How advanced does my work need to be to enter?
Poetry and prose: Competition is high for the awards so please ensure that your work is of the highest possible standard before entering it. We would not expect writers to enter the first drafts of their work, or to enter work that had not been adequately spell-checked or proofread. We don’t expect that everyone who enters will have completed a full first draft of a novel or poetry collection but we would expect entrants to be well on the way to doing so. If you win an award we would hope that within 12 months of winning you would have completed your work.
Writing for television awards: You do not need to have written anything prior to entering for these awards.
Should I put my name on the extract?
No, please don’t. All our awards are judged anonymously.
Can I include some previously published poems/short stories in my submission?
Yes, if you’ve published a few stories or poems in magazine and anthologies these can be included as part of your entry. Please be sure to add an acknowledgement to each so we can see where they’ve appeared previously. Remember that we are judging the full-length work – your collection of stories or poetry – and it is this as a whole that must be previously unpublished.
What constitutes a synopsis for a collection of poetry or short stories?
The synopsis should demonstrate the unifying theme or subject of your work. You may wish to explain how you envisage the collection being structured, which could be through chronology, theme or tone.
What should I say in my biography?
Your biography should detail your writing experience to date and any successes that you have had. Please detail any published/produced work and note whether your work has been published in magazines or online. You might also like to say a little about when you started to write, how long you have been writing and how long you have been working on this current project. We do not require a detailed life story, or a list of all your educational qualifications.
What should I say in my application?
Please answer each awards question as closely as possible and stay within the word count.
Do all the awards include a cash element?
All of the awards have a cash value and many include a cash award. Please read the specific descriptions of each award to see in detail how they work. Please note that the Channel 4 Writing for Television Awards are bursary-based awards. The winners of these awards will receive bursaries to cover the cost of them participating in developmental projects.
Do any of the award winners receive mentoring?
Yes, several do. The Northern Debut Awards for Poetry, Fiction and Narrative Non-Fiction and the Andrea Badenoch Award include mentoring from experienced writers. Mentors are not chosen from an existing pool but selected on the basis of how their skills and experience match up with the winning writers’ work.
The Sid Chaplin Award will include a period of mentoring with a representative of the North Agency.
The Word Factory Apprentice Award includes a sustained period of short-story-specific mentoring.
The Channel 4 Writing for Television Awards include mentoring as part of the package of developmental opportunities that the winners receive.
Please read the information sheets on each award for further info.
Award winners discuss their work with New Writing North staff upon winning an award. At this meeting we will try and identify the best way for us to support the development of your work. Some writers use part of their awards cash prize to fund mentoring programmes, supported by New Writing North. We can advise on how to find a mentor and help to structure and deliver a mentoring programme.
What if I win but cannot come to the awards ceremony?
There will be an event of some kind to celebrate the award winners in June 2021. We would hope the winners would be available to take part in some form – whether this be in person or as part of a digital celebration.
Can I apply for money for a project?
No. We do not fund residencies, touring work or literary projects. If you are looking for support for a literary project the first port of call should be the Grants for the Arts programme at Arts Council England.
Can I use my award money to buy equipment?
We would rather writers used awards funding to support their time to write through buying time off from work commitments, childcare or to fund creative retreats. Please do not make explicit asks for technical equipment in your submission as this will weaken your application.
I’m entering the award for serial drama. Does my sample script have to be for a Hollyoaks scene?
Your script does not necessarily have to be connected to Hollyoaks or the storyline you are submitting. You should enter what you feel best represents your voice as a writer and showcases your use of dialogue.
What are the pitching workshop and the Summer Talent Party?
In previous years, following the announcement of the awards in Newcastle upon Tyne, we host a pitching workshop and a Summer Talent Party. The pitching workshop is designed to help writers to understand how to present their work in a professional context and to overcome any fears about how to network successfully and the Summer Talent Party is an event in London for literary agents and publishers.
We currently can’t confirm the details but we will be programming events and activities for the winning writers to take part in during 2021-22. We will share details of these with the winners at a later date.
How can I protect my intellectual property when making a submission?
By submitting work for an award you are agreeing to it being read by awards sifters, judges and staff at New Writing North. The copyright of your work stays with you at all times and New Writing North does not exert or ask for any rights over your work at any point in the process.
Why do you only accept submissions online?
Due to the amount of submissions we receive, it is more manageable to accept digital applications. We use an online portal called Submittable which is an external company that many other organisations use. If you have submitted to any other programme that uses Submittable, you may already have an account. We advise you to submit via a computer rather than a mobile device, but if that isn’t an option for you we recommend using the Submittable app.
What happens if I go over the word limit for my entry?
The word limit for each award is a guide. Don’t worry if you go slightly over (or under) the limit in order to submit a complete chapter, but please be as close as possible.