2023 WRITERS AWARD
Submissions to the Writers Award have closed.
All submissions will now be read and you will be notified by email before the end of September 2023 if your submission is chosen for the longlist.
The shortlist will be announced October 2023. The winner of the Award will be announced at a ceremony in London later that month.
The judges for the 2023 Award are Abdulrazak Gurnah (Chair), Claire Adam and Annalena McAfee.
Do you accept submissions from Children’s writers?
Yes, we do accept submissions of Children’s, YA, Middle-Grade etc
Can I enter if I have self-published a book before?
No, we do not accept submissions from self-published writers
Can I enter if I have had a book of poetry published before?
Yes, we do accept submissions from writers who have published a collection of poetry
What are the Commonwealth countries?
A list of British Commonwealth countries can be found here
Can I have been published in another language?
No, unfortunately we do not accept submissions from authors who have previously been published in any language
Will I hear from anyone?
You will receive an automated response to your submission, but please note we are unable to respond to queries
I have submitted to the DRF Writers Award before, can I submit again?
Yes, you can submit new work to the DRF Writers Award, but not work you have submitted in a previous year
Can I submit more than one work?
No, we allow only one submission per writer
I have an agent/representation, can I still apply?
Yes, we accept submissions from writers with agents. Writers cannot however be under option or contract to a publisher
Can I enter if I have translated or edited a work or anthology?
If you have translated or edited a work you may enter the prize, so long as you are not the only contributor named in the work
Can I enter if I have had a book published by a small academic press?
No, we do not accept submissions from writers who have previously published a book-length work
Do you accept submissions of graphic novels, picture books or cookery books?
No, we do not accept these types of submissions
I’m a published non-fiction/fiction writer, and this is my first work of fiction/non-fiction; am I still eligible?
No, we do not accept authors who have previously been published in a full-length prose format (with the exception of a collection of poetry)
Can I enter if I have had a short story or an essay published in an anthology, journal or magazine?
Yes, in this case you would be eligible
Can I enter if I have had a script for a play, film or TV published?
Yes, you would be eligible
Judges of the 2023 Writers Award
Abdulrazak Gurnah is the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2021. He is the author of ten novels: Memory of Departure, Pilgrims Way, Dottie, Paradise (shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Whitbread Award), Admiring Silence, By the Sea (longlisted for the Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Award), Desertion (shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize) The Last Gift, Gravel Heart, and Afterlives, which was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Fiction 2021 and longlisted for the Walter Scott Prize. He was Professor of English at the University of Kent and was a Man Booker Prize judge in 2016. He lives in Canterbury.
Claire Adam was born and raised in Trinidad. She read Physics at Brown University and later took an MA in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she gained a distinction. Her debut novel Golden Child was published by Faber & Faber and SJP for Hogarth in 2019, and was listed as one of the BBC's 100 Novels that Shaped our World. It was awarded the Desmond Elliott Prize, the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, the Author's Club Best First Novel Award and the McKitterick Prize 2020. She lives in London.
Annalena McAfee worked in newspapers for more than three decades. She was arts and literary editor of the Financial Times and founded the Guardian Review, which she edited for six years. She has written eight children’s books, and has three novels The Spoiler, Hame and Nightshade published by Harvill Secker.
The previous Winners of the Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award
The winner of the 2021 DRF Writers Award was Mathelinda Nabugodi for The Trembling Hand: Reflections of a Black Woman in the Romantic Archive, a work of non-fiction to be published by Hamish Hamilton in the UK and Knopf in the US in 2024.
Mathelinda said: ‘Winning the DRF Writers Award is such a wonderful validation of my work. I am so gratified to know that my attempt to stage a fresh and honest encounter with the Romantic archive has resonated with the judges and all the prize readers.’
The runners-up were Yasmine Awwad for The Shrills and Sophie Meadows for The Frog. Both titles are works of fiction.
The winner of the 2020 DRF Writers Award was ‘Pemi Aguda for The Suicide Mothers. In second place was Stephen Buoro for The Five Sorrowful Mysteries of Andy Africa and in third place S. Bhattacharya-Woodward for Zolo and Other Stories. All three titles were works of fiction.
‘Pemi said: “As artists, our financial lives are so precarious and so receiving support of this size, especially now, fills me with peace about the near future. So, thank you.”
The winner of the 2018 DRF Writers Award was Deepa Anappara for her novel Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line. Since winning the prize this novel will be translated into 22 languages and was hailed by the New York Times Book Review as “a Literary Supernova”.
Deepa said: “Winning the DRF Writers Award and listening to the helpful comments of the judges gave me both the permission and conviction I needed to finish my novel.”
The runners-up were Dima Alzayat for Daughters of Manat & Other Stories which was published as Alligator & Other Stories and Chris Connolly for The Speed of Light and How it Cannot Help Us. Both titles are collections of stories.
The winner of the inaugural 2016 DRF Writers Award was Sharlene Teo for her novel Ponti. Since winning the award this novel has been sold in 10 countries.
Sharlene said: “Winning the Deborah Rogers Award was life-changing and provided me with the confidence and support to finish my novel.”
The runners-up were Guy Stagg for The Crossway, a memoir, and Imogen Hermes Gower for her novel The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock.
The Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award
The Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award was the first initiative of the Deborah Rogers Foundation, set up in 2015 in memory of the much loved and respected literary agent, Deborah Rogers. In keeping with Deborah’s special talent for nurturing and supporting emerging new writers, the Award gives £10,000 to a previously unpublished writer whose submission of 15,000- 20,000 words demonstrates literary talent and who needs financial support to complete their first book. The submitted work can be fiction, non-fiction, children’s or short stories. Applicants must reside in the British Commonwealth or Eire. The winner receives £10,000 and the two shortlisted authors £1,000 each.
The Award is biennial, alternating with the Deborah Rogers Foundation David Miller Internship Programme which offers work placements in publishing houses and agencies worldwide and £10,000 to cover travel and accommodation costs. The first winner, in 2017, was Sam Coates, senior rights executive at Vintage UK and the second, in 2019 was Prema Raj, of AM Heath.