estival of riting ompetitions

You need to be booked to attend the Festival to enter these competitions

 

Friday Night Live

An amazing opportunity that could lead straight to an agent - and a book deal. Here's how it works: You send us up to 500 words from your manuscript.

  • We'll pick the seven entries we like the best.
  • The seven shortlisted writers will read their work out on Friday night.
  • We'll have some expert judges to offer their views ...
  • But the final vote will be left to the Festival audience.
  • The winner gets a bottle of fizz. Better still, you'll get the attention of every agent in the room.

The wonderful track record of success: In 2014, having won the Friday Night Live Comp Joanna Cannon walked away with seven offers from literary agents. She decided to sign with Susan Armstrong, and The Borough Press (HarperCollins) acquired Jo’s novel shortly afterwards. THE TROUBLE WITH GOATS AND SHEEP was published in January 2016. Within a fortnight of publication, it reached #3 in The Sunday Times bestsellers’ list. In 2013, after reading for Friday Night Live, writer Deborah Install, was approached on the spot by agent Jenny Savill and was soon the proud owner of a six-figure publishing deal. A Robot in the Garden was a Doubleday hardback in April 2015, and was published as a Black Swan paperback in early 2016. From great beginnings: In its inaugural year, the winner of the comp was Shelley Harris, who was offered representation by a number of different agents as a result. She signed up with Conville & Walsh, who had multiple publishers interested. Weidenfeld & Nicolson won the auction ... and this book and her next are available from all good bookshops.

This year could easily be your year, you just need to enter! And to do just this, all you need to do is: 

Email us by 24th August. Your email must have "Friday Night Live" as the subject and you should attach an excerpt from your manuscript (max 500 words) as a Word document or PDF file. Please include your booking ref. in the body of the email. 

We will acknowledge receipt of entries by 31st August. Thereafter only the seven shortlisted candidates will be notified of their success - by 2nd September. Please don't email us to chase us! We have enough to do around then.

One entry per ticket. If you're chosen as one of the seven, you will need to be present on the Friday night, so do make sure your ticket includes the full Festival weekend - or at least make sure that you can get to York for that evening.


 

Best opening chapter 

Judged by Agent Jenny Savill and Author Tor Udall.

Here's how it works: you send us your opening chapter (up to a max of 3000 words) plus a one-paragraph descriptionof the book.

  • We'll winnow the entries down to a shortlist of 6 or so, then we'll pass on those entries to our judging panel of top agent, Jenny Savill, and a Festival of Writing success story, Tor Udall. They'll then pick a winner and two runners-up.

Email us by the 24th August with your entry using "Best Opening Chapter" as the subject line of your email. You should attach the opening chapter of your MS (up to a max of 3000 words) preceded by a short one para summary of the book. Those things should be in a single document, which may be either a Word document or a PDF file. Please include your booking ref. in the body of the email. 

We welcome fiction and non-fiction; work aimed at adults or children; and any genre at all.

If your book contains a prologue, we suggest you skip that and send the first chapter instead - but we don't know your book and can't advise you. It's up to you to make the call. Just send us a maximum of 3000 words drawn from the start of your book.

We will acknowledge receipt of entries by 30th August. Shortlisted candidates only will be notified by 2nd September. Winner and runners up will be announced at the Gala Dinner on Saturday night. The winner will be invited to read a short extract from their work following the dinner - but that's optional.


 

Pitch Perfect 2016.   

Judged by Marjacq Agents Philip Patterson, Sandra Sawicka and Imogen Pelham

If a book doesn't have a strong, convincing and intriguing concept, your book will not be taken on by an agent. Philip, Sandra and Imogen are looking for the best elevator pitch of 2016. If you're not sure what one of those is, here's our Harry with a quick reminder.  

 We're wanting your best one paragraph (max 150 words) book pitches – one children’s prize and one adults.  It needs to be a grabbing, easily communicated concise description of what your story is about.

To enter please email us by 24th August. Your email must have "Pitch Perfect" as the subject and you should attach a one paragraph (max 150 words) book pitch as a Word document or PDF file. Please include your booking ref. in the body of the email. 

We will acknowledge receipt of entries by 30th August. Thereafter only the shortlisted candidates will be notified of their success - by 2nd September.