An awards scheme – which is being supported by Newcastle’s Northumbria University – is offering grants totalling £45,000 to help struggling writers in the north of England.

The Northern Writers’ Awards – set up by New Writing North in 2000 – aim to recognise talented writers and help their work towards eventual publication or broadcast.

The awards – which are the largest of their type in England – have earned a reputation for discovering high-quality new writing.

Any writers interested should submit their work-in-progress by Thursday 6th February 2020. There are categories for novels, poetry, screenwriting, short story writing, narrative nonfiction and graphic novels.

One category is the Northumbria University Student and Alumni Award, for which the university’s recent graduates and final year students, from any discipline, are entitled to apply. This £2,000 prize is on offer to both fiction writers and poets.

The Northern Writers’ Awards have so far supported over 300 writers. One writer who benefitted from an award was Yvonne Battle-Felton, whose novel Remembered was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

A poet helped by the scheme was Andrew McMillan, whose debut collection physical scooped the Guardian First Book Award. Another writer who benefitted from the awards, Jayshree Patel, now works on the Hollyoaks writing team.

In addition to cash to allow people time to write, the Northern Writers’ Awards also offer mentoring and developmental support, including residential courses. Some award categories will also give writers the opportunity to pitch to literary agents and editors.

During the submission window for the awards, New Writing North and Dead Ink Books are accepting submissions for Test Signal, a crowd-funded collection of northern writing. Submissions can be either fiction or narrative non-fiction.

As well as Northumbria University and Arts Council England, other organisations participating in the awards include Channel 4, Newcastle University, Hachette Children’s Group, the Society of Authors and the independent publisher Oneworld Publications.

The chief executive of New Writing North, Claire Malcolm, said, “The act of writing a new novel, poetry collection or original television script is never easy.”

“Finding an outlet for that work can be even harder. Through the Northern Writers’ Awards, we set out to support writers in both these challenges: we identify gifted writers in the north of England, investing belief and resources in their talent before helping them to find pathways into what at times can seem a distant and unforgiving industry.”

“The awards have always been about the writers and, as always, we look forward to a season of discovery, surprise and admiration as we work our way through this year’s submissions.”

To enter, or learn more about, the Northern Writers’ Awards, please go to

(Featured image courtesy of Denise Krebs, from Flickr Creative Commons)

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