Apply for a Desmond Elliott Prize Residency 2023
NCW is offering three fully funded writing residencies for debut novelists
Applications for this residency have now closed. Please see our current opportunities here.

National Centre for Writing is offering three fully funded writing residencies for debut novelists at the Dragon Hall Cottage, National Centre for Writing, Norwich UNESCO City of Literature in August 2023.

This exciting opportunity is part of Season of Debuts, a programme which champions the work of first-time novelists from the UK. It is a legacy of the Desmond Elliott Prize, which has taken a hiatus to fundraise and develop its offer.

The residencies are open to fiction writers based in the UK or Ireland who published their first novel between 1 April 2022 and 31 March 2023.

Three successful applicants will be offered between five- and seven-days residency at the Dragon Hall Cottage, Norwich. There will be no charge for the cottage or facilities during your stay, you will be given a stipend to cover costs. Additional benefits include:

  • An invitation to contribute to the National Centre for Writing programme during your stay. Creative engagements are non-compulsory, and any contributions are paid.
  • A guide to the city and help planning your visit.

Ultimately, the residency is your time, and if space to write is most needed, you will be left alone to do so!


To be eligible, you must:

  • Be a permanent resident of the UK or Ireland
  • Have published a debut fiction novel with a publishing house in the UK or Ireland between 1 April 2022 and 31 March 2023. It must be in its first format, e.g. paperback is not eligible if it came out in hardback prior to these dates
  • This work must be full-length, literary fiction novels written for adults
  • Be available to undertake a residency of between five and seven days in Norwich between 31 July and 31 August 2023

Eligibility requirements are in line with the Desmond Elliott Prize.

How to apply

Applications for the 2023 Desmond Elliott Prize residencies are now closed.


Frequently asked questions

When will I hear if I’ve been successful?

Three successful writers will be contacted in April 2023 and offered up to a week residency in August 2023. The three writers selected for the residency will be announced in May 2023.

Why Norwich?

Norwich is home to National Centre for Writing, who deliver the Desmond Elliott Prize. It is also a UNESCO City of Literature, hosting and championing writers and translators across the UK and internationally. Norwich has an impressive literary legacy dating back to 1395, when Julian of Norwich wrote the first book written by a woman in the English language. Norwich is a vibrant, cultural city that celebrates and supports artists and audiences. Situated in the heartland of Norfolk, the city is also a stone’s throw away from stunning rural landscape including the Norfolk Broads, fenland and over eighty miles of coastland.

Why is this opportunity for novelists 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 are self-published books not eligible for the prize?

This residency is a legacy of the Desmond Elliott Prize, which is a trade prize specifically supporting traditionally published authors, and so mirrors the prize ethos and eligibility.

Can I submit the paperback if my novel was previously published in hardback?

To be eligible for the prize, your debut novel much be published in its first format between 1 April 2022 and 31 March 2023. For example, if the hardcover format was published prior to 1 April 2022, the book would not be eligible.

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. Authors who have previously published works of poetry, non-fiction, short story collections or have self-published are still eligible to apply.

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