Monday, 16 March 2020

News from Omega Writers: 2020 Conference, CALEB Award, and SA Writer's Day

It's Iola Goulton here, and I'm sharing the latest news from Omega Writers:

South Australian Omega Writer's Day

The South Australian members of Omega Writers are planning their first meetup on 2 May. Christy Award-winning author David Rawlings will be speaking, along with James Cooper, who coordinates the Tabor College creative writing programme.

Time: 9am - 4pm, 2 May 2020

Location: Edwardstown Baptist Church, Dorene St & Rothesay Ave, St Marys SA 5042.

The cost for the day will be $25, which will include lunch, and bookings are essential.

Click here for more information, and to book.

2020 Omega Writers Conference

Plans are still going ahead for conference amid the ever-changing news around the COVID-19 pandemic. Omega Writers President Meredith Resce says:
We hope that we will not have to cancel. We hope that the swift action taken by our health authorities will see a containment of this virus, and that we may continue along as planned.
Our committee are mindful of the situation, but we are not making any calls one way or the other, at present, but will most certainly make a call in good time to reduce the liability as much as possible. Please stand by. Be sensible according to all health advice being issued, and keep in faith.
The original plan was to open conference registrations on 1 April, but this is now likely to be delayed given that both Australia and New Zealand now require visitors to self-isolate for fourteen days after arrival. As Meredith says, the committee are discussing the issue, and we pray they will have wisdom as they think through the issues.

We will profile the nonfiction and other speakers next month.

2020 CALEB Award

The 2020 CALEB Award open for entries on Wednesday 1 April, and entries will close on Thursday 30 April.

As the coordinator of the Awards, I’d like to encourage all members of the Australasian Christian Writers community to get involved. Today I’m going to share three ways you can be involved:
  • Entry opportunities
  • Judging opportunities
  • Sponsorship opportunities

Entry Opportunities

Entry to the CALEB Award is open to all Australian and New Zealand Christian writers (wherever they live), or writers living in Australia or New Zealand.

The 2020 Published Award will have the following categories:

  • Fiction (romance and women’s fiction)
  • Children’s fiction (early reader to middle grade i.e. 5-12 years, and no picture books)
  • Non-fiction excluding memoir/biography
The 2020 Published Awards are open to books with a 2019 or 2018 copyright date, subject to the book not having previously been entered. We will accept entries with a 2017 copyright date only if the title could not have been entered in the last two years because that category was not offered.

The 2020 Unpublished Award is for young adult fiction across all genres.

We will ask entrants to state their genre so we’re able to match them with judges who enjoy and feel capable judging that genre. We don’t want to give a romance title to a judge who loathes romance, or a fantasy title to a judge who hates fantasy.

About the CALEB Award

The CALEB Award is run by Omega Writers although books don’t have to be overtly Christian.

Some of our winners have been “defiantly Christian”. Others have been great books by Christian writers with underlying Christian themes like love, honesty, or the importance of family.

While we do accept entries that aren’t specifically aimed at the Christian market, we do ask that all entrants state their agreement with the Omega Writers Statement of Belief. We also remind entrants that we are judging books based on a Christian world view, so general market titles are unlikely to score well.

Judging Opportunities

Writing contests need entrants, but they also need judges. Some contests require entrants to judge in another category. We don’t, but judging is a great way of giving back to the Australasian Christian writing community.
  • If you’re entering the Unpublished award, then we’d love to have you judge the Published award.
  • If you write fiction and you’re entering one of the Published awards, then we’d love to have you judge the Unpublished award.
If you’re not entering the CALEB, then we’d love to have you judge whatever category you like!

What qualifications do I need to be a judge?

You need to be a keen reader of the genre you’re offering to judge. That’s pretty much it.

If you’re applying to judge the Unpublished contest, then it would be great if you’re also a writer, editor, or publisher, as we want to give our Unpublished entrants quality feedback.

Also, the CALEB Award is a Christian contest, so we do ask that judges agree with the Omega Writers Statement of Belief. But you don't have to be a member of Omega writers to judge the CALEB, or to enter.

What do judges have to do?

First-round judges will have approximately two months to judge between three and ten entries in the category and genre of their choice (so if you hate reading young adult romance, we’ll do our best to ensure you don’t get any romance entries). If you can only judge three entries, we’ll send you three. If you can judge more, we’ll send you more.

The Unpublished contest is the first 10,000 words of the manuscript, plus a 1,000-word synopsis.

Depending on how fast you read and how much feedback you give, judging should take between 30 and 60 minutes per entry.

Those judging the Unpublished contest will be asked to provide written feedback to support their scores, and this feedback will be given to the entrants. Feedback is one of the main reasons to enter an Unpublished contest, so we do ask that judges give fair, considered, and prayerful feedback. Click here to download a draft score sheet.

The first round of the Published contest is based on the 50 pages (or 25%) of the book for other categories (although you’re welcome to read the entire book). Judges will be asked to complete a score sheet for each entry, but will not have to provide written feedback, and score sheets will not be returned to the entrants.

Second-round judges will have approximately two months to pick a winner from between three and five finalists. They will be asked to read and judge the full book or manuscript (entries are capped at 120,000 words).

If you'd like to judge, click here and complete the form.

Sponsorship Opportunities

If you or your business would like to sponsor a category of the CALEB Award by offering a category prize (of either cash or a service), then please contact the Omega Writers Sponsorship team.

How will you get involved in the 2020 CALEB Award?

Do you have any questions I haven’t answered? If so, please leave a comment.


  1. Re judging: Which months are for the first round and which months for the second round?
    Who decides which will be the 5 shortlisted books from the first round? Is it entirely from scores or do the judges get to discuss the books together and choose the 5.
    Are the first round and second judges ever the same?
    Kind regards

    1. Hi Rosanne

      Great questions!

      I've only organised the contest last year and this year, so will answer on that basis:

      First-round judging will be May/June.
      Final-round judging will be July/August.

      The shortlisted books are the top-scoring books from each category. There will probably be three finalists, unless there is a tie.

      Some judges do judge both rounds, but in different categories.