Scottish Book Trust has opened for applications for 2021 New Writers Awards.

The national charity which changes lives through reading and writing has launched the search for new authors who might follow in the footsteps of Graeme Macrae Burnett who wrote His Bloody Project and Claire Askew who wrote All the Hidden Truths.

Over 100 titles have been published from New Writers Awardees since the prize began.

The New Writers Awards are run by Scottish Book Trust in association with Creative Scotland, and each year they provide unpublished writers with financial support to enable them to concentrate on developing their work, as well as professional guidance to help them move towards publication. The awards are free to apply to, all travel expenses are covered and awardees are chosen by an independent panel of judges.

Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said:“Year on year, we receive a high number of applications for the New Writers Awards, underlining the appetite for opportunities such as these, across English, Scots and Gaelic. Scottish Book Trust welcomes applications from all writers in Scotland who are previously unpublished, and we are also able to offer support to ensure the award is as flexible as possible. We look forward to receiving applications and perhaps finding a next bestseller.”

Mairi Kidd, Head of Literature, Languages & Publishing, Creative Scotland, said: “Literature and publishing thrive on the discovery of new voices but it’s not always easy for writers of promise to get their voices heard and make the leap to writing professionally. The opportunity offered by the New Writers Awards is an enormous support on this journey and we are already excited to read the work of the next group of writers chosen.”

Claire Askew, author and New Writers Awardee, said:“A New Writers Award isn’t just a year of support: Scottish Book Trust truly invests in your writing career, helping you to become part of a community of writers and continuing to encourage and promote your work long after your award year is over.  Since my award in 2011/12, I’ve worked with Scottish Book Trust on a variety of projects, from public events to CPD delivery; from readings to residencies. I really can’t recommend the New Writers Awards enough: if you’re thinking of applying, you really should!”

This year, Scottish Book Trust has also established a new Access Fund to help support awardees with any barriers they may face.

The programme is flexible and the charity works closely with awardees to help them participate as fully as possible. Support might include help with childcare costs, accommodation or equipment. Scottish Book Trust welcomes and supports writers who are carers, unemployed or unable to work for health reasons or who face any other barriers.

The Awards will run from January 2021 – January 2022.

During the programme, awardees receive:

  • A £2,000 cash award to support their writing in whatever ways suit best
  • Tailored creative development opportunities, which can include mentoring from established writers and industry professionals
  • Press and marketing, social media, performance and presentation training
  • The opportunity to showcase work to publishers and agents
  • A retreat offering time, space and the freedom to create new work in idyllic surroundings (with flexible structure based on each awardees needs)
  • A year’s free membership to the Society of Authors and a bespoke training session for awardees on contracts and rights
  • The chance to meet and engage with a group of writing peers

There are three categories: Fiction and Narrative Non-Fiction (also known as creative non-fiction), Poetry and Children’s and Young Adult Fiction. Applications may only submit to one category per year. Entries are invited in English, Scots and a combination of both. 

There are also two awards for Gaelic writers, run in association with the Gaelic Books Council. There is a separate application form for writers interested in applying for a Gaelic award.

The full eligibility criteria and application for the New Writers Awards is available on Scottish Book Trust’s website. The deadline for all applications is Wednesday 8 July 2020 at noon.