#Merky Books New Writers’ Prize

#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the third #Merky Books New Writers’ Prize, an annual writing competition that is open to young, underrepresented, and unpublished writers from across the UK and ROI.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"


Previous winners of the #Merky New Writers' Prize

Teeth in the Back of my Neck
Teeth in the Back of my Neck
'This is a courageous, arresting debut from a poet to watch.' Independent
'A vital contribution to literature' HUCK

Chosen as one of Bustle's Best Debut Books of 2021
Chosen as one of Glamour's 'best poetry books'

An arresting debut collection about identity, ancestry and history, from a young poet selected as an inaugural winner of the #Merky Books New Writers' Prize, dedicated to discovering the best writers of a new generation.

Written with profound depth and insight, the poems in Teeth in the Back of My Neck explore the joys, the confusions and the moments of sadness behind having one's history scattered around the globe ­- and the way in which your identity is always worn on your skin, whether you like it or not.

Bristling with tension and beautifully realised, Monika Radojevic's impressive debut collection is an introduction to one of the most exciting and impressive poets of her generation.
The Things That We Lost
The Things That We Lost

Nik has lots of questions about his late father but knows better than to ask his mother, Avani. It's their unspoken rule.

When his grandfather dies, Nik has the opportunity to learn about the man he never met. Armed with a key and new knowledge about his parents' past, Nik sets out to unlock the secrets that his mother has been holding onto his whole life.

As the carefully crafted portrait Avani has painted for her son begins to crack, and painful truths emerge, can the two of them find their way back to each other?

The Things That We Lost is a beautifully tender exploration of family, loss and the lengths to which we go to protect the ones we love.

It is the first work of fiction by Jyoti Patel, winner of the 2021 #Merky Books New Writers' Prize, and one of the most exciting new novelists to watch.

What's on offer?

The winner of the New Writers’ Prize will receive a publishing contract with #Merky Books. All shortlisted 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 with 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.

How to apply

Fill in the application form by midnight on Saturday 10th September 2022.

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.

Application form

Submit by midnight on Saturday 10th September 2022

apply now
The word FAQs in block yellow writing on a swirly black and white backgroud.

#Merky Books New Writers’ Prize: FAQs

When is the #Merky New Writers' Prize 2022 open until? What are the submission guidelines for the #Merky New Writers' Prize 2022? Those and more frequently asked questions here.

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