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Press release: Submissions open for 2021 New Writers Awards

New access fund hopes to remove barriers

Scottish Book Trust has today 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 will follow in the footsteps of Graeme Macrae Burnett of His Bloody Project and Claire Askew of 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The New Writers Awards are run by Scottish Book Trust in association with Creative Scotland, and each year they provide unpublished writers with financial support to enable them to concentrate on developing their work, as well as professional guidance to help them move towards publication.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 Scottish Book Trust welcomes applications from all writers in Scotland who are previously unpublished, and we are also able to offer support to ensure the award is as flexible as possible.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 are also introducing 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 to January 2022. During the programme, awardees receive:

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 online. The deadline for all applications is Wednesday 8 July at noon.

Notes to Editors

For media enquiries please contact Keara Donnachie, PR and Marketing Manager at Scottish Book Trust on Keara.Donnachie@scottishbooktrust.com(this will open in a new window) or 07956 773749.

Additional quotes from previous awardees:

Angela Drinnan, 2019 Awardee for Fiction said:

“The support I received through the New Writers Award was phenomenal - having people believe in me has changed how I see myself as a writer and reenergised my writing. They also provided financial and practical support which enabled me, as a single parent, to attend the retreat, which just wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.”

Luca Serra, 2020 Awardee for Fiction said:

“The award has been an amazing opportunity and within just a few weeks of mentorship I've already learnt a lot in terms of structure, plot and character development as well as improving my writing style. I've also found the experience in Moniack Mhor extremely beneficial, very productive and inspiring.”

Scottish Book Trust

Scottish Book Trust is a national charity changing lives through reading and writing. We inspire and support the people of Scotland to read and write for pleasure through programmes and outreach work that include:

In addition to the funding we receive from the Scottish Government and Creative Scotland, we need the constant support of trusts and foundations, corporate sponsors and individual donors.

Creative Scotland

Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life. We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery.

Gaelic Books Council

The Gaelic Books Council is the lead organisation with responsibility for supporting Scottish Gaelic authors and publishers, and for raising the profile and reach of Scottish Gaelic Books in Scotland and internationally.