Frequently Asked Questions

How much is the prize worth?

The Desmond Elliott Prize is worth £10,000, plus a bespoke package of support including residency opportunities, mentoring, and further industry advice.

Who can submit a book?

Only books submitted by publishers can be considered. Each publisher (or imprint) is allowed to submit two books scheduled for publication within the specified period.

Which books are eligible for the prize?

Full-length published first novels of literary fiction by living writers based in the UK / Ireland are eligible.

Why novels only?

As an agent and publisher, Desmond Elliot worked with novelists. This prize honours the spirit of the Trust set up in his name to award novelists at the beginning of their publishing careers. It was Desmond Elliott’s wish to leave a legacy of support in the form of financial support via this Prize.

Why literary fiction?

In support of Arts Council England’s findings via the Canelo Report, and the legacy wishes of Desmond Elliott, the Prize supports new works of literary fiction.

It was Desmond Elliott’s wish for this prize to support new talent and the wider ecology of literary fiction, to encourage a flourishing and resilient industry around the creation, sale and readership of literary fiction.

Why are you asking for submissions to come as ebooks?

We recommend submitting a digital version of the book because it is instant, better for the environment and reduces postage costs.

How are books entered for the prize?

See our submission guidelines for detail of how to enter the prize.

Who are the previous winners of the Desmond Elliott Prize?

  • 2008 Nikita Lalwani – Gifted
  • 2009 Edward Hogan – Blackmoor
  • 2010 Ali Shaw – The Girl with Glass Feet
  • 2011 Anjali Joseph – Saraswati Park
  • 2012 Grace McCleen – The Land of Decoration
  • 2013 Ros Barber – The Marlowe Papers
  • 2014 Eimear McBride – A Girl is a Half-formed Thing
  • 2015 Claire Fuller – Our Endless Numbered Days
  • 2016 Lisa McInerney – The Glorious Heresies
  • 2017 Francis Spufford – Golden Hill
  • 2018 Preti Taneja – We That Are Young
  • 2019 Claire Adam – Golden Child

Who are the judges?

The judges will be announced via this website in November.

Who are the National Centre for Writing and why do they have a book prize?

The National Centre for Writing (NCW) celebrates and explores the artistic and social power of creative writing and literary translation. With an on-going programme of innovative collaborations NCW engages writers, literary translators and readers, in person and online, through projects that support new voices and new stories, and respond to the rapidly changing world of writing. NCW is based at the historic Dragon Hall in Norwich, England’s first UNESCO City of Literature, delivering programmes on local, regional, national and international platforms.