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


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.
The Deborah Rogers Foundation announced that applications are now open for the second David Miller Bursary. Candidates have until 16th December to apply. Applications should be made via the website.
The winner of the 2018 Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award is Deepa Anappara for Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line, a work of fiction.
Judges Anne Enright, Pete Hobbs and Jenny Uglow announce the shortlist for the 2018 £10,000 DRF Award. Three are chosen out of 752 entries. Winner to be announced on 16th May at Award ceremony in London
We are delighted that the winner of the inaugural Writers Award, Sharlene Teo’s debut novel, Ponti, will be published by Picador in the UK in April 2018 and by Simon & Schuster in the US in September 2018. It is currently sold in seven other languages.
The Crossway is an account of Guy Stagg’s extraordinary pilgrimage from Canterbury to Jerusalem. It will be published by Picador on the 14th June 2018 and will be BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week from the 18th June 2018.
The winner of the inaugural DRF David Miller Bursary, Sam Coates, has reported on his time spent at four different publishing companies. The report is now available to read in this post.