Are you a writer who identifies as working-class? If you’re looking for an opportunity to hone your writing craft and let your work take centre stage, then this prize is for you.
Writers & Artists are thrilled to announce the return of our Working-Class Writers’ Prize for the fourth year in a row. This competition is a celebration of the story; a format that continually finds a way to connect and empower. But everyone needs to be encouraged to share their experiences and tell them; to become part of a conversation we all need to hear.
Past Winners & Entrants
Our inaugural winner Lucy Kissick went on to secure literary representation and a two book deal with Gollancz. Her debut novel, Plutoshine, will be published on 17th March 2022.
Speaking about the Prize, Lucy said "I’m so grateful to Writers & Artists for organising and judging the Working Class Writers’ Prize. Sitting down to write requires time and headspace — it requires the sacrifice of more reliable sources of income — and for those of slim financial means this is an all-too discouraging risk. Holding a competition to recognise writers from this oft-overlooked demographic is one of many ways we can work to create equality of opportunity for UK writers, and I cannot thank everyone involved enough for making the Prize happen.”
Philippa Holloway was a runner-up in the 2020 Prize and her debut novel, The Half-life of Snails will be published by Parthian Books in May 2022.
Speaking about the Prize, Philippa said "Writing can feel a lonely business, especially if you are from a demographic that isn’t generally expected to contribute to, or even belong in, the arts or publishing world. Imposter syndrome is real. But things are changing, and this prize is part of that change. For me, the W&A Working Class Writers Prize offered a space to celebrate my background, to be heard without having to hide my roots, and to feel pride in my work in an industry that can feel daunting and alien to ‘outsiders’. The encouragement of the judge, continued support of the W&A team, and being able to say I was finalist in the competition on the pitch letter I sent out once my novel was completed, all contributed to my belief in the work itself. My writing has now found its home, and I hope I can encourage others to take the leap and enter their words here."
Simply submit a sample of your writing, which must be the beginning of an unpublished work-in-progress no more than 2,000 words in length and a one-page synopsis for the full manuscript. You must also include a short piece of writing (200 words) in the Covering Letter section of our online entry form about yourself and why this prize speaks to you.
Please note that this prize is open to entrants writing in all genres, and that full entry details can be found below on this same page.
Dates and further announcements
Our 2022 closing date for entries is 23:59 18th July.
Shortlisted entries will be announced on Writersandartists.co.uk on by August, with the winning entry, as chosen by our judge, to be announced at the end of August 2022.
To enter this competition, all entrants must:
- Consider yourself from a working class background
- Be over 18 and living in the UK or ROI
- Not have a publishing contract or agent
- Submit a piece of unpublished writing
The winner of our Working-Class Writers' Prize 2022 will receive:
- Two 1-hour mentoring sessions with our judge, Jessica Andrews
- A cash prize of £200
- Access to a number of W&A writing and publishing events
- One year’s membership to The Society of Authors
- A writing guide bundle including the latest edition of the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook or the Children’s Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook, Writers’ & Artists’ Guide To Getting Published or Writers’ & Artists’ Guide To How To Hook an Agent
- A selection of Bloomsbury books
Our five shortlisted entries will also receive a writing guide bundle, one year’s membership for The Society of Authors, as well as support from the W&A team.
Jessica writes fiction. Her debut novel, Saltwater was published by Sceptre in 2019 and won the Portico Prize in 2020 and her second novel, Milk Teeth is forthcoming in July 2022. She has written for the Guardian, the Independent, BBC Radio 4, Stylist and ELLE magazine, among others. She was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction Futures in 2022 and nominated for the ELLE list in 2020. She co-runs literary and arts magazine, The Grapevine and co-presents literary podcast, Tender Buttons. She teaches Creative Writing at Roehampton University.
Full competition entry details
To enter this competition, all entrants must:
- Submit the beginning of an unpublished work-in-progress. This can be in any genre but must appear as prose, be no more than 2,000 words in length, and attached to our online submissions form in a.doc or .pdf format
- A one-page synopsis that corresponds with the full-length version of your current work-in-progress in the same document as your 2,000 words. Please include the synopsis after your writing. The document that you upload must contain your name within the document title
- A description of up to 200 words outlining your writing background and how you self-identify as a working-class writer within the Covering Letter section of our online form. Please note that this description does not need to be 200 words We are also not looking for writing 'credentials' or stead-fast justification, but simply how this prize speaks to you
- Have an account with writersandartists.co.uk, which is free to create
- Submit their entry via our online form below
You do require an internet connection to submit your competition entry, however if you have any questions or specific accessibility queries, please do contact us at email@example.com.