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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > July 2018 > WRITER’S NEWS


Your essential monthly round-up of competitions, paying markets, opportunities to get into print and publishing industry news.

£20,000 for a debut novel


The Daily Mail Random House First Novel Competition invites entries.

The first prize in the competition for a novel for adult readers is a £20,000 advance.

This is the third year that the competition for new novelists has run. In 2016, the winner was Amy Lloyd with The Innocent Wife, which has now been published in eighteen countries. Last year’s winner, Lizzy Barber’s My Name is Alice, will be published by Penguin Random House in January.

All entries must be original, previously unpublished fiction in any genre for adults except saga, sci-fior fantasy. Entrants must not previously have published a novel with a valid ISBN, or be represented by a literary agent. The prize is an advance against publication or the winning novel, and literary representation by Luigi Bonomi (pictured) of LBA Books Ltd. The highly commended entry may also be offered literary representation by LBA Books Ltd. All entrants must be able to deliver their manuscripts no later than March 2019.

If in the publishers’ opinion none of the entries are of a standard to merit publication, the winner’s prize will be substituted for ten books.

To enter, send the first 3,000 words of a debut novel plus a 600-word synopsis, printed in 12pt font and double-spacing on single sides of A4. Enter by post. Include a cover sheet with name and contact details.

The closing date is 13 July.

Details: Daily Mail First Novel Competition, c/o Penguin Random House Group, 20 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London SW1V 2SA; website:

Big prizes for young poets

Original poems on the theme of ‘Place’ are invited for the Betjeman Poetry Prize from those aged 10-13 years and resident in the UK or Republic of Ireland. The place can be a real or imagined place: you are invited to stretch your imagination. See previous entries and winners on the website.

The prizes are plentiful for this competition with the winner receiving £500 plus £500 for the English Department of their school and two runners-up receiving £50 each. Plus the top three poets will each receive four Eurostar tickets to Paris, Brussels or Lille and all six finalists will be invited to a threeday Betjeman Poetry Camp. Those with highly commended poems will receive a book token and the top fifty poems will be printed in an anthology. Any school submitting an entry form will be entered into a prize draw to receive a visit from a poet.

There are no restrictions on length or style of poetry and it does not have to rhyme. It must however not have been published, self-published, published on a website or have been broadcast. Poetry which has been included in an individual school magazine can be entered.

Each poem should have a title. Both legible handwritten and typed/printed entries will be accepted and should be accompanied by a completed entry form, downloadable from the website. Entries from teachers submitting more than one pupil’s entry can be included on one entry form per class.

The Betjeman Poetry Prize is an education sector charity working with partners across the British Isles to promote literacy, foster creativity and provide a platform for new voices from the next generation.

The closing date for entries is 31 July and submissions may be made online via the website or posted.

Details: Betjeman Poetry Prize, 5 Princes Crescent, Hove, East Sussex BN3 4GS; website:

Get gothicking

To commemorate the 200th anniversary of the publication of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Nightmare: Gothic Dreams is the latest creative writing competition from SaveAs Writers in Canterbury.

The international competition invites stories and poems in the gothic tradition. There are prizes in each category of £200, £100 and £50. Winners and selected runners-up may be published in an anthology.

Short stories may be up to 2,500 words, and poems up to sixty lines.

All entries must be original and unpublished. Send entries as docs or pdf files. Your name must not appear on the manuscript. Email entrants should include the PayPal payment ID in the email heading, and name, contact details and submission titles in the body of the submission email.

Enter by post or email. The short story entry fee is £4 or £10 for three (plus 50p administration charge for each email entry if paying by PayPal) and the poetry fee is £3 or £8 for three (plus the 50p admin charge for online entries). Postal entrants should make cheques payable to SaveAs Writers.

The closing date is 31 August.

Details: Luigi Marchini, c/o SaveAs Writers, 35 Spillett Close, Faversham, Kent ME13 8QP; email:; website:

Stories that link people

Link Age Southwark is inviting entries for its 25th Birthday Writing Competition.

The theme of the competition is friendship and/ or generations. Stories between 250 and 1,000 words, and poems up to 40 lines, are invited in two categories: 18+ and children’s. In the 18+ category, there are prizes of £200, £150 and £100. In the children’s category, the prizes consist of book vouchers.

All entries must be original and unpublished. Send entries by email as doc or docx attachments with the title of the short story or poem as the filename. Your name must not appear on the manuscript. Include your name and age group in the email subject line.

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About Writing Magazine

How can you get your writing to the readers it deserves? In this month's issue of Writing Magazine we look at how to generate new freelance opportunities and how and why the flourishing independent press scene may be your best bet. First though, if you're a new writer you need to read our guide to finding and fixing those rookie mistakes in How Not to Be a Bad Writer. This month's star interview is the man with the golden pen Anthony Horowitz, talking about bringing back Bond and maintaining his impressive hit rate. Keep up to date with all the latest competitions and opportunities to get into print with Writers' News – there's £37,240 in writing prizes to be won!