The Festival Competitions

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.

Joanna Cannon won 'Friday Night Live' at our 2014 Festival of Writing. She walked away with seven offers from literary agents. That novel was published to huge acclaim and got a TV deal. Her follow-up sold for a massive £300,000.

Read the success stories. >>

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 21st August. Your email must have "Friday Night Live" as the subject and you should attach an excerpt from anywhere in 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 30th August. Thereafter only the seven shortlisted candidates will be notified of their success - by 2nd September. 

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 

 

Literary agent Sallyanne Sweeney (MMB Creative) has been confirmed as the judge for the 'Opening Chapter Competition' - available only to ticket holders. 

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

We'll winnow the entries down to a shortlist of 6 or so, then we'll pass on those entries to Sallyanne Sweeney. Sallyanne will then pick a winner and two runners-up.

Sallyanne Sweeney

After graduating Sallyanne joined Watson, Little Ltd, becoming a Literary Agent in 2008 and a Director of the company in 2011. She joined Mulcahy Associates in 2013 and is building her list of authors and illustrators for children (picture books to Young Adult) and adults. 

Passionate about working with debut authors, her fiction tastes are wide-ranging, from the literary to the very commercial, but she is always excited by a distinctive voice, strong storytelling, and a fresh premise.

How to Enter: email us by the 21st 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 2017!

 

Judged by literary agent Carrie Plit (Felicity Bryan) - available only to ticket holders. 

Before joining Felicity Bryan as an agent in 2016, Carrie worked for five years at Conville & Walsh Literary Agency. At FBA she is actively building a list of non-fiction and fiction clients, with a focus on debut authors.

It can be tough to boil your book down to 3 or 4 sentences, but a strong ‘elevator pitch’ – so called because it can be expressed in the length of an elevator ride – is often essential to your success as a writer. If your book doesn’t have a strong, convincing and intriguing concept, it will be difficult to catch the notice of an agent or publisher.

"So in this competition, I’m looking for your best one paragraph (max 150 words) book pitch.  Your pitch needs to be a grabbing, easily-communicated, concise description of what your story is about. The more specific, the better: tell me the protagonist(s) of the story, where they are, and the central narrative drive. This should be an intriguing taster, not the whole plot – and try to leave out any extraneous information. Imagine that your pitch is the back cover of your book. What would it say? How would you make someone excited to read the first page?"

To enter please email us by 21st 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.