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The Northern Writers’ Awards are open for submissions from 20 November 2019 until 11.59pm on 6 February 2020.

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

  • It is essential that all winning writers are available to attend the Northern Writers’ Awards ceremony. This will be held in Newcastle upon Tyne on 24 June 2020. Although we reserve the right to withdraw an award for writers unable to attend, anyone with concerns about attending the ceremony should contact us directly so that we can work out the best arrangements for your individual circumstances.
  • Some fiction winners will be invited to attend the Pitching Workshop in Newcastle upon Tyne on 4 July 2020 and the London Talent Party on 8 July 2020. The cost of attending these events is not included in the awards and must be met by the writers attending. Please keep these dates free.
  • Additionally, some winners will be invited on professional-development visits to the offices of the leading London-based independent publisher Oneworld and the Madeleine Milburn Agency, and receive a special development session from The Society of Authors.
  • All successful and unsuccessful applicants will hear back from us by 5 June 2020.

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 an advance of £5000 and publication by Hachette Children’s Books. Additionally, the winner will receive access to New Writing North’s programmes of support.

This award will be judged by: Chloe Seager, Kate Agar, Mitch Johnson and Gary Deane

Entry details

To enter writers should submit a sample of 3000-6000 words and a synopsis and answer the application questions. Writers shortlisted for this award will be informed by 9 March 2020 and asked at this point to submit a complete manuscript by 17 March 2020.

The NorthBound Book Award

The NorthBound Book Award, 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 and the winning writer will receive £5000, a guarantee of publication with Saraband and access to New Writing North’s development activities.

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: representatives of Saraband and New Writing North.

Entry details

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

Northern Writers’ Awards for Poetry

The award

Winning poets will receive awards of between £1000 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. Winners may also receive membership of the Society of Authors, should they meet the Society’s eligibility criteria.

This award will be judged by: Vahni Capildeo

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 £1000 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 programme or the Hachette Children’s Novel Award. Please read the Eligibility criteria carefully to see if you can enter this award. Winners may also receive membership of the Society of Authors, should they meet the Society’s eligibility criteria, and access to New Writing North’s programme of development activities.

This award will be judged by: Amy Liptrot and Kris Doyle

Entry details

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

Northern Debut Awards programme

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 productive 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 visit to Oneworld Publications; a visit to the Madeleine Milburn Agency, including one-to-one development sessions; and an invitation to New Writing North’s Pitching Workshop and Summer Talent Party.

There are four places available. One place will be made in the name of Andrea Badenoch to a debut female writer over the age of 42.

This award will be judged by: Amy Liptrot and Kris Doyle except for the Andrea Badenoch Award, which will be judged by Debbie Taylor, Margaret Wilkinson and the family of Andrea Badenoch.

Entry details

To enter writers should submit a sample of 3000–6000 words and a synopsis and 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 invitations to New Writing North’s Pitching Workshop and London Talent Party.

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 and poignant depictions of working-class life in North East England.

We are 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 Naomi Booth 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; the option of visits to Oneworld Publications and the Madeleine Milburn Agency; and an invitation to New Writing North’s Pitching Workshop and London Talent Party.

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 answer the application questions. Please note, you may enter this award in addition to one other award.

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 and 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 Amy Liptrot and Kris Doyle.

Entry details

To enter writers should submit a sample of 3000–6000 words and a synopsis and 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 Black and Minority Ethnic, LGBT and disabled writers, 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.

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 Black and Minority Ethnic, LGBT and disabled writers, 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.

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)

Young Northern Writer Award

The award

This award of £200 is for a young writer aged 12–18. The young person can write in any creative form including prose, poetry, scriptwriting, blogging, songwriting and rap.

There is one award in this category, although up to two writers may also be highly commended.

Applications are accepted in two ways:

  • through nomination by an adult.
  • by application directly from the young person.

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 aged between 12 and 18 years at the time of application.

Applications are accepted in two ways:

  • through nomination by an adult.
  • by application directly from the young person.

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).

Test Signal

The Opportunity

Please note: Test Signal is a separate opportunity to the Northern Writers’ Awards. You may apply for Test Signal in addition to any Northern Writers’ Awards category.

Test Signal is a new anthology by Dead Ink Books working in collaboration with New Writing North, Bloomsbury Publishing, and C&W Literary Agency to showcase writing from the North. Composed of contributions from both established and emerging authors, Test Signal aims to celebrate northern writing and create pathways into the industry.

New authors selected to feature in Test Signal will be paid for their contribution and offered a free consultation with an agent from C&W Literary Agency. There will also be a party with Bloomsbury Publishing to introduce all of the featured authors to editors and agents.

We’re looking for high-quality short fiction and narrative non-fiction that showcases the best writing talent in the North.

Please read the eligibility guidelines carefully.

All of the work selected to be featured in Test Signal will be chosen by a panel from Dead Ink Books, New Writing North, C&W, and Bloomsbury Publishing. The final responsibility for selecting submissions remains with Dead Ink and all decisions are final.

Entry details

We accept literary short fiction, literary genre short fiction and short narrative non-fiction for Test Signal. Please submit an entry of up to 5000 words.

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