#Merky Books is an award-winning book publishing imprint launched by Stormzy and Penguin Random House UK in 2018. It is a home for underrepresented voices and provides a platform where their stories can be told, heard and uplifted. Our aim is to publish the stories that will allow a new generation of writers and readers across the UK to see themselves represented more regularly within the pages of a book.
This year we’re excited to launch the second #Merky Books New Writers’ Prize, an annual writing competition that is open to young, underrepresented, and unpublished writers from across the UK and ROI.
"I know too many talented writers that don’t always have an outlet or a means to get their work seen and hopefully #Merky Books can now be a reference point for them to say “I can be an author” and for that to be a realistic and achievable goal. Reading and writing as a kid were integral to where I am today and I from the bottom of my heart cannot wait to hear your stories and get them out into the big wide world"
What's on offer?
The winner of the New Writers’ Prize will receive a publishing contract with #Merky Books. All longlisted writers will also be invited to our Writers’ Camp, where they will be able to participate in writing workshops, panel talks, editorial one-to-ones, and meet the #Merky Books team.
The prize will also aim to provide all applicants the tools, information and access they need to develop their ideas, progress their writing and set off on the path to publication.
Who are we looking for?
We’re looking for unpublished writers aged between 16 and 30 who are currently a resident in the UK or ROI. If you have a manuscript you are working on, or an idea ready to be put onto paper, we want to hear from you.
We are looking for writers telling the stories that are not being heard, and the stories that deserve to be read, across fiction, non-fiction or poetry. Unfortunately we will not be accepting children’s books this year, but aim to open the New Writers’ Prize for this next year.
How to apply
Fill in the application form here by midnight on Friday 30th October 2020.
We are asking for a 200 word synopsis and 1,500 word extract for works of fiction and non-fiction, and a 200 word synopsis and 500 word extract for works of poetry.
Any questions? Please see our FAQs here.
This year's judges include an Olympian, a blogger and commentator and an academic.
Here's everything you need to know before entering the #Merky Books New Writers' Prize.
The application portal is open from Monday 14th September until midnight on Friday 30th October 2020.
All applicants will receive a response as to whether or not that have been longlisted on Monday 14th December.
We will hold our day-long Writers’ Camp in London for longlisted writers on Saturday 30th January 2021, including workshops, presentations and personalised one-on-one feedback. All travel costs will be covered by Penguin Random House.
All longlisted writers will find out as to whether or not they have been shortlisted on Friday 5th February 2021. The winner will be announced in March 2021.
We’d advise entrants to save in their diaries both the date of the longlist event (Saturday 30th January 2021) and the winner announcement (a date in March 2021 to be announced soon).