Announcing the Erica Bell Foundation Literature Award

The Tasmanian Writers’ Centre is very proud to be associated with this new award, offering $10,000 for an unpublished manuscript by a Tasmanian writer, in memory of Dr Erica Bell. 

Such was the impact the late Dr Erica Bell had on Tasmania’s medical and literary world, her husband has established a Foundation in her name to celebrate excellence in Tasmanian literature and medical research.

The Erica Bell Foundation was unveiled today, comprising of Tasmania’s largest annual cash prizes of $10,000 to be awarded to the winners of the Erica Bell Foundation Medical Research Award and the Erica Bell Foundation Literature Award.

Erica Bell Foundation founder and Erica’s husband, Dr Bastian Seidel, said the Foundation was established to celebrate excellence in literature and medical research in Tasmania and to honour the outstanding achievements of Erica Bell, by awarding annual cash prizes to an emerging novelist and an emerging medical researcher.

“The two awards represent the highest annual awards of their kind in Tasmania, with each winner receiving $10,000, each runner-up receiving $1,000, and the second runners-up receiving $500,” Dr Seidel said.

“I wanted to create the Erica Bell Foundation to both honour and recognise excellence in the two disciplines in which Erica was both passionate about, and excelled in – that being academia and literature.

“Erica published over 100 academic research papers and five books during her 10 years at the University of Tasmania, as well as publishing two historical novels.

“Her first novel, The Voyage of the Shuckenoor, was launched at the 2008 Melbourne Writers Festival, while her second novel Enzam and the Just Prince was published just one week before her sudden passing in July 2014.

“Erica also worked at the cutting edge of medical research and was deeply committed to her academic work and the state of Tasmania. She was working as an Associate Professor at the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre at the University of Tasmania at the time of her passing, aged 52.

“I have been overwhelmed by the support I have received in establishing the Foundation so soon after Erica’s passing.

“We have been successful in attracting a highly competent and dedicated governance board and an incredible list of high profile Tasmanians to sit on the judging panels to select the best and brightest.

“Importantly, the Erica Bell Foundation Medical Research Award is supported in-kind by the University of Tasmania (Faculty of Health), while the Erica Bell Foundation Literature Award is supported in-kind by The Tasmanian Writers’ Centre.”

Tasmanian Writers’ Centre Director Chris Gallagher said she was thrilled to support the Erica Bell Foundation in announcing this new annual unpublished manuscript award for Tasmanian writers.

“The Writers’ Centre will oversee the judging process, awarding the prize to the most promising work and the one which will benefit most from this opportunity,’ Ms Gallagher said.

“I am also pleased to announce the judges for the 2014 Erica Bell Foundation Literature Award, Tasmanian writers Lian Tanner and Rohan Wilson.

“The journey to creating an inspiring novel can be so very challenging. It requires you to be very tenacious, have time, space and inspiration and just the right kind of support. Tasmania offers many of these things and now there is extra incentive and assistance.

“Just as Hannah Kent benefited from the national unpublished manuscript award for Burial Rites, a Tasmanian writer has access to the same opportunity. We have many talented writers and this award will really make a difference.

“I would encourage Tasmania’s writers to be bold and ambitious….we look forward to receiving your manuscript.”

Applications for the Erica Bell Foundation Medical Research Award and the Erica Bell Foundation Literature Award open on 1 October and close on 31 October 2014.

For more information about the Erica Bell Foundation or to submit your application please visit the foundation’s website here or email

The inaugural winners of the Erica Bell Foundation awards will be announced at ceremony on to be held on Hobart on Friday, 5 December 2014.