THE 2023 PRIZE HAS NOW CLOSED FOR SUBMISSIONS. PLEASE DO NOT SUBMIT AS YOUR ENTRY WILL NOT BE COUNTED.
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 confirm that our Working-Class Writers’ Prize returns for the fifth consecutive year. This competition is both a celebration of stories as a mode of communication, and a reminder of how vital it is that everyone can share their ideas and experiences via the written word.
This year's judge is Kasim Ali, author of Good Intentions (4th Estate), and you can find out more about Kasim by reading his article I Am Never Not Thinking About Money.
“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’.” Philippa Holloway
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, was 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.The encouragement of the judge, continued support of the W&A team, and being able to say I w as 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 any genre or form of prose fiction and non-fiction. Full entry details can be found below on this same page.
Kasim Ali works at Penguin Random House. He was longlisted for the 4th Estate B4ME Short Story Prize and shortlisted for Hachette's Mo Siewcherran Prize. He has also had a short story published in The Good Journal. His first novel Good Intentions was published in March 2022.
Dates and further announcements
Our 2023 closing date for entries is 23:59 Monday 2nd October 2023.
We had hoped to announce our longlist by the end of October but we need a bit more time to do the reading! Longlisted entries will now be announced w/c 13th November 2023, and our shortlist and the winning entry, as chosen by our judge, will be revealed by the end of November 2023.
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 2023 will receive:
- Mentoring sessions with our judge Kasim Ali
- 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 fiction and non-fiction books
Our four other 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.
All entries will receive feedback on their entry from the W&A Team.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Society of Authors (SoA) is the UK trade union for all types of writers, illustrators and literary translators, at all stages of their careers. We have been advising individuals and speaking out for the profession for more than a century.
Members receive unlimited free advice on all aspects of the profession, including confidential clause-by-clause contract vetting, and a wide range of exclusive offers.
They campaign and lobby on the issues that affect authors and hold a wide range of events across the UK. The SoA also administers grants and prizes to support and celebrate authors at all stages of their careers.