Image: Unsplash
Image: Unsplash

Digital hub for aspiring writers launched with help from University of Warwick

The Sunday Times Peters Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award has teamed up with the University of Warwick to encourage aspiring and emerging writers.

The award, with its associate sponsor, the University of Warwick’s Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies, is expanding its digital hub for aspiring and emerging writers. Contributions to the hub are set to come from literary experts and distinguished authors.

The Young Writer of the Year Award rewards the finest work of full-length published or self-published non-fiction, fiction or poetry. It celebrates young British or Irish authors between the ages of 18 and 35. Founded in 1991, and revitalised by one of London’s most established literary agencies Peters Fraser + Dunlop in 2015, the winner receives £5000 with three runners-up receiving £500 each.

The winner of the Award also works with the Warwick Writing Programme to shape a bespoke programme which best suits their needs at the current stage of their writing career

In 2017, the prize secured two further partnerships with the University of Warwick and the British Council.

The prize includes the use of its website to create free content supporting writers just beginning their careers. Contributors include Scottish crime writer Ian Rankin, Nick Hornby and Anne Enright.

The winner of the award also works with the Warwick Writing Programme to shape a bespoke programme which best suits their needs at the current stage of their writing career. It aims to give ‘space and support to develop their own ideas, giving them the opportunity to pull on the wealth of talent available from students and staff in faculties across the University’ over a 10 week period.

New posts include regular ‘Top Tips’ from experts and partners who make up the prize with informative, behind-the-scenes from staff and students at the University of Warwick and journalists from The Sunday Times. It will also include guest posts from the literary world, including the British Council.

There will be a monthly ‘What I Wish I Had Known When I Started Writing’ series from well-established writers

A monthly ‘How To’ series will also be available, written this year by author and an Associate Professor in the Warwick Writing Programme, AL Kennedy. With each writer differing from year to year, pieces in 2018 are to act as an essay-formatted, DIY online course.

Moreover, there will be a monthly ‘What I Wish I Had Known When I Started Writing’ series from well-established writers with an aim to encourage, advise, and surprise with their reminiscences. This series launched Wednesday, August 8, with a piece written by Paul Beatty, author of The Sellout and Slumberland

Literary Editor of The Sunday Times, Andrew Holgate, said: “Bringing together well-known writers, experts in the field, and a network of partners, together with an exceptional list of alumni – from Max Porter to Sarah Howe, from Zadie Smith to Robert Macfarlane, from Sarah Waters to Naomi Alderman – the Sunday Times/Peters Fraser and Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award, in association with Warwick University, is a unique support and champion for emerging and aspiring writers, providing those starting out with an increasing range of expertise, encouragement, and support.”

A shortlist will be announced the first week of November, with the winner being revealed during a ceremony on 6 December at the London Library

The 2018 award is now closed for submissions. A shortlist will be announced the first week of November, with the winner being revealed during a ceremony on 6 December at the London Library.

In 2017, Sally Rooney won the prize for Conversations with Friends, her debut novel (Faber), following 2016’s winner Max Porter and his ‘extraordinary debut’ Grief is the Thing with Feathers (Faber).

Robert Macfarlane, who won the award in 2004, stated: “For young writers, a prize makes all the difference: not just the publicity flare, or the tag-line on the paperback jacket, but the jag of confidence it brings. Someone believes in your prose, someone has prized those sentences you spent all those years laying end to end… Nothing crushes the wish to write quite like apathy; nothing boosts it quite like being read and responded to carefully. [After winning the award in 2004] I started to think I might be able to write another book – that became The Wild Places (2007), and here I am in 2015, six books down and another underway, thinking back more than a decade to the Prize, and the huge boost it gave me.”

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