Applications are now closed for the New Writers Awards 2024. This page is for information only. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
The awards are free to apply to, all travel expenses are covered and awardees are chosen by a panel of judges. We have an Access Fund to help support our awardees with any barriers they may face. The programme is flexible and we work closely with awardees to help them participate as fully as possible.
How it works
The Awards will run from January 2024–January 2025. During the programme, awardees receive:
- A £2,000 cash award, allowing them to focus on their work (the bursary will be paid in two instalments)
- Tailored personal development opportunities, which can include mentoring from writers and industry professionals
- PR, performance and presentation training
- The opportunity to showcase work to publishers and agents
- A week long retreat offering time, space and the freedom to create new work in idyllic surroundings (subject to circumstances)
- A complementary year-long membership to The Society of Authors
All mentoring, training and performances include an option for remote attendance as needed. We're very happy to discuss anyone's individual access requirements prior to applying.
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 New Writers Awards will only go ahead in 2024 if Scottish Book Trust secure the funding required to run the programme. The retreat is also subject to circumstances and dependent on any applicable travel restrictions.
How do I apply?
First, check out our category guidelines for help preparing your submission. There are five categories:
- Fiction and Narrative Non-Fiction (also known as creative non-fiction)
- Children's and Young Adult Fiction
- Spoken Word
You can only apply to one category per year.
Who can apply?
You can apply if you:
- Are aged 18 or over
- Are based in Scotland
- Are committed to developing your writing, whether that's fiction, narrative non-fiction, poetry, spoken word, YA, picture books or graphic novels (although the panel will only consider your writing, not any associated images)
- Haven't published a full-length book, collection or show in the category you're applying for
We welcome applications from carers, people who are unemployed or who are unable to work for health reasons. Find out more about our access fund below.
Who can't apply?
You can't apply if you:
- Have received a Scottish Arts Council New Writers Bursary, New Writers Award, Callan Gordon Award or Next Chapter Award
- Are currently in receipt of another award from Scottish Book Trust or Creative Scotland
- Are planning to be in full or part time formal education during the course of the award (January 2024 – January 2025). Short courses and evening classes are fine. If you are an international student in Scotland on a fixed-term course you can apply if you will be in Scotland during the course of the award
- Are a writer registered on the Live Literature Author Directory. Illustrators and Storytellers who are registered on the directory may apply to work on writing if they fulfil the criteria above. Performance poets who are registered on the directory may not apply for the Poetry or Spoken Word categories but may apply for other categories
- Already have a book publishing deal in place
- Have had any of the following published: a novel, narrative non-fiction book (e.g. biography or memoir), collection of short stories or poems, or graphic novel. If this describes you, please look at our Ignite Fellowship
- Want to focus on plays, screenplays or radioplays
- Are on staff at Scottish Book Trust
By submitting your application, you're confirming you meet the criteria to the best of your knowledge. Anyone who doesn't meet the criteria will be deemed ineligible and may be asked to return the award or withdraw their application.
Access fund and useful information
'It's extremely important that writing opportunities such as the New Writers Award have access built in, including an access fund. If access is built in and funding is available, it immediately makes disabled people feel welcome and takes the onus off disabled writers to inquire about access (which is a lot of labour, including worry about how an access enquiry will be met).
Disabled writers often have extra costs they need to budget for, such as assistive equipment (for example, a keyboard with wrist support, dictation software etc.); travel costs (including taxis if public transport isn't accessible to them); the cost of travel and accommodation for a personal assistant or companion to accompany them; or the disabled writer may need extra overnight accommodation if, for instance, they have an energy impairment, and need time to recover after travelling. Without these access needs and costs factored in, disabled writers might not be able to access opportunities, which marginalises them and impoverishes the publishing industry and writing communities.
It's fantastic that Scottish Book Trust realise how important an access fund is, and I hope more organisations follow suit.'
– Ever Dundas, author and co-founder of Inklusion