Now Penguin offers £10,000 publishing prize for underrepresented crime and thriller writers

Penguin Michael Joseph is offering a new £10,000 prize for crime and thriller writing by underrepresented writers in the UK.

The contest is set to be awarded annually but will not be confined to crime and thriller writing as the company says the genre will be changing for the prize next year.

The Penguin imprint is looking for unpublished writers aged over 18 who are resident in the UK or the Republic of Ireland and who have a background that’s underrepresented in publishing, which the firm says would include but is not limited to writers from a socio-economically marginalised background, Black, Asian and minority ethnic writers, LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer) writers or disabled writers.

Short pitch with 2,000-word extract

Entries should be submitted as a short pitch of the book with a 2,000-word extract.

The winner of the prize will get a publishing contract with PMJ, worth at least £10,000, and representation by the D H H Literary Agency.

All shortlisted writers will get one-to-one editorial feedback and guidance from an editor or agent.

The judges for the award are: Joel Richardson, Publisher for Crime/Thriller at Penguin Michael Joseph; children’s and Young Adult author Amy McCulloch; crime fiction critic Ayo Onatade; Waterstones’ head of fiction Bea Carvalho;  David Headley, owner of Goldsboro Books and managing director and agent at D H H Literary Agency; and Syima Aslam, founder and director of the Bradford Literature Festival.

How to enter the contest

Entries open on September 30 and close on November 30, 2022. Writers who get through to the next round will be notified by January 10, 2023, and a longer extract from the book will then be required. The shortlist will be drawn up by March 24 when another longer extract will be needed before making their final entry, and the winner will be announced next summer in August 2023.

Details of how to submit entries and the terms and conditions of entry can be found here on the Penguin Michael Joseph website.

Earlier this week, added £25,000 to the Joffe Books prize to widen diversity in crime fiction, making the award the biggest prize in UK crime writing. The Joffe Books Prize is in its second year.

In August, ‘Storytelling brand’ OWN IT! linked up with Amazon Publishing to offer a £3,500 cash prize in a new writing contest which aims to boost diversity in commercial fiction.