Top writers back Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award.

• Shena Mackay, Owen Sheers and Kate Summerscale to choose the winner of the inaugural £10,000 DRF award
• Ian McEwan and Peter Carey to celebrate the winner at key events
• Over 850 entries for the award

The board of the Deborah Rogers Foundation, set up last year in memory of the universally loved and respected literary agent, Deborah Rogers, is delighted to announce that it has received over 850 submissions for the inaugural Writers Award. In addition, the writers - Shena Mackay, Owen Sheers and Kate Summerscale – who are all clients of Rogers Coleridge & White have agreed to judge the entries while Ian McEwan and Peter Carey will publicly celebrate the winner at key events in May.

In keeping with Deborah’s lifelong objective to seek out and nurture new talent, this £10,000 award is for a first-time writer whose work demonstrates literary talent but who needs financial support to complete their first book. This should be fiction, non-fiction or short stories, but not poetry.

To enter, writers – who must reside within the British Commonwealth and Eire and whose work must be written in the English language – were required to submit 20-30,000 words of literary merit.

The judges will begin their reading in early March, from a longlist compiled by agents within Rogers Coleridge & White. The shortlist will be announced on Thursday 14 April during the London Book Fair.

The winner will be announced on Thursday 5 May (tbc) at an Award Ceremony in London where he/she will receive a cheque for £10,000 from Ian McEwan. The winner will also then appear in conversation with Peter Carey on the opening weekend of the Hay Festival on Saturday 28 May. Both Peter Carey and Ian McEwan were longstanding clients of Deborah’s.

Gill Coleridge comments: “We are delighted to have so many submissions for the inaugural Writers Award; this is a wonderful opportunity for the winner and the shortlisted authors. Deborah would have been so pleased that writers RCW supported in her own lifetime - Peter Carey, Ian McEwan, Shena Mackay, Owen Sheers and Kate Summerscale - are now offering to support other new writers. It is very exciting to know we are on the brink of discovering some wonderful new talent”

The Judges

Shena Mackay


Shena Mackay enjoyed a long friendship and professional relationship with Deborah Rogers. She was one of her very first authors when Deborah set up her agency in 1967. Shena Mackay was born in Edinburgh in 1944. Her writing career began when she won a prize for a poem written when she was fourteen. Two novellas, Dust Falls on Eugene Schlumberger and Toddler on the Run were published before she was twenty. Redhill Rococo won the 1987 Fawcett Prize, Dunedin won a 1994 Scottish Arts Council Book Award, The Orchard on Fire was shortlisted for the 1996 Booker Prize and, in 2003 Heligoland was shortlisted for both the Orange Prize and Whitbread Novel Award. Her latest book, Dancing on the Outskirts, Selected Stories (Virago) was published in November 2015. She has three daughters, Sarah Clark, a teacher, Rebecca Smith, a writer, and Cecily Brown, a painter, and five grandchildren. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and lives in Southampton.

Owen Sheers

Owen Sheers is a poet, author and playwright. His first novel, Resistance, was translated into ten languages and adapted into a film. The Dust Diaries, his Zimbabwean non-fiction narrative, won the Welsh Book of the Year. His awards for poetry and drama include the Somerset Maugham Award for Skirrid Hill, The Hay Festival Poetry Medal and the Welsh Book of the Year for Pink Mist and the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award for his play The Two Worlds of Charlie F. He is Professor in Creativity at Swansea University and lives in Wales with his wife and daughter. His second novel, I Saw A Man, was published by Faber & Faber in 2015.


Kate Summerscale

Kate Summerscale is the author of the bestselling The Suspicions of Mr Whicher, which won the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction and the Galaxy British Book of the Year Award and was adapted as an ITV drama. Her other books are The Queen of Whale Cay, which won a Somerset Maugham award and was shortlisted for the Whitbread biography award, and Mrs Robinson's Disgrace, a Sunday Times bestseller. Her new book, The Wicked Boy, will be published in May 2016. Kate Summerscale has also judged various literary competitions including the Booker Prize. She lives in north London.
Deborah Rogers Foundation:

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:

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

For media information, please contact:

Gill Coleridge
Rogers Coleridge & White Ltd
+44 0207 221 3717

Dotti Irving,
Four Colman Getty
+44 (0) 20 3697 4240


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.
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