Ada Cambridge Writing Prizes

The Adas 2019

Watch this space!

Submission openings for the 2019 Ada Cambridge Writing Prizes are coming soon.

Our committee are currently putting the finishing touches on the 2019 entry guidelines.

Subscribe to our Willylitfest e-news to be advised of opening dates.

The Adas 2018

See winning and shortlisted entries for 2018.



The Ada Cambridge Biographical Prose Prize, Poetry Prize and The Young Adas were named after one of Australia’s finest colonial writers. Ada Cambridge 1844 – 1926, (later Ada Cross) was an English-born Australian writer. She began writing poetry in her late teens, and in her early twenties published two volumes of hymns, with a collection of poems entitled Echoes following in 1869. In 1870, she married a curate destined for colonial service, George Frederick Cross, and the couple sailed for Melbourne later that year.

Overall she wrote more than twenty-five works of fiction, three volumes of poetry and two autobiographical works. Many of her novels were serialised in Australian newspapers and were never published in book form. As the wife of the Rev’d George Cross she lived in the Vicarage at Holy Trinity, Williamstown from 1893-1909, where she wrote some of her most significant work. You can read more about Ada Cambridge here.

Festival President Angela Altair writes “Tucked away in a shadowy corner of the Williamstown Town Hall foyer is a small plaque put up in 1946 to honour one of Williamstown’s most famous daughters, Ada Cambridge.Ada was the Anglican vicar’s wife who became one of Australia’s finest colonial writers. Her name is immortalised in the Williamstown Literary Festival’s annual writing competitions.

Ada loved Williamstown. She spent 16 happy years here, penning some of her most memorable lines at her first floor desk in the Holy Trinity church vicarage, overlooking Hobsons Bay. “And now here I was living by the sea at last, – the desire of my heart from childhood,” she wrote in her famous memoir 30 Years in Australia. Check out her inscription on the stone wall in front of Williamstown Library.

The Ada Cambridge short story and poetry awards are a top attraction of Williamstown’s famous book festival, which is the biggest of its kind in the West and the longest-running. The Prizes give aspiring writers and poets from the West the chance to win cash prizes and expose their work to a wider audience.”

The Ada Cambridge prizes are open to writers and poets who live, work or study in the western suburbs of Melbourne.

The Young Adas were newly created in 2014 for young people aged 14 to 18 years. All prizes seek to support aspiring writers and poets of the western suburbs with a cash prize and by exposing their work to a wider audience.

The competitions close on Monday 5 March 2018 and the winners will be announced at the Williamstown Literary Festival.





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