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Getting published

Writing prizes and opportunities

There are many awards and development schemes available for authors at all stages of their careers. Below is a list of monetary awards, sponsored retreats, mentorships and training opportunities.

If you're looking for help both in development or funding from organisations near you, find information about local support here.

Take a look through the opportunities for new writers:

Opportunities from Penguin Random House
From other organisations
For published writers
Writing retreats

For new writers

From Penguin Random House


WriteNow is run by Penguin Random House and aims to find, nurture and publish new writers from communities under-represented on the nation's bookshelves. It offers workshops and feedback, and includes the chance to join a year-long programme.

#Merky New Writers' Prize

#Merky Books is a home for underrepresented voices and provides a platform where their stories can be told, heard and uplifted. The winner of the New Writers’ Prize receives a publishing contract. All longlisted writers are invited to our Writers’ Camp, where they participate in writing workshops, panel talks, editorial one-to-ones, and meet the #Merky Books team.

Harvill Secker Young Translators' Prize

The Harvill Secker Young Translators’ Prize aims to recognise the achievements of young translators at the start of their careers and to encourage and support the next generation of literary translators. It focuses on a different language each prize year and is open to anyone between the ages of 18 and 34, with no more than one full-length translation published.

The Bodley Head / FT Essay Prize

The Bodley Head / FT Essay Prize aims to discover young talent from around the world in long-form essay writing. The competition runs every year and is open to anyone between 18 and 35 years old. Judges will be looking for a dynamic, authoritative and lively essay of no more than 3,500 words in English. It can be journalistic, a case study, wide-ranging or minutely focused.

Jonathan Cape's Graphic Short Story Prize

Jonathan Cape, together with Comica and The Observer, runs an annual competition for aspiring graphic novelists. The first prize is £1,000 and publication in The Observer New Review. The runner-up will receive £250 and their work will appear on

From other organisations

Bracken Bower Prize

The Financial Times and McKinsey want to encourage young authors to tackle emerging business themes, and asks entrants to submit a business book proposal. The prize aims to encourage a new generation of business writers, and has already seen a number of shortlisted and longlisted proposals emerge as published books. 

The Bath Novel Awards

The Bath Novel Award and The Bath Children’s Novel Award spotlight emerging writers, and are open to unpublished and independently published novelists worldwide.

The Breakthrough Writers' Programme

Curtis Brown Creative, supported by the Curtis Brown and C&W agencies, run a programme of creative writing courses, mentoring opportunities and scholarships for under-represented writers – with all opportunities fully funded for the writers taking part.

The Bridport Prize

The Bridport Prize has a number of categories: novel, poetry, short story and flash fiction. All the awards are for work which has not previously been published, while the novel award is only open to writers who are not represented by a literary agent.

The Bristol Short Story Prize

This is an annual international writing competition open to all published and unpublished, UK and non-UK based writers.

Costa Short Story Award

The Costa Short Story Award is for a single, previously unpublished short story of up to 4,000 words written in English. The competition is open to any writer, published or unpublished, aged 18 years or over and resident in the UK or Ireland.


The Women’s Prize Trust, NatWest, Curtis Brown Literary Agency and Curtis Brown Creative Writing School have partnered to create Discoveries, a unique initiative searching for the most talented and original new female writing voices in the UK and Ireland. The winner will be offered representation by Curtis Brown Literary Agency and a cash prize of £5,000.

Grow your Story

Hachette will offer 10 writers on the programme the opportunity to develop their adult fiction manuscript through online workshops led by industry professionals. Each writer will also be offered one-on-one mentorship with both an editor and agent for up to nine months.

The London Library Emerging Writers Programme

Geared towards supporting writers at the start of their careers, the Programme includes writing development masterclasses, literary networking opportunities, peer support and guidance in use of the Library’s resources. With its extensive open access book collection, dedicated writing spaces and its diverse community of established writers, the benefits of Library membership are very valuable. 

The London Writers’ Awards

This is a development programme run by Spread the Word, and aims to increase the number of writers from under-represented communities being taken up by agents and publishers. The awards support  30  London-based writers of  colour  and working class, LGBTQ+ and disabled writers  each year, and bursaries are available for writers in need. There is also an Access Fund for disabled writers. Writers on the awards scheme take part in group feedback sessions on their work, and also get one to one professional development sessions.

The Malorie Blackman Scholarships for Unheard Voices

City Lit’s Malorie Blackman Scholarships for Unheard Voices provide three annual awards worth up to £1000 each, to fund one year’s study within the Creative Writing department at City Lit. 

The Manchester Writing Competition

The Manchester Writing Competition for poetry and fiction, offers the UK’s biggest literary awards for unpublished work, with each category awarding £10,000.

The National Poetry Competition

The National Poetry Competition is one of the world’s most prestigous prizes for an unpublished poem of up to 40 lines, open to anyone 18 or over.

The Nine Dots Prize

The Nine Dots Prize is a prize for creative thinking that tackles contemporary societal issues. Entrants are asked to respond to a question in 3,000 words, with the winner receiving $100,000 to write a short book expanding on their ideas. The aim of the Prize is to promote, encourage and engage innovative thinking to address problems facing the modern world. Its name references the nine dots puzzle – a lateral thinking puzzle which can only be solved by thinking outside the box.

Queen Mary Wasafiri New Writing Prize

Run by Wasifiri, the magazine of international literature, in conjunction with Queen Mary University, this prize supports new writers.

The Royal Society of Literature V. S. Pritchett Short Story Prize

The annual prize of £1,000 goes to the best unpublished short story of the year. The winning entry is also published in Prospect magazine and the RSL Review.

Scottish Book Trust New Writers Awards

The New Writers Awards is an annual awards programme supporting individuals committed to developing their writing. The award includes a cash award, a week-long retreat, training and mentoring.

Scottish Book Trust Next Chapter Award

The Next Chapter Award is an annual award supporting an emerging writer over the age of 40. The Award includes a cash reward, 2 week writing retreat, training and mentoring.

The Society of Authors' Awards

The Society of Authors runs an annual awards, which is open to writers at all stages of their careers. Among them are The ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award for a short story (applicants need to have had at least one short story accepted for publication); and The McKitterick Prize, which is given annually to an author over the age of 40 for a first novel, published or unpublished.

The Spread the Word Life Writing Prize

The Prize aims to find the best life writing from emerging writers from across the UK. The Prize defines life writing as ‘intended to be true’, reflects someone’s own life journey or experiences and is not fiction. The competition is open to writers who have yet to publish a full-length work or have a literary agent.

The Writers Award

Run by The Deborah Rogers Found - set up in memory of a late literary agent - The Writers Award gives £10,000 to an unpublished writer to enable them to complete a first book. It is run biaennially.

For published writers

These awards are for published writers only, and in order to be considered books must be nominated by their publisher or agent - authors cannot usually enter themselves (with the exception of the fellowships). However, as a writer looking to get published it's always worth taking stock of the titles being longlisted and shortlisted for some of the top literary awards to give you a sense of which types of books are receiving critical acclaim. We've included prizes for fiction and non-fiction titles here. 

Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction

The Baillie Gifford Prize rewards excellence in non-fiction writing across current affairs, history, politics, science, sport, travel, biography, autobiography and the arts.

BBC National Short Story Award

An annual prize, entrants must have a prior record of publishing creative work in the UK. Stories up to 8,000 words are accepted, and may be submitted by the author or by their agent. Shortlisted stories are awarded a prize of £600.

Booker Prize

The leading literary award in the English speaking world, which has brought recognition, reward and readership to outstanding fiction for over 50 years. Awarded annually to the best novel of the year written in English and published in the UK or Ireland. Although you have to be nominated by your publisher, many debut novels have been longlisted and shortlisted in the past.

Costa Awards

Held annually, the awards welcome a wide range of books to be considered in five categories; First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book. From the winners in each of these five categories, one is selected as overall Costa Book of the Year.

The Desmond Elliot Prize

The Desmond Elliott Prize encourages publishers from across the UK and Ireland to submit literary fiction debuts for consideration, awarding one winning author £10,000 to shape their developing career.

Forward Prizes for Poetry

The Forward Prizes for Poetry honour excellence in contemporary poetry published in UK and Ireland.

FT & McKinsey Business Book of the Year

This prestigious £30,000 prize goes to the book that is judged to have provided the most compelling and enjoyable insight into modern business issues, with £10,000 awarded to each runner up.

Swansea University Dylan Thomas Prize

Awarded for the best published literary work in the English language, written by an author aged 39 or under, the prize celebrates the international world of fiction in all its forms including poetry, novels, short stories, and drama. The winner receives a prize of £30,000.

The Royal Society of Literature Christopher Bland Prize

The RSL Christopher Bland Prize is an annual award of £10,000 to a debut novelist or non-fiction writer first published aged 50 or over.

The Royal Society of Literature Ondaatje Prize

The annual award of £10,000 for a distinguished work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry, evoking the spirit of a place.

Scottish Book Trust Ignite Fellowship

The Ignite Fellowship supports established writers who are embarking on or working through a significant project. You can apply whether the project is in its very earliest stages or already a work in progress.

The Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship

The Robert Louis Stevenson Fellowship is an annual award offering professional writers a month-long writing retreat with expenses at Hôtel Chevillon.

Women's Prize for Fiction

The Women's Prize for Fiction is the UK's most prestigious annual book award celebrating and honouring fiction written by women.

Writing retreats


Arvon runs an annual programme of creative writing courses and retreats for schools, groups and individuals. Their courses, tutored by leading authors, are held at three rural centres and include a mix of workshops and individual tutorials, with time and space to write, free from distractions of everyday life. Arvon courses are in a range of genres and they have different styles of courses. Grants are available to help with course fees.

The Garsdale Retreat

The Garsdale Retreat is a creative writing centre in the Yorkshire Dales. It provides inspirational courses tutored by professional writers, enabling participants to develop their individual creativity in a place of peace and tranquillity, away from the distractions and stresses of everyday life.

Gladstone's Library

Gladstone's Library is a residential library and meeting place which is dedicated to dialogue, debate and learning for open-minded individuals and groups, who are looking to explore pressing questions and to pursue study and research. They offer a programme of courses and events that keep them connected with a wide range of writers and thinkers.

Moniack Mhor Creative Writing Centre

Moniack Mhor is Scotland’s National Writing Centre. Based in the Scottish Highlands, they run courses in a range of genres tutored by some of the finest authors in the UK and beyond. They also sponsor awards, bursaries, professional residencies to develop works in progress and a programme for young writers.

The Novelry

Enjoy time with your fellow writers and guidance from author tutor Louise Dean in Dorset. Their week-long residential course includes inspiring sessions with best-selling author tutors. 

The River Mill

This former flour mill in South Down, Northern Ireland is now a boutique reading and writing retreat. They offer individual residencies and workshops. 

Tŷ Newydd Writing Centre

Tŷ Newydd is the National Writing Centre of Wales, run by Literature Wales specialising in residential creative writing courses.

Urban Writers Retreat

Providing residential retreats in Devon and one-day courses in London, they offer guidance and space away from every day life.

We will keep this page updated with new opportunities as and when they become available.

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