Northern Writers’ Awards to become year-round platform for discovering and supporting northern writing talent

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The Northern Writers’ Awards 2023 have opened for entry – with a difference. While £30,000 worth of awards are now open for entry with a closing date of 22 February 2023, other awards will open at staggered dates throughout 2023, providing a year-round platform to support northern writing talent and allowing writers to enter work into multiple strands.  

Founded by New Writing North in 2000, the Northern Writers’ Awards exist to recognise talent and support new work towards publication or broadcast. Judges for this year’s awards include the writers Anthony Anaxagorou, Caroline Bird, Sairish Hussain, Zaffar Kunial, Ross Raisin, and Adelle Stripe, and the literary agent Lucy Irvine.  

By supporting writers at an earlier stage than most literary awards – usually before an agent or publisher is involved – the Northern Writers’ Awards offer crucial support for writers at a pivotal stage of their careers, as well as providing a pipeline of new talent to the publishing and broadcast industries.  

The awards have grown over the last 24 years to become the biggest writer development programme of their kind in England, with a reputation for identifying some of the country’s best unpublished writing. More than 2000 writers enter the awards each year, a number which is set to grow as the awards evolve into a yearly platform.  

The Northern Writers’ Awards are produced by New Writing North with support from Northumbria University and Arts Council England. The full suite of awards is made possible by a range of vital partnerships with Arvon, Bonafide Films, Channel 4, Hachette Children’s Group, Lime Pictures, The Literary Consultancy, Lockhaugh Farm, Newcastle University, The North Literary Agency, Oneworld Publications, Out-Spoken Press, The Society of Authors, University of York, the Word Factory as well as generous donations from individual donors including the Chaplin family, the Hale family, and Benjamin Myers.   

The following Northern Writers’ Awards are open now until 22 February 2023:  

·         Northern Writers’ Awards  Cash prizes of up to £5000 to support writers of fiction, narrative non-fiction, YA, graphic novels, short stories and poetry.  

·         Northern Debut Awards  Structured developmental support to writers of fiction, young adult fiction, narrative non-fiction or poetry who are yet to publish a full-length work. The package of support includes a £2000 bursary and mentoring. One of the poetry awardees will be admitted onto the Out-Spoken Press Emerging Poets Development Scheme, an initiative to nurture and support poets, and will receive mentoring from Anthony Anaxagorou.  

·         Northumbria University Student and Alumni Award Worth £2000, for a single standalone piece of fiction, narrative non-fiction or poetry, or an extract of a longer work, is open to final-year students and recent graduates of Northumbria University in any discipline. 

·         Sid Chaplin Award In partnership with Newcastle University and the North Literary Agency, supports writers of fiction and narrative non-fiction who identify as originating from a working-class background. The winning writer will receive a bursary of £2000 and a comprehensive package of support. The award is supported by the Chaplin family, in memory of Sid Chaplin (1916–1986) whose novels include The Day of the Sardine and The Watchers and the Watched.  

·         The Finchale Award for Short Fiction  Awards a short story writer a prize of £1000. This award is made possible by the generosity of writer Benjamin Myers, author of The Perfect Golden Circle and The Gallows Pole. .  

·         Matthew Hale Award Open to young writers aged 11-18 who show promise but have had limited opportunities to pursue their talent. This award is funded by the Hale family and consists of a package of support created by New Writing North, worth £500. 

·         Young Northern Writers’ Awards Recognises one young writer aged 11-14 and one aged 15-18 whose work shows exceptional promise. Each writer will be awarded £150. Up to two writers may also be highly commended across the age categories.  


Find out more and enter on our Northern Writers’ Awards page