The National Centre for Writing launches two new awards for early career writers

26 Nov 2019 -

The National Centre for Writing (NCW) has today (Monday 25th November) launched two new awards for writers at the beginning of their careers: The University of East Anglia (UEA) New Form Writing Award and the Laura Kinsella Fellowship.

The UEA New Form Writing Award, worth £4,000 to the winner, will champion an innovative and daring new voice in fiction. It will be awarded to a writer at the beginning of their career whose work might collaborate with other art-forms or in site specific/site responsive ways, experiment with forms of performance or print, challenge traditional form or inhabit a digital space. The winner will also receive a bespoke period of development, which may include mentoring, learning opportunities and promotional platforms, depending on their ambition and need.

The Laura Kinsella Fellowship, also worth £4,000, has been set up to support writers experiencing limiting circumstances or whose voices are underrepresented in mainstream literary fiction. It will be awarded to one exceptionally talented early career writer of literary fiction, who will also benefit from a bespoke programme of professional development and promotional opportunities. This may include space and time to write, mentoring, residency or research trips, introductions to the industry or engagement with existing NCW programmes.

These two new prizes will fall under the NCW’s Early Career Awards, which represents a new model for literary prizes combining the power of a private trust with the unique year-round programme of NCW. The Desmond Elliott Prize, the running of which has been taken on by the NCW as announced in September of this year, is the flagship in the NCW’s Early Career Awards portfolio.

Peggy Hughes, Programme Director, National Centre for Writing said:

“Most writers face challenges at the beginnings of their careers, but these challenges can be exacerbated by other factors – for example, by coming from a group underrepresented in literary fiction, or by choosing to write more unusual, experimental work. These two new awards aim to improve access to opportunity for early career writers facing these particular difficulties. Through them, we are aiming to provide comprehensive, tailored programmes of support, where the financial assistance is one element of a wider package, to help promising talent overcome these specific, identified barriers to publication.”

Arts Council England (ACE) will increase the impact of the Early Career Awards by contributing towards an early career digital programme providing resources, professional development and industry advice as a free public resource for new writers. The ACE support will also enable a tailored early career programme for the winning writers which will include residency opportunities, mentoring and industry support to help them build a sustainable career.

Professor Henry Sutton, Director of Creative Writing at UEA, said:

‘New opportunities and collaborations for literary writing and sustainability are rapidly opening up as the digital revolution continues to reshape both creation and dissemination. This award aims to embrace that change and support emerging writers who are exploring radically new literary models and frontiers. This is a wonderful opportunity to help shape the literary landscape of the future, and we are delighted to be working on this immensely important scheme with our longstanding partners National Centre for Writing, and with ACE support.’

Alice Jolly from the Laura Kinsella Foundation, said:

‘In the world of writing and publishing, it is vitally important that we hear all of the voices. The Laura Kinsella Foundation is thrilled to support the National Centre of Writing in providing opportunities for early career writers of literary fiction who are facing particular challenges.’

The submissions deadline for both prizes is Friday 17th January. Both prizes are free to enter. Both are open to writers who live in England at the time of application and until at least June 2021, are over the age of 18, have not published a debut novel or short story collection, and propose a clear case for support.

For further information about the submissions process, please visit: