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The Northern Writers Awards 2016 are now open

3rd December 2015

Writers based in the North of England are now able to apply for £40,000 worth of support through the Northern Writers’ Awards 2016.

The awards, supported by Northumbria University and Arts Council England, are the country’s leading talent development programme for writers and attracted more than 850 entries from across the region last year. Now in their 16th year, the Northern Writers Awards recognise unpublished work-in-progress and have been given to 197 writers since they were founded in 2000. Earlier this year, Northumbria confirmed a further three years of continued support for the awards as part of the University’s ongoing partnership with founders New Writing North, the writing development agency for the region. In 2016, the Northern Writers Awards will debut a new prize specifically for Northumbria students and alumni. This special award is open to final year students and alumni of the University.

Northumbria University Pro Vice-Chancellor (Business and Engagement) Lucy Winskell OBE said: “The Northern Writers’ Awards are a fantastic opportunity for new and emerging writers in the North of England and I’m delighted to see the awards open for submissions once again in their 16th year.

“I’ll be very excited to see which talented writers win this year’s awards and I’m especially pleased to see a number of new categories, including the new Northumbria University Student and Alumni Award, which is open to final year students and alumni of the University.”

She added: “The awards are at the heart of Northumbria’s partnership with New Writing North and we were delighted to confirm a further three years of support earlier this year. Our continued investment demonstrates our commitment to celebrating and nurturing creative talent in the region. Northumbria’s partnership with New Writing North goes from strength to strength each year as we develop exciting collaborations for our students, staff and the wider writing and cultural community. This enables us to share expertise, develop innovative research and provide a wealth of unique creative opportunities.”

For emerging writers, winning a Northern Writers’ Award can offer a foot up the ladder, including introductions to publishers and agents, support from New Writing North and the possibility of mentoring and other professional development advice. For writers who have already had work published, winning an award can buy time to write or to follow a new artistic direction. Recent notable Northern Writers’ Awards winners include poet Andrew McMillan, whose first collection physical won the Guardian First Book Award 2015 and is shortlisted for the Costa Poetry Award; and short story writer Carys Davies, whose collection The Redemption of Galen Pike won both the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize and the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. The 2016 awards will be judged by literary agent Euan Thorneycroft (AM Heath), publishers Hannah Westland (Serpent’s Tail) and Leah Thaxton (Faber & Faber), author Louise O’Neill, poet Patience Agbabi, and journalist Peter Wilby.

Claire Malcolm, chief executive of New Writing North said: “The Northern Writers’ Awards are our primary means of identifying writers of exceptional talent, whose work we feel we can support towards publication or broadcast. As such, they are right at the heart of our work. It’s always incredibly exciting to open up the awards each year, not knowing whose work we are going to come across, often for the first time. We know now that winning an award can have a real impact on a writer’s career, and it means a huge amount to us to be able to support writers across the North of England in this way.”

The awards available for 2016 include the flagship Northern Writers’ Awards, which offer cash prizes of up to £5,000 for writers of prose and poetry, New Fiction Bursaries, which provide new writers an in-depth editorial report from The Literary Consultancy, and the new Northumbria University Student and Alumni Award.

The Channel 4/Northumbria University Writing for Television Award offers three writers attachments to Liverpool-based television production company, Lime Pictures. Two writers will be awarded the opportunity to work with staff on Hollyoaks, while – in a brand new award – a third writer will be attached to Lime Pictures’ children’s television drama department. All three writers will receive mentoring from experienced producers and a bursary worth £3,000. At the end of the development period, writers may have the opportunity to undertake a paid commission for an episode of a Lime Pictures production. 

The Clare Swift Short Story Award, sponsored by the North East Chamber of Commerce, was founded in 2014 in memory of Clare Swift and is open exclusively to North East writers. It will award £1,000 to the writer of the North East’s best unpublished short story. A number of other awards for different age groups are also available. The Northern Writers’ Awards are open for entry from Tuesday 1 December 2015 to Wednesday 3 February 2016. To enter and to read the full terms and conditions for all of the awards go to:

Winners will be notified in June 2016, with the awards ceremony taking place on Thursday 30 June 2016. Northumbria University offers a wide range of courses in English Literature and Creative Writing. To find out more sign up for one of our upcoming Open Days or go to:

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