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?

Submission guidelines will be posted on the National Centre for Writing website when applications open for next year’s prize.

Who are the previous winners of the Desmond Elliott Prize?

The previous winners can be found here.

Who are the judges?

The 2020 judges for the Prize can be found here.

When will the shortlist be announced?

All applicants of the Desmond Elliott Prize 2020 will be notified of their outcome by the end of April 2020. The shortlist will be announced on Tuesday 2 June.

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.