‘The UK’s most prestigious award for first-time novelists.’
The Telegraph

Unique in supporting early-career novelists to establish their writing careers, the 2021 Prize opens for submissions on Thursday 1 October 2020.

With a reputation as the most prestigious award for debut novelists, the Desmond Elliott Prize encourages publishers from across the UK and Ireland to submit literary fiction debuts for consideration, awarding one winning author £10,000 to shape their developing career.

Ten novels will be longlisted for the prize, from which three shortlisted novels will be selected by a panel of expert judges. The winning author will be celebrated at an event in July 2021, receiving the £10,000 prize to support their writing future, alongside a year of support from National Centre for Writing.

In its thirteenth year, The Desmond Elliott Prize moved into the care of National Centre for Writing. The Prize is central to a suite of three new awards from NCW celebrating and supporting early-career writers.

The 2020 prize was won by Derek Owusu for his ground-breaking novel That Reminds Me, described by judges as ‘a transcendent work of literature’.

The Prize is named after the literary agent and publisher, Desmond Elliott, in memory of his passion for discovering and nurturing emerging authors. First awarded in 2008, the Prize has a track record of spotting outstandingly talented novelists at the beginning of their careers, with former winners including Eimear McBride for A Girl is a Half-formed Thing and Claire Fuller for Our Endless Numbered Days, as well as Preti Taneja for We That Are Young.

Explore our free Early Career Writers’ Resources

Arts Council England logoThanks to Arts Council England we are providing resource packs for all early career writers. A new pack is released every two months and you can see the available ones here: