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 costs for the submitting publishers.

What if my entry isn’t yet available as an e-book/hard copy, despite being within the eligibility dates?

We will accept proof copies, publisher manuscripts or PDFs of books as entries, until finalised e-books or hard copies are available. Please submit one of the mentioned formats during the submission window, and subsequently send the final copies or e-books as soon as they are available.

Why are self-published books not eligible for the prize?

The Desmond Elliott Prize is a trade prize with several stipulations for publishers, such as special print runs, hard copy requests, and publicity requirements, which may not be suitable for self-published authors to fulfil. Please see the publisher information sheet for further information.

Are books by authors who have been published in different genres, or self-published previously, eligible for the prize?

As long as the book you wish to enter is the first novel that the author has published with a publishing house, it is eligible, regardless of whether they have previously published poetry, non fiction or other genres, or if they have previously self-published in any genre.

Are picture books/graphic novels eligible?

The prize is open to works of literary fiction only, though if there are illustrations within the work, the book would still be eligible.

How are books entered for the prize?

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

How do I email in my digital files/e-books?

After submitting the online entry form, please email your files to awards@nationalcentreforwriting.org.uk

Who are the previous winners of the Desmond Elliott Prize?

The previous winners can be found here.

Who are the judges?

The judges will be announced via this website in January 2022.

When will the shortlist be announced?

All applicants of the Desmond Elliott Prize 2022 will be notified of their outcome by the end of April 2022.

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. Explore our free resources for writers