Ampersand Prize Shortlist 2022

4 Oct 2022 | Hardie Grant Books


Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing is thrilled to announce the shortlist for our 2022 Ampersand Prize for unpublished young adult and middle-grade manuscripts. 

The five shortlisted manuscripts and their authors are: 


Find the 2022 winner here


The Boy Maeve by Kai Ash (YA) 

This beguiling, gripping YA fantasy follows a fourteen-year-old trans boy called Maeve, whose relationship with his adoptive family is upended when he learns that his biological father is alive, and wants to take him back to the Otherworld where Maeve was born.  

Kai Ash (he/him) is a trans autistic writer. Based in Brisbane, he has been shortlisted for the Lane Cove Literary Awards 2021 and Lord Mayor’s Creative Writing Awards 2020. He is a 2022 mentee in the ASA/CA Award Mentorship Program. 

Twitter: @micci_ash 


Maria Petranelli is Prepared for Anything (Except This) by Elisa Chenoweth (YA) 

Looking for Alibrandi meets Arrested Development in this outrageously funny, tender-hearted, screwball YA comedy about an overbearing Italian-Australian family and their only daughter’s quest to strike out on her own. 

Elisa Chenoweth (she/her) is a high school teacher from Adelaide. She is of Italian-Australian heritage, and enjoys writing about her religious and cultural upbringing in a comedic style. She lives with her wife Kylie and as many dogs as Kylie can get away with (currently four). 


The Nose: Batthew Aromascent and the Missing Corpse Flower by Ella Mulvey and John Roebuck (MG) 

When the world’s largest flower goes missing, even the mouth-breathers are upset – not to mention the Noses and petal heads. Luckily, Batthew Aromascent, 10-year-old heir to famed fragrance house Olfactory, and his best friend Lavender, are on the case and ready for adventure. 

Ella Mulvey (she/her) and John Roebuck (he/him) are both teachers and writers. Ella is completing the Associate degree of Writing and Editing at RMIT and has published one picture book, The Rabbit-Hole Golf Course. John is a high school media teacher, film critic and founder of the ReelGood Film Festival. 


Inked by Karen Wasson (MG, Graphic Novel) 

A laugh-out-loud funny, enemies-to-besties middle-grade graphic novel about a pompous talking octopus called Otto, and shy 12-year-old Sid, who just wants him to go away. 

Karen Wasson (she/her) is an emerging children’s author based in Melbourne. She has a degree in Sociology and an advanced diploma in Film and Television Production. She has worked in children’s television, as a freelance copywriter and has owned and run her own small business.  

Instagram: @karenjwasson_writes 


Love, Ruby by Tamara Hajdu (YA) 

A tense, insightful and sensitive portrayal of a student-teacher relationship, which is quickly revealed to be both predatory and dangerous, and explored through a series of emails between the student and her favourite author.  

Tamara Hajdu (she/her) began writing in 2019. Since then, she's studied writing at Faber Academy and the Australian Writers' Centre. She works in a public library and lives on the Gold Coast 


The winner of the Ampersand Prize will be announced at midday on Monday 17th October, and will receive an advance and publishing contract from Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing. The previous recipient, H.S. Valley, published her winning novel – Tim Te Maro and the Subterranean Heartsick Blues – earlier this year.