We’re delighted to let you know that as of today the 2011 Northern Writers’ Awards are open for submissions, and that you have until Thursday 21 April to send us your work. Both new and established writers are invited to submit up to 3,000 words or up to 30 poems of a work in development for a chance to win a share of the £25,000 available in prize money.

The Northern Writers’ Awards are New Writing North’s flagship talent development programme. Alongside cash awards, winning writers receive support to develop their work across the year and attend a publishing industry introduction event in London, which last year was attended by over 40 literary agents and scouts. The awards also encompass the Andrea Badenoch Award and the Waterhouse Award, special awards created in memory of North East writers who are no longer with us.

The awards are open to writers resident of the north east of England (Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, County Durham and the Tees Valley) writing fiction, narrative non-fiction, poetry or children’s books. During the last ten years, 99 writers have received an award; with 75 per cent of those going on to successfully publish the work for which they specifically received the award. Each year we receive over 200 entries from across the region.

The awards are supported by Arts Council England and sponsored by The Leighton Group. This year for the first time we are delighted to welcome Sunderland University on board as an awards sponsor. The university will be sponsoring one of the awards for a new writer and supporting an autumn programme of writing activity in Sunderland later this year.

Recent successful award-winners who have gone on to publish their work include novelists Alice de Smith, whose first novel, Welcome to Life, was published by Atlantic in 2009; Carolyn Jess-Cooke, whose first novel, The Guardian Angel’s Journal, is out in April 2011 from Little, Brown; Mari Hannah, whose first crime novel, Murder Wall, will be published by Macmillan in 2012; and poet Toby Martinez de las Rivas, who was selected for the Faber New Poets promotion in 2009. The awards have a great reputation within the publishing industry for identifying talented writers.

This year, the awards will be judged by Edinburgh literary agent Jenny Brown; novelist Catherine O’Flynn, who won the Costa First Novel Award for her novel What Was Lost and last autumn published her widely anticipated second novel, The News Where You Are; and acclaimed poet and novelist Jacob Polley, himself a winner of a Northern Writers’ Award in 2000.

To enter your work for a Northern Writers’ Award, please read the guidelines at www.newwritingnorth.com/text.html?id=nwa2011 before submitting. The deadline for applications is 21 April and all submissions must be posted – we will not accept hand-delivered submissions or submissions by email.