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Working-Class Writers' Prize 2020

Are you a writer who identifies as working-class? Looking for an opportunity to get your writing out there? Are you getting ready to take that next step on the path to publication?

Writers & Artists are thrilled to announce the return of our Working-Class Writers’ Prize, with award-winning author and tireless advocate of working-class writers, Lisa McInerney, confirmed as this year's judge.


Writers & Artists are thrilled to announce the return of our Working-Class Writers’ Prize, with award-winning author and tireless advocate of working-class writers, Lisa McInerney, confirmed as this years’ judge.

Our inaugural prize last year saw Lucy Kissick win with her debut novel Plutoshine. After being shortlisted for the prize, Kissick signed as a client with literary agent Julie Crisp of Julie Crisp Literary Agency.

To Enter

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  • Submit the beginning of an unpublished work-in-progress.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 your email in a .doc or .pdf format
  • A one-page synopsis that corresponds with the full-length version of your current work-in-progress, attached to your email in a.doc or .pdf format
  • A description of up to 200 words outlining your writing background and how you self-identify as a working-class writer. This should be written in the body of your entry email, and finish with your name and contact details. 
  • You must submit your entry by midnight Monday 15th June 2020

We will announce our shortlist in mid-July and announce the winner in late August.*

*We have been slightly delayed so our winner announcement will take place before the end of August. Thanks for your patience! 

(Please note that this description does not need to be 200 words. We are also not looking for writing 'credentials' or steadfast justification, but simply how this prize speaks to you.)


  • Have an account with, which is free to create 
  • This is completely intersectional and inclusive. You only need to consider yourself from a working-class background to enter.
  • Not have a publishing contract or agent
  • Submit a piece of unpublished writing 
  • Be over 18 and living in the UK or ROI
  • Submit your entry to under the subject line of W&A Working-Class Writers' Prize 2020.


The winner of our Working-Class Writers' Prize 2020 will receive:

  • Year-long writing mentoring from our judge Lisa McInerney
  • A cash prize of £200
  • One year's free subscription to The Society of Authors
  • Free admission to any one-day W&A event 
  • The latest edition of either the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook or Children’s Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook
  • One copy of the Writers’ & Artists’ Guide To Getting Published and Writers’ & ArtistsGuide To How To Hook an Agent

Five shortlisted entries will be announced, and each writer will also receive a copy of one of our latest Yearbooks, W&A Writing Guides, as well as a year's free subscription to The Society of Authors.


Image result for lisa mcinerney

Lisa McInerney's work has featured in Winter Papers, The Stinging Fly, The Guardian, Le Monde, Granta, BBC Radio 4 and various anthologies. Her story 'Navigation' was longlisted for the 2017 Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award.

Her debut novel The Glorious Heresies (John Murray) was published in 2015 and explores salvation, shame and the legacy of Ireland's twentieth-century attitudes to sex and family. The Glorious Heresies won the 2016 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and the 2016 Desmond Elliott Prize. It was shortlisted for an Irish Book Award and longlisted for the 2016 Dylan Thomas Award. It has been translated into French, in which it won the 2018 Ireland Francophonie Ambassadors' Literary Award; Italian, in which it was shortlisted for the Premio Strega Europeo and won the Primo Edoardo Kihlgren for European literature; Spanish, Dutch, German, Czech, Serbian, Polish and Danish.

Lisa’s second novel, The Blood Miracles (John Murray) was published in 2017. It was joint winner of the 2018 RSL Encore Award and was longlisted for the 2018 Dylan Thomas Prize. 

Lisa is currently a contributing editor at The Stinging Fly.

Terms & Conditions

These are the full terms and conditions for W&A Working-Class Writers' Prize 2020.

1. No purchase necessary, but entrants must be registered on

2. The competition is open to all professions and nationalities, however you must live in the UK or ROI to be eligible. 

3. All entries must be original and unpublished.

4. Writers may submit one entry only.

5. All entries must be in prose and written in English.

6. You must be at least 18 years-old to enter.

7. Winners will be notified at the email address stated in their entry. Sign-up for our newsletter via our site if you want to be notified about the winner or check back on You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook, where competition updates will also be posted.

8. Entrants must be of working-class background, and will need to provide this information in their entry.

9. Entries must be submitted via email to with the subject heading: "W&A Working-Class Writers' Prize 2020”. Please include your email address and other contact details in the body of the email. Your entry must be sent in a Word/PDF attachment. As long as it’s clear and easy to read, we have no other formatting requirements.

10. Your entry must be submitted before midnight Monday 15th June 2020. Entries will not be accepted after this date.

11. By submitting, all entrants thereby grant The Bloomsbury Publishing Group the right to publish their entry on in the event of their work being shortlisted and/or winning the competition.

12. The Bloomsbury Publishing Group cannot accept responsibility for entries which are not received or which are received after the closing date due to technical failure or for any other reason.

13. Winners agree to participate in publicity events in connection with the competition.

14. The Bloomsbury Publishing Group and the winners may enter into agreements which will grant The Bloomsbury Publishing Group the publishing, broadcasting, serial and electronic rights in the shortlisted and winning entries.

15. The Bloomsbury Publishing Group reserves the right to change the rules of this prize without notice.

16. The winner of the competition will be notified in early August 2020 and the winning entry will be published on

18. The winning prize cannot be exchanged for the monetary equivalent. 

19. The decision of the competition judge will be final and no correspondence will be entered into.

20. Employees of The Bloomsbury Publishing Group, and members of their immediate family, are excluded from participating in the competition.

21. There is no obligation on Bloomsbury Publishing PLC to publish any of the entrants to the short story submission, in print or in eBook, or to offer any sort of editorial advice.

22. Please send direct competition queries to Any sent to will not be answered. 

23. The yearlong mentoring programme will be structured as follows: an initial 1-hour meeting/call between the judge and prize winner to discuss the opening of the winner’s work. Within a 12-month period the judge and winner will have 4 more meeting/calls to discuss progress of novel. Writers & Artists will work with the winner and Lisa McInerney to arrange this.   

24. The cash prize will be sent to the winner via BACS. Information on how to claim this will be sent to the winner from the W&A team after the competition has ended.