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The Northern Writers’ Awards are now closed for entry.

Follow these steps when making your application

1

Read the list of available awards below to help you decide which award best suits your writing. Remember that unless stated otherwise for a particular award, you may only enter for one category.

2

Carefully read the eligibility criteria for the award you have chosen to ensure that you can apply for it. The Awards are only open to writers based in the North of England.

3

Read the entry questions carefully. You may save a draft of your submission in the submissions portal, however, it is highly recommended that you draft your answers offline initially so that you don’t lose any work.

4

Prepare your synopsis and writing sample carefully so that they are ready to upload. Once submitted, your application can no longer be edited.

5

Use the Frequently Asked Questions to guide you while you make your application. Most queries will be answered here, but if you can’t find what you’re looking for, please contact us. Our website also includes various resources that may be useful as you construct your application.

Dates and Details

  • The winners of the 2021 Northern Writers’ Awards will be announced during the week of 5 July 2021. The 2021 announcement may take place virtually. We expect winners to participate in the announcements as fully as possible.
  • Some winners will be invited to take part in professional-development sessions with independent publisher Oneworld and the Madeleine Milburn Agency, and receive a special development session from the Society of Authors. These events may take place virtually.
  • Fiction winners will be invited to New Writing North’s Pitching Workshop and Talent Party, should it be possible to host these events in 2021. Further information will be shared with the winners on receipt of their awards.
  • All successful and unsuccessful applicants will hear from us by 8 June 2021.

Hachette Children’s Novel Award

The award

The Hachette Children’s Novel Award is open to debut writers of middle-grade children’s fiction and early teen fiction.

We accept all kinds of children’s and early teen fiction, including but not limited to historical fiction, crime, science fiction, romance and fantasy. Please do not submit collections of short stories or individual short stories.

In terms of target age group, we are looking for fiction for children aged 7-11 (at the younger end of this bracket the word count can be 15-30K; at the older end, approx. 40K), or teen fiction for readers aged 11-13 (50-65K words), this should still exclude high-end or explicit content including swearing, sex and drugs. Please read the Eligibility guidelines carefully to see if you can enter this award.

There is one winner for this award. The winning writer will receive a publishing contract from Hachette Children’s Books granting Hachette world rights in all languages, including audio, film, TV and merchandising, with an advance of £5,000 to be set against royalties. Royalties will be on Hachette Children’s Group’s standard terms. Additionally, the winner will receive access to New Writing North’s programmes of support. HCG reserves the right to offer an additional publishing deal to any of the shortlisted titles, on the same terms as the winning entry.

This award will be judged by Zanib Mian, Hellie Ogden, Tig Wallace and Georgina Mitchell.

Entry details

To enter writers should submit a sample of 3000-6000 words and a synopsis of up to 600 words. Please answer the application questions.

Writers longlisted for this award will be informed by 22 March 2021 and asked to submit a complete manuscript by 7 April 2021.

The NorthBound Book Award

The NorthBound Book Award, supported by the University of York and in partnership with Saraband, is open to writers of fiction or narrative non-fiction who have completed a full manuscript. New, emerging or established writers may apply for this award. Please read the Eligibility carefully for further details.

There is one winner for this award. The award is for a full-length work. The winning writer will receive an advance against royalties of £5000, publication with Saraband and access to New Writing North’s development activities. Royalties will be paid on Saraband’s standard terms.

The award celebrates the innovative spirit of independent publishing and the richness of writing from the North of England. Saraband is a leading award-winning independent publisher, now based in North West England, whose list includes Graeme Macrae Burnet, Chitra Ramaswamy and Karen Lloyd.

This award will be judged by Sara Hunt (Saraband), Polly Atkin, JT Welsch (University of York) and Will Mackie (New Writing North).

Entry details

To enter writers should submit a full manuscript and a synopsis of up to 600 words. Please answer the application questions.

Northern Writers’ Awards for Poetry

The award

Winning poets will receive awards of between £2000 and £5000 to support them to develop work in progress and to complete promising collections. These awards are open to applications from both emerging and established poets but poets yet to publish a full-length collection should consider entering the Northern Debut Awards: Poetry.

Winners will also receive membership of the Society of Authors and access to New Writing North’s development programmes.

This award will be judged by: Andrew McMillan.

Entry details

To enter poets should submit up to 30 poems or an equivalent amount of longer sequences. Each submission of work must be accompanied by a commentary of up to 600 words that describes the proposed project. Please answer the application questions.

Northern Debut Awards: Poetry

The award

This programme will offer a package of support to three poets who are yet to publish a full-length collection. Poets who have published a pamphlet but not a collection may apply.

The programme has been devised by New Writing North to offer structured and developmental support to poets with a work in progress showing potential for publication. Each poet will include a bursary of £2000; mentoring; membership of the Society of Authors; and access to other developmental opportunites offered by New Writing North.

This award will be judged by Andrew McMillan.

Entry details

To enter poets should submit up to 30 poems or an equivalent amount of longer sequences. Each submission of work must be accompanied by a commentary that describes the proposed project.

Northern Writers’ Awards for Fiction and Narrative Non-Fiction

The award

Winners will receive awards of between £2000 and £5000 to support them to develop work in progress and to complete promising manuscripts. These awards are open to applications from both emerging and established writers, but we recommend that as-yet-unpublished writers consider entering the Northern Debut Awards: Fiction programme or the Hachette Children’s Novel Award. Please read the Eligibility criteria carefully to see if you can enter this award.

Winners will receive membership of the Society of Authors and access to New Writing North’s programme of development activities.

This award will be judged by: Cathy Rentzenbrink and Jacob Ross.

Entry details

To enter writers should submit a sample of 3000–6000 words and a synopsis of up to 600 words. Please answer the application questions.

Northern Debut Awards: Fiction and Narrative Non-Fiction

This programme will offer a package of support to four writers of fiction, young adult fiction or narrative non-fiction who are yet to publish a full-length novel or collection of short stories.

The programme has been devised by New Writing North to offer structured and developmental support to writers with a work in progress showing potential for publication. Each writer’s package will include a bursary of £2000; mentoring from a practising writer or publishing professional; membership of the Society of Authors; a session with Oneworld Publications; a session with the Madeleine Milburn Agency; and an invitation to New Writing North’s Pitching Workshop and Summer Talent Party (should it be possible for these to take place).

There are four places available. One place will be made in the name of Andrea Badenoch. The Andrea Badenoch Award is open to debut writers over the age of 42 who self-identify as women or non-binary. Please read the Eligibility criteria for this award.

This award will be judged by: Cathy Rentzenbrink and Jacob Ross, except for the Andrea Badenoch Award, which will be judged by Debbie Taylor and Margaret Wilkinson in consultation with the family of Andrea Badenoch.

Entry details

To enter writers should submit a sample of 3000–6000 words and a synopsis of up to 600 words. Please answer the application questions.

Sid Chaplin Award

The Sid Chaplin Award is for writers of fiction and narrative non-fiction who identify as originating from a working-class background. Submissions may be on any theme or topic and can include memoir, novels, young-adult writing and short-story collections, and works of literary essays. Unpublished, emerging and established writers may apply for this award.

The winning writer will receive a bursary of £2000; a manuscript appraisal from The Literary Consultancy; advisory sessions from the writer Michael Chaplin; an introduction to the North Agency; membership of the Society of Authors; and access to New Writing North’s development activities.

The winner of this award will also receive a week’s retreat at Calder Cottage in the Northumbrian coastal village of Embleton. The award-winning fully equipped cottage overlooks Embleton Bay and Dunstanburgh Castle. The retreat is offered by EmbleArts, a new venture from Emble, a local farming business. The stay must be taken between Friday 29 October and Friday 5 November 2021. The retreat should be used to progress work on the project submitted for the award. We will also ask the writer to write a short piece for Emble and New Writing North’s blog on their experiences during the retreat. To find out more about the cottage and Emble, please visit https://emble.org.  We are hugely grateful for EmbleArts’ support for this award.

The award is made in memory of the writer Sid Chaplin (1916–1986) whose novels such as The Day of the Sardine and The Watchers and the Watched are celebrated for their stylistic mastery and their vivid depictions of working-class life in North East England.

We are very grateful to the Chaplin family, the North Agency and Newcastle University for their support of this award.

The award will be judged by: the writer Eleanor Thom alongside representatives of the North Agency, the Chaplin family and Newcastle University.

Entry details

To enter writers should submit a sample of 3000–6000 words and a synopsis and answer the application questions.

TLC Free Reads

The award

For this award, we welcome entries from people who may have faced barriers to seeing their work progress for financial reasons or issues connected to disability, ethnicity and/or sexuality. For more information, see TLC’s website.

In conjunction with The Literary Consultancy we are offering up to three poets, prose writers and children’s writers the chance to receive an in-depth editorial report on their work in progress, worth up to £300 each. You must be working towards a full-length work (e.g. a novel, work of creative non-fiction, poetry collection or short-story collection), but your manuscript does not have to be complete. Unpublished and previously published writers may enter work in this category.

In addition to the Free Read, writers will receive a £500 bursary from New Writing North; sessions with Oneworld Publications and the Madeleine Milburn Agency; and access to New Writing North’s developmental activities.

This award will be judged by: our Northern Writers’ Awards judges and representatives of New Writing North.

Entry details

To enter writers should submit and extract of between 3000 and 6000 words and a synopsis of up to 600 words. Please answer the application questions. Please note, you may enter this award in addition to one other award, except for either of the Channel 4 Writing for Television Awards.

Arvon Award

The award

In conjunction with Arvon, we are offering a prose writer the chance to undertake an Arvon course. This may be either a tutored or untutored retreat, depending on what you think will be of most benefit to you. Both children’s writers and writers for adults may apply for this award. We are grateful to Arvon for their continued support of this award.

This award will be judged by: New Writing North and Arvon

Entry details

To enter writers should submit a sample of 3000–6000 words and a synopsis of up to 600 words. Please answer the application questions.

Northumbria University Student and Alumni Award

The award

This award, worth £2000, is open to writers of fiction and poetry who are either final-year students or recent graduates from any discipline at Northumbria University who are based in the North of England.

The award is open to students and graduates from any discipline who are: final-year undergraduates; current postgraduate students or alumni who have graduated from an undergraduate or postgraduate programme at Northumbria University within the last ten years.

A shortlist will be selected by Northumbria University staff with the winner chosen by judges Cathy Rentzenbrink and Jacob Ross.

Entry details

To enter writers should submit a sample of 3000–6000 words and a synopsis of up to 600 words. Please answer the application questions.

Channel 4 Writing for Television Awards – Lime Pictures

The award

There is one award available. The winner will be offered the unique chance to work closely with Lime Pictures through a mentoring placement on the serial drama Hollyoaks and a bursary worth £3000.

No writing experience is necessary. For these awards, we want to discover new writers from Northern England who would like to work in television. We especially welcome submissions from people of colour and those from LGBTQ+, disabled and lower socio-economic backgrounds, who are particularly under-represented in this area of the TV industry.

This award will be judged by: Lime Pictures, Channel 4 and New Writing North. A shortlist of candidates will be invited for interview in late May 2021.

Entry details

To enter writers should submit an outline of an original storyline (up to 400 words) and a sample script of no more than ten pages, and answer the application questions. The storyline does not have to be connected to Hollyoaks but should demonstrate the suitability of your style as a writer for the show. Please note that writers who enter this award may also enter for Channel 4 Writing for Television Awards – Bonafide Films (see below).

Channel 4 Writing for Television Awards – Bonafide Films

The award

There is one award available. The winner will be offered the unique chance to work closely with Bonafide Films and receive a mentoring placement. The award is worth £3000.

No writing experience is necessary. For this award, we want to discover new writers from Northern England who would like to work in television. We especially welcome submissions from people of colour and those from LGBTQ+, disabled and lower socio-economic backgrounds, who are particularly under-represented in this area of the TV industry.

This award will be judged by: Bonafide Films, Channel 4 and New Writing North. A shortlist of candidates will be invited for interview in late May 2021.

Entry details

To enter writers should submit an outline of an original TV drama storyline (up to 400 words) and a sample script of no more than ten pages, and answer the application questions. Please note that writers who enter this award may also enter for Channel 4 Writing for Television Awards – Lime Pictures (see above)

Word Factory Apprentice Award

The award

We are delighted to be working with the Word Factory to offer a short story writer based in the North access to the Word Factory Apprentice programme. This opportunity is open to writers who have not yet published a full-length work of fiction (either novels or short story collections). Previously self-published writers and published authors from other genres such as non-fiction and poetry may apply.

The Word Factory Northern Apprentice will receive: mentoring from the writer Catherine Menon; a £1000 bursary from New Writing North; and access to Word Factory and New Writing North activities. More information about the Word Factory can be found at www.thewordfactory.tv.

This award will be judged by: The Word Factory and New Writing North

Entry details

To enter writers should submit a short story of up to 2000 words and answer the application questions.

Young Northern Writer Award

The award

There are two age categories, Years 7-9 and Years 10+. Entrants must be 18 years or under on Thursday 26 November 2020 when the awards open. 

The winner in each category will receive prize money of £150. Up to two writers may also be highly commended across the age categories. 

Young writers can submit creative work in any form including prose, poetry, scriptwriting, blogging, songwriting and rap.

Applications are accepted in two ways:

This award will be shortlisted by New Writing North, with the final winner selected by our Northern Writers’ Awards judges.

Entry details

To enter writers must submit a sample of their creative work (up to a maximum of 2000 words).

Matthew Hale Award

The award

The Matthew Hale Award is open to young writers who show promise but lack the opportunity to pursue their talent. This could be for a number of reasons, including physical or mental ill-health, family circumstances, lack of access to cultural opportunities or any other reasons.

This award is for a young person in Year 7 upwards (up to a maximum of 18 years of age). Entrants must be 18 years or under on Thursday 26 November 2020 when the awards open. 

Applications are accepted in two ways:

We accept writing in any creative form including prose, poetry, scriptwriting, blogging, songwriting and rap.

This award consists of a package of support created by New Writing North and is worth £500. The package will be tailored to the specific interests and needs of the winner, but could include anything from one-on-one mentoring with a professional writer, enrollment on a course, books, theatre tickets or a pass to a literature festival. Nominations for recipients of this award are invited from parents, teachers or other adults.

This award will be shortlisted by New Writing North, with the final winner selected by our Northern Writers’ Awards judges.

Entry details

To enter writers must submit a sample of your creative work (up to a maximum of 2000 words).

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