Novel competitions for 2020

In keeping with my most pressing current project, I have a list of upcoming novel prizes for you. From women-only awards to tales of adventure, hopefully there will be something here for everyone. As always, please do read the fine print before you enter anything. Good luck!

  • Comedy Women in Print Prize 2020
  • Closing date: March 2
  • Prizes: 1st place a publishing contract with HarperCollins and a £5,000 advance. The publisher reserves the right to publish in the format of their choice. 2nd place receives £2,000 from the University of Hertfordshire and mentoring from their MA course in Creative Writing. A second runner-up will receive a place on the online MA in Comedy Writing from Falmouth University
  • Requirement: the first 8,000 words of an unpublished comedy novel, which needs to be a completed work of at least 85,000 words, and a one-page synopsis. If selected for the longlist, you will be asked to submit a full manuscript
  • Entry fee: £10 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open to female (identified) writers internationally
Do you have a completed adventure novel?
  • Wilbur Smith Award for Best Unpublished Manuscript
  • Closing date: March 2
  • Prize: a publishing deal with Bonnier Books UK. The winner must also agree to representation with The Bravo Blue Agency, in association with Tibor Jones. Six shortlisted writers will be offered one-to-one manuscript development with UK literary consultant David Llewelyn, intended to help each writer reach the standard necessary for submission to agents and publishers
  • Requirement: a completed manuscript of at least 50,000 words in length. 75,000+ is ideal. Please note this is an adventure writing award (see site for their definition of the term)
  • Entry fee: £20 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally
  • Grindstone Literary 2020 International Novel Prize
  • Closing date: March 28
  • Prizes: 1st place £1,000, 2nd place £500. Four shortlisted entrants will receive £50. All prize winners receive a 15% discount for CB Creative (Curtis Brown creative writing online courses)
  • Requirement: up to 3,000 words of the opening to any finished or part finished manuscript of any genre, and a synopsis of no more than 300 words
  • Entry fee: £16 per entry, multiple entries permitted. There’s an option to get feedback on your entry for an extra £8. Open internationally
  • The Bridport Prize for Novel (The Peggy Chapman-Andrews First Novel Award)
  • Closing date: May 31
  • Prizes: 1st place £1,500, mentoring by The Literary Consultancy, a consultation with literary agent AM Heath and publisher Tinder Press. 2nd place £750 with manuscript assessment and editorial advice from The Literary Consultancy. Three shortlisted writers will be awarded £100 each. All finalists will be invited to the awards ceremony and an excerpt from their submission will be published in The Bridport Prize anthology
  • Requirement: 5,000-8,000 words plus a 300-word synopsis. Longlisted writers will be asked for a total of 15,000 words (which includes the original word count). Shortlisted writers have to submit 30,000 words (again including the original entry and longlisted word count)
  • Entry fee: £20 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Some sponsored free places are available, see site for details. Open internationally
  • BPA First Novel Award 2020
  • Closing date: May 31
  • Prizes: 1st place £1,000 and an introduction to UK agents Felicity Bryan Associates.  2nd place a manuscript review by the Blue Pencil Agency and agent introduction. Highly Commended writers will receive an agent introduction
  • Requirement: the opening chapter or chapters of up to 5,000 words plus a 300-word synopsis and a covering letter. Shortlisted writers will be asked to submit 20,000 words (this includes the initial submission)
  • Entry fee: £20 per entry. Appears to be open internationally
  • The Bath Novel Award 2020
  • Closing date: May 31
  • Prizes: 1st place £3,000. Shortlisted writers will receive manuscript feedback and literary agent introductions. The writer of the most promising longlisted manuscript will receive a place worth £1,800 on the 18-week online course Edit Your Novel the Professional Way from Cornerstones Literary Consultancy
  • Requirement: the first 5,000 words plus a one-page synopsis (longlisted writers have to submit a full manuscript)
  • Entry fee: £28 per entry, multiple entries permitted. There are some sponsored free places for low-income writers. Open internationally
  • First Novel Prize 2020
  • Closing date: May 31 (opens for entries February 10)
  • Prizes: 1st place £1,000, 2nd place £250, 3rd place £100. The competition is run by literary consultants Daniel Goldsmith Associates
  • Requirement: completed novels of over 50,000 words (there’s no maximum word limit, unusually) plus a synopsis
  • Entry fee: £25 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally
  • Flash 500 Novel Opening Chapter & Synopsis Competition
  • Closing date: October 31
  • Prizes: 1st place £500, 2nd place £200. Entries will be judged by Headline Publishing
  • Requirement: an opening chapter of up to 3,000 words, plus a one-page synopsis
  • Entry fee: €13/£10 per entry, multiple entries permitted. There is also an option to receive a critique of your chapter and synopsis for €32.50/£25 per entry, multiple entries permitted. Open internationally

Photos: Pexels/Pixabay; Nino Caré/Pixabay; Tafilah Yusof/Pixabay

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