Submissions have now closed for the 2021 Writers Award

All submissions will now be read and you will be notified by email before the end of October 2021 if your submission is chosen for the longlist.

The shortlist will be announced at the end of November 2021. The winner of the Award will be announced at a ceremony in London on 7th December 2021 where Ian McEwan will present the Award.

The judges for the 2021 Award are Colm Tóibín (Chair), Deepa Anappara, Anna James and Ingrid Persaud.

The previous Winners of the Deborah Rogers Foundation Writers Award 

Pemi Aguda

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 has been sold in over 21 territories 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 will be 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.


 Ian McEwan CBE, Deepa Anappara and Sharlene Teo at the Hay Festival 2018


 Ian McEwan CBE, Deepa Anappara and Sharlene Teo at the Hay Festival 2018.