Deborah Rogers Foundation launches with new Writers Award



9th October 2015


  • £10,000 award to enable writer to complete their first book

It is now 18 months since the universally loved and respected literary agent, Deborah Rogers, died. Her sudden death sent a shockwave through the world of publishing and the many writers, publishers and agents whose lives she had touched. Deborah’s particular genius lay in identifying and supporting talented young people. She herself said “I want to work with books that make me feel ennobled” and the Deborah Rogers Foundation (DRF) has therefore been set up in her memory to continue to seek out and nurture new talent.

The board of the Foundation, chaired by Lord Berkeley of Knighton, Deborah’s widower, comprises people who knew and loved Deborah, including RCW colleagues Gill Coleridge and Peter Straus with David Miller as secretary. The Members of the Foundation, which includes writers Ian McEwan and William Fiennes, are listed below.

The first initiative of the Deborah Rogers Foundation, announced on the eve of the Frankfurt Book Fair, is a £10,000 award for a first-time writer whose work demonstrates literary talent but who needs financial support to complete their first book. This can be fiction, non-fiction and short stories but not poetry.

To be eligible, writers – who must reside within the British Commonwealth and Eire and whose work must be written in the English language – are required to submit a minimum 20-30,000 words of literary merit. The closing date for submissions is 31 January 2016 and the inaugural Writers Award will be presented in Summer 2016. (Full submission details here.)

Gill Coleridge comments, "Deborah was both a dear friend and an inspirational colleague to all at RCW. She had impeccable taste and a generous heart, and one of her most endearing characteristics was the interest and support she gave to new writers, wherever they came from. The inauguration of the Deborah Rogers Foundation is the means to ensure that her legacy to the publishing world will be continued and the Writers Award will adopt precisely the same approach to first-time writers as Deborah did in person."

Deborah Rogers Foundation


  • Lord Berkeley of Knighton CBE


  • Gill Coleridge, RCW
  • Tamsin Eastwood
  • Dotti Irving
  • Peter Straus, RCW

Members include:

  • David Miller, RCW (Secretary)
  • Richard Cable
  • Liz Calder
  • Carmen Callil
  • William Fiennes
  • Peter Florence
  • Andrew Franklin
  • Ian McEwan
  • Stephen Page
  • Baroness Rebuck DBE


On 1st July 2021 submissions to the DRF Writers Award closed. The winner will be announced on 7th December 2021 and shortlisted writers will be contacted by email in mid-November 2021.
Submissions for the DRF 2021 Writers Award can be made between 1st April 2021 until 1st July 2021.
The 2021 DRF Writers Award will open for submissions on 1st April 2021 and close on 1st July 2021. The next DRF David Miller Bursary will open for applications in late 2021.
The winner of the 2020 Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award is ‘Pemi Aguda for The Suicide Mothers, a work of fiction. Ian Rankin (Chair of the Judges) introduced the three shortlisted authors and then announced the winner who will receive the prize of £10,000.
Judges Ian Rankin OBE (Chair), Sarah Perry and Max Porter announce the shortlist for the 2020 Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award. 3 are chosen out of 876 entries and a shortlist of 8.
The winner of the 2019 DRF David Miller Bursary, Prema Raj, has reported on her time spent at five different publishing companies, in Denmark, Italy, the UK and the USA.
The winner will be announced in mid-May 2020 and shortlisted writers will be contacted directly.
Submissions for the DRF 2020 Writers Award can be made between 1st June 2019 until 31st October 2019.
The winner of the inaugural Deborah Rogers Foundation Bursary Award is Prema Raj
The winner will be announced in February 2019. For more information about the DRF David Miller Bursary please visit the bursary page.