The UK’s Society of Authors Names Winners of £100,000 in Awards

In News by Porter Anderson

This tranche of honors administered by the society is cast this year as having to do with literature challenging inequality and includes several programs with age restrictions on eligible writers.

Joanne Harris in the announcement video for the June 18 Society of Authors awards news. Image: SoA

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Nine Award Programs, 32 Recipients
Announced in a series of videos that began streaming this morning in London, many of the winners of this group of prizes fit into one or another age category. There are honors. for example, for people older than 40, older than 60, younger than 30, and younger than 35.

You’ll find our coverage of the shortlisted writers, poets, and illustrators here.

The 32 winners of various awards share in a total £100,000 (US$124,067) in prize money  accounted for by nine different prizes.

For those looking in from world publishing, the program can be baffling, of course. These are multiple awards, some of which have multiple winners, some of which have runners-up. They’re part of the portfolio of prize programs that the Society of Authors administers.

Some of them are grouped together as “The Betty Trask Prize and the Betty Trask Awards.” Trask in 1983 left a bequest to the society to fund prizes for novels written by authors under the age of 35. And here’s an interesting stipulation: To be eligible for an award funded by the Trask bequest, a novel can be deemed “traditional or romantic, but not experimental” in style.

More awards announced today:

  • The inaugural Queen’s Knickers Award recognizing an outstanding children’s illustrated book for ages 0 to 7
  • The McKitterick Prize for debut writers over 40
  • The Somerset Maugham Awards for published works of fiction, non-fiction or poetry by writers under 30
  • The ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award for a single short story
  • The Paul Torday Memorial Prize awarded for a first novel by a writer over 60
  • The Eric Gregory Awards for a collection of poems by poets under 30
  • The Cholmondeley Awards for outstanding contribution to poetry
  • Five Travelling Scholarships awarded to British creative writers to enable them to keep in contact with writing colleagues abroad

The author Joanne Harris is serving as a host for this marathon in her role as chair of the society’s management committee.

Society of Authors Awards Announced June 18

At a bus sop in London’s Lewisham borough, June 6. Image – iStockphoto: Lubo Ivanko

Betty Trask Prize and Awards

The Betty Trask Prize winner:

  • Hitch by Kathryn Hind

The Betty Trask Award winners:

  • The Familiars by Stacey Halls
  • The Parisian by Isabella Hammad
  • The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney by Okechukwu Nzelu

McKitterick Prize

The McKitterick Prize is awarded for a first novel by a writer over 40.


  • Golden Child by Claire Adam


  • Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

The Queen’s Knickers Award (inaugural year)

You may recall our story in July about the newly announced Queen’s Knickers Award, intended to highlight a strong illustrated work for kids. The honor is named after a book by the creator of this prize, author and illustrator Nicholas Allan. The Queen’s Knickers originally was published by Hutchinson in 1993 and came out in paperback from Penguin Random House/Red Fox in 2000.


  • Umbrella written and illustrated by Elena Arevalo Melville


  • How to Light Your Dragon written by Didier Lévy, illustrated by Fred Benaglia

Paul Torday Memorial Prize

The Paul Torday Memorial Prize is awarded to a first novel by a writer over 60. The prize includes a set of the collected works of British writer Paul Torday, who published his first novel Salmon Fishing in the Yemen at the age of 60.


  • As the Women Lay Dreaming by Donald S Murray


  • Reparation by Gaby Koppel

The ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award

The ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award is awarded for a short story by a writer who has had at least one short story accepted for publication.


  • Eva at the End of the World by Wendy Riley


  • Whale Watching by Diana Powell

The Eric Gregory Award

The Eric Gregory Award is presented for a collection of poems by a poet under 30.


  • Susannah Dickey for Bloodthirsty For Marriage
  • Natalie Linh Bolderston for Divinations On Survival
  • Roseanne Watt for Moder Dy
  • Kadish Morris for Poor But Sexy
  • Amina Jama for A Warning To The House That Holds Me

Somerset Maugham Award

The Somerset Maugham Awards are for published works of fiction, non-fiction or poetry by writers under 30.


  • Alex Allison for The Art Of The Body (Dialogue Books), a novel
  • Oliver Soden for Michael Tippett: The Biography (Orion), nonfiction
  • Roseanne Watt for Moder Dy (Birlinn Ltd), poetry
  • Amrou Al-Kadhi for Unicorn (4th Estate), nonfiction

The Cholmondeley Award

The Cholmondeley Awards are awarded for a body of work by a poet.


  • Alec Finlay
  • Linda France
  • Hannah Lowe
  • Bhanu Kapil
  • Rod Mengham

The Travel Scholarships

The Travelling Scholarships are awarded to British writers to enable engagement with writers abroad.

    • Luke Brown, books editor, columnist, lecturer, and author of My Biggest Lie

Inua Ellams, a poet, playwright, and designer who founded The Midnight Run

  • Georgina Lawton, journalist, travel writer, and author of Raceless
  • Neil Rollinson, previous Cholmondeley Award recipient whose most recent book Talking Dead was shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Prize
  • Ahdaf Soueif, author of The Map Of Love and co-founder of the Palestine Festival of Literature


In its 7:33 a.m. ET update (1133 GMT),the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reports the UK at No. 5 in the world’s highest caseloads with 300,717 cases and a death toll of 42,238, the world’s third highest.

Below is video of the June 18 announcements from the Society of Authors. It has activity intermittently, as various awards are announced.

More from Publishing Perspectives on publishing and book awards is here, and more on the Society of Authors is here. More from us on the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international book publishing is here and at the CORONAVIRUS tab at the top of each page of our site.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson was for more than a decade a senior producer and anchor with, CNN International, and CNN USA. As an arts critic (Fellow, National Critics Institute), he was with The Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and the Tampa Tribune, now the Tampa Bay Times. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman.