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 2023–January 2024. 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, although we can be flexible about payment schedules if needed)
- 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 ongoing circumstances)
The New Writers Awards will only go ahead in 2023 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?
Applications are now closed. This page is for information only.
First, check out our category guidelines for help preparing your submission. There are four categories and you can only apply to one category per year.
Entries in all categories are invited in English, Scots and a combination of both.
If you are writing in Scots, you may be interested in applying for our Scots New Writers Award. There are also two awards for Gaelic writers, run in association with the Gaelic Books Council. There are separate application forms for writers interested in applying for Scots and Gaelic awards, you'll be able to choose which category you're writing in when applying in Scots or Gaelic.
Submit your application to the relevant category by noon on Wednesday 13 July, 2022.
Who can apply?
You can apply if you:
Are aged 18 or over
- Are based in Scotland
- Are able to demonstrate a strong commitment to developing a career in writing and/or spoken word
- Have previously published only non-fiction (e.g. textbooks, guidebooks, standard history books, collections of humour/jokes)
- Have work that's been: self-published, published in online journals/blogs, published in a pamphlet, published as part of an anthology or magazine, published academically (e.g. standard non-fiction, textbook, academic journal)
- Are writing a graphic novel or illustrated book (although the panel will only consider your writing, not any associated images)
- Are a carer/unemployed/unable to work for health reasons. Please scroll down to find more information about our access fund
About our access fund
'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
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 2023–January 2024). 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 database may apply to work on writing if they fulfil the criteria above. Performance poets who are registered on the database may not apply for the Poetry category 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.