By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
‘Encouragement and Exposure’
Both traditionally published and self-publishing British and Irish authors aged 18 to 35 can apply between now and June 2 for the £5,000 (US$6,186) Young Writer of the Year prize.
The Alliance of Independent Authors is preparing an updated edition of its “Open Up to Indies” guidebook and campaign—which argues that prize programs, in particular, should be receptive to the work of self-published authors as well as trade writers. The Young Writer of the Year prize is an example of just such a program.
This award was on hiatus for seven years, prior to 2015, and this year adds a 10-week residency for the winner at Coventry’s University of Warwick, a new partner in the prize. Regular readers of Publishing Perspectives will know that Warwick last month also announced another new literary initiative, its Women in Translation prize.
In a prepared statement, Maureen Freely, English PEN’s president and Warwick department head in English and Comparative Literary Studies is quoted, saying:
“We at Warwick are absolutely thrilled to be part of this new partnership, which will allow us to do more than ever before for new writers and writing.
“The early stages of a writing career have always been perilous, but never more so than today.
“Our dream is to create a space in which young writers can build up their networks and experiment with new ideas in the classroom, the community, the virtual world, and, most important, on the page. It will be an honour to host them. We firmly believe that the future of literature itself is in their hands.”
At The Sunday Times, the literary editor, Andrew Holgate, is quoted, saying that the award “is designed to put the spotlight on the best new writing talent from Britain and Ireland, providing young writers with the kind of encouragement and exposure that has made such a difference to the shortlistees and winners in the past.
“In the third year after the prize returned to enormous public and industry acclaim, I am particularly excited by the new associate partnership with the acclaimed writing course at the University of Warwick, and everything this is going to allow us to do to make our promotion of and support for young home-grown writers even stronger.”
Speaking for PFD, CEO Caroline Michel said:
“We recognize how important it is to support writers in every genre–poetry, fiction, history, biography–at the beginning of their careers.
“We are proud of what this award has achieved in the first two years of our involvement, and we are looking forward to another great year of highlighting the best writing to come.”
Interested writers should note that eligibility regulations require that a submitted book must have been “first published in the UK and/or the Republic of Ireland, in the English language, between May 2, 2016, and June 2 of this year.
As yet, the judging panel hasn’t been announced but a shortlist of four books is due to be revealed on November 5, with a winner announced on December 7.