Novel competitions for 2019

It’s been a while since I did a round-up of novel competitions, so here are a few dates to put in your diary.

Sometimes I find it helpful having a deadline as motivation to actually complete a project. But I recently attempted to write a 3-5 page synopsis of my incomplete WIP for a competition which left me convinced I was wasting my time and who on earth would want to read THAT? It was the wrong time to do it – I need to focus on finishing a first draft before worrying about the outside world’s opinion of it. But this list may be of use to someone else out there. Good luck!

  • Comedy Women in Print Prize
  • Closing date: February 28
  • Prizes: 1st place an advance of £5,000 and a publishing contract with Harper Collins UK. The runner-up wins a free place on the University of Hertfordshire’s MA in Creative Writing. The judges include Marian Keyes, so this is a very high-profile competition
  • Requirement: a one-page synopsis and the first 5,000 words of an unpublished comedy novel, which needs to be a completed work of at least 85,000 words. If selected for the shortlist, you will be asked to submit a full manuscript
  • Entry fee: £10 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally to female writers
  • JG Farrell Award 2019
  • Closing date: May 17
  • Prize: a place on the five-day Novel Writing workshop with author and teacher Anjali Joseph as part of the West Cork Literary Festival in Bantry, Co Cork, July 15-19. Accommodation will also be covered
  • Requirement: the first chapter of a novel (max 3,000 words) sent via email and two printed copies sent by post (details are not yet on the website but should be available soon)
  • Entry fee: free to enter. Open to writers resident in Munster
  • The Peggy Chapman-Andrews Award for a First Novel (The Bridport Prize)
  • Closing date: May 31
  • Prizes: 1st place £1,000 plus mentoring by editorial and manuscript assessment service The Literary Consultancy; 2nd place £500 plus a manuscript assessment; three shortlisted writers will each win £100. An anthology will be produced with extracts from the 20 longlisted novels. This will be published in October to coincide with the prize-giving ceremony
  • Requirement: 5,000-8,000 words of the opening chapters, plus a synopsis of max 300 words
  • Entry fee: £20 for each novel submitted. The award is open to writers living in the UK and Ireland
  • First Novel Prize 2019 
  • Closing date: May 31
  • Prizes: 1st place £1,000, 2nd place £500, 3rd place £100. The competition is run by UK literary consultants Daniel Goldsmith Associates Ltd
  • Requirement: full manuscript of min 50,000 words and a synopsis. Only completed novels will be accepted. There is no maximum requirement for the number of words
  • Entry fee: £25 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally
  • Blue Pencil Agency First Novel Prize 2019
  • Closing date: May 31
  • Prizes: 1st place £1,000 and an introduction to Nelle Andrew, a primary agent at Peters, Fraser + Dunlop (PFD. One runner-up wins £250 and a manuscript review
  • Requirement: first chapter of up to 5,000 words, a 300-word synopsis and a cover letter with biog. Shortlisted writers will be asked to submit 20,000 words (includes the initial entry). The novel must be completed or close to completion
  • Entry fee: £20 per entry. Appears to be open internationally
  • 2019 Fitzcarraldo Editions Novel Prize
  • Closing date: July 15 (opens for entries April 15)
  • Prize: £3,000 advance against publication with Fitzcarraldo Editions. The winner will subsequently be published in Fitzcarraldo Editions’ fiction list
  • Requirement: full manuscript of min 30,000 words, cover letter including a biog, contact details and brief outline of the novel 
  • Entry fee: free, one entry only permitted. Open to residents of the UK and Ireland
  • Grindstone Literary 2019 International Novel Prize
  • Closing date: September 28
  • Prize: £1,000 plus publication in an anthology, a discounted place on a Curtis Brown Creative course, as well as personalised feedback. The judge for this competition is Lucy Brown of Curtis Brown Books
  • Requirement: 3,000 words plus a synopsis
  • Entry fee: £22 per entry, one entry only permitted. Open to residents of the UK and Ireland



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