currently under consideration or contract
  • Be previously unpublished, be unpublished in the last ten years, or, have one full length novel or collection published but not be under contract or represented for a second novel or collection*
  • Be a permanent resident living in South Australia

Applications must include:

  • Biography (300 words)
  • Synopsis and/or summary
  • The impact this opportunity will have on your writing career
  • The genre you are writing in and word count of your manuscript
  • Your dream publisher if there were no barriers and why
  • Completed manuscript as an attachment***
  • If the manuscript has been previously submitted to anyone on the list of attending professionals, and if so, please advise where and the year.

This program aims to provide opportunity to writers who are not always reflected in the literary establishment. We strongly encourage applications from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander writers, culturally and linguistically diverse writers, writers with disability, working class writers, writers living in the outer suburbs, and those in regional or remote areas.

Terms and Conditions:

* Previously published includes self-published or traditionally published books, including full-length collections of poetry or short stories.

**A travel and accommodation subsidy can be provided for regional or remote applicants. Please note where you will be travelling from in your application.

***Manuscript attachment will not be supplied to, or viewed by, anyone outside of Writers SA.

Taking part in the Literary Market Lab weekend does not guarantee publication or that agency representation will be offered, however the opportunity to make industry connections will be invaluable. In addition to inclusion in this program, each participant will be offered a one year Writers SA membership (or membership renewal). Attendance over the three days, including some meals, is free to the 20 successful applicants.

Covid-19 contingency

Writers SA is committed to the safety of our community. If a Covid-19 outbreak or lockdown should occur, the event will be postponed or presented in a digital format. 

If a participant is required to self-isolate or their movement is restricted at the time of the event, Writers SA will endeavour to accommodate attendance through digital or other means. 

If Covid-19 restricts the participation of our interstate guests, their sessions will be postponed or presented digitally. 

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