Brit Writers’ Awards 2011

The Brit Writers’ Awards is a major competition with a massive £10,000 prize for the eventual winner and it’s principally aimed at unpublished writers. It promises a glittering awards ceremony for the finalists which will be attended by major publishing houses, celebrities and international media representatives.

The entries will be judged in 8 different categories:

  • Poetry
  • Short stories
  • Novels
  • Non-fiction
  • Stories for children
  • Songwriting
  • Stage/screenplay
  • Published writer of the year 

Tempted by the size of the prize fund and the description of the awards ceremony I entered this competition last year (its inaugural year). I was disappointed with it on several counts:

  • From the beginning I was sent emails trying to sell me tickets to the awards ceremony
  • The closing date for entries was extended (which doesn’t seem fair to those of us who had worked and submitted to the original date)
  • The announcement of the results was postponed more than once
  • Postings on the Writers’ News Talkback Forum indicated that the awards ceremony was disappointing

When I saw the announcement of the 2011 awards I decided that my grumbles might just be down to teething problems in the competition’s first year and, since Writers’ News subscribers qualify for free entry, it might be worth giving it another go (especially since there is no set theme and therefore I could choose one of my existing stories to send in). 

Then I read that Writers’ News/Writing Magazine have withdrawn their association with the Brit Writers’ Awards because they were ‘increasingly concerned at Brit Writers’ development into a financial operation’. apparently they have introduced something called ‘Your Book Your Way’, a paid scheme that helps authors self-publish but using partners approved of by Brit Writers. They are also behind the ‘Publishing Programme’ that offers 15 writers a year’s editorial development and guaranteed publication – at a cost of £1,795 per participant.

So now I’m not so sure about entering. Has anyone else any experience of this competition? Do you plan on entering this year?

The Brit Writers’ Awards are a big step up from my claim to fame this week – a letter in the Jan/Feb issue of Tesco Magazine and it wasn’t even the star letter so I didn’t get my hands on the prize of a weekend break in London. But if at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again – so I’ve just whizzed off another one to them. For some hints on writing letters for publication click here and for my free prize draw click here.

  1. #1 by Bobby on February 18, 2011 - 11:50 am

    Hello Sally,

    I’ve just seen this and know there’s only a week until the UK submissions deadline, so you’ll need to be quick to enter.

    I entered this last year, and whilst, yes, there were some teething troubles (and when aren’t there for brand new ideas?) I’m not holding that against Brit Writers and have entered again this year. I think the £10.95 entry fee is nothing compared to what could be won – £10,000 and a publishing contract, especially after seeing the whirlwind ride that Catherine Cooper has been on –

    I’m really excited to see a new initiative that is going to great lengths to make publishing and the world of writing accessible to those who don’t have a friend in publishing, or who aren’t celebrities ‘writing’ a book to get their latest movie into the top ten!

    • #2 by Sally Jenkins on February 18, 2011 - 1:10 pm

      Bobby – thanks for taking the time to comment. It does seem that celebrities don’t have to fight to get a foot in the door, as we mere mortals have to – so it’ll be great if the Brit Writers can help another talented author to publication.

  2. #3 by leannemeredith on February 18, 2011 - 4:10 pm

    Hi Sally,

    I am one of the mysterious fifteen. And I am so glad that—after careful consideration—I jumped on board with the Brit Writers’ Publishing Programme.

    To answer your question, I’m posting an extract from my blog below, which might help clarify some points for you.

    I quote:

    After a long and painful journey (on the rocky road to publication), I am now firmly on board with the Brit Writers’ Awards and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

    For information, the first group meeting, at the Park Lane Hilton in London, was extremely well organised and truly inspirational. Imran Akram is a powerhouse of ideas. He clearly knows his subject well and is determined to help each person identify their market, tailor their work accordingly, if necessary, and move them forward to publication.

    I came away from my first follow-up meeting quite literally buzzing. The aim of the Brit Writers’ Awards seems clear to me: to make writers as good as they can be and to give writers from all backgrounds a voice.

    After a further intensive one-to-one meeting, along with available access by text, telephone or email, should I need it, I have now completed simple revisions based on what I can only call the vision of Imran Akram and I am very excited by the result.

    In my humble opinion, the Brit Writers’ Awards Unpublished should be applauded for encouraging and offering expert help to writers—from all areas—achieve their goal. Never, ever, has my writing time been better spent.

    After our second Brit Writers’ Awards Publishing Programme group meeting, I think I can say on behalf of all the participants, we are on fire! The meeting was jam-packed with information from ‘those in the know’, who gave us an inside view of the publishing industry. Why on earth someone like the inspired CEO of the Britwriters hasn’t come along before to offer such well put together programmes is beyond me. Apart from helping writers to get it right (and I’m not just talking punctuation, grammar and presentation here, as all-important as they might be. I’m talking writing that sizzles. Writing that says READ ME!), surely the spin off will be less rubbish on the slush piles—in my humble opinion anyhow.

    From a personal pov, I have spent a small fortune enlisting the help of editors to try to get my own writing as right as it can be. They have been good, excellent, in fact. One lady I hold in very high-esteem and will continue to use. With the help of the Britwriters though, I truly believe I have found that crucial missing ingredient.

    In short, Sally, I would not hesitate to encourage you to enter this year’s competition. Please feel free to check out any of the other participants’ blogs. All of which have give positive feedback in regard to the Brit Writers’ Awards and their effort to “champion writing around the world and create an important shift in the way people of all ages and backgrounds view creative writing”.

    I’ve popped two links below along with my own. You can also find me on

    Georgina Kamsika

    Claire Kinton

    Leanne Meredith

  3. #4 by Sinead Gillespie on February 18, 2011 - 5:19 pm

    Hi, Sally,
    one of my first published pieces was a letter in Equity magazine…gotta start somewhere. Did the BWA last year and believed in myself as a writer properly for the first time.I am now on their Publishing Programme and learning so much that I need to know and no-one else would tell. I hope you get yoyr submissions in!

    • #5 by Sally Jenkins on February 18, 2011 - 8:29 pm

      Sinead & Leanne – glad you are enjoying the BWA Publishing Programme and thanks for letting us know about it. Best of Luck!

  4. #6 by clairekinton on February 18, 2011 - 9:34 pm

    Hi Sally,
    I’m Claire Kinton author of DEAD GAME & WAITING GAME, lovely to meet you. DEAD GAME was shortlisted for the Brit Writers Awards 2010 and I found the entire experience exhilarating and refreshing. I understand what you mean about deadlines frustratingly changing and so on but I found when I called the BWA to get updated on what was going on, they couldn’t have been more helpful. I’m also part of the BWA Publishing Programme (first 15) and to-date it’s been an exceptionally interesting programme. We are a diverse group that the BWA are working with closely and the foresight and commitment given to us is phenomenal. I feel honoured to be working them. I’ll keep you posted on how the year pans out but for a more in-depth insight visit my blog at
    This, just released interview should help answer all your concerns and questions.

    Click to access Imran_Akram_Exclusive_Interview_-_Feb_2011.pdf

    Best Wishes

  5. #7 by E Thomas on February 18, 2011 - 10:04 pm

    I, too, am enrolled on the programme Sally. Leanne and Sinead have spoken for me really. I’ll just add that I would have struggled to achieve what I feel positive about achieving thanks to the Britwriters’ Awards Publishing Programme. Good luck!

  6. #8 by leannemeredith on February 21, 2011 - 9:17 pm

    Brit Writers’ Awards 2011 – Final Call for UK submissions!

    The Brit Writers’ Awards is the UK’s largest creative writing project and awards for unpublished and self-published authors. Their network of writers, agents, publishers and partners is growing by the day and in addition to adults; over a million children are involved in their BWA schools programmes across the country.

    The prestigious £10,000 prize and publishing contract will be awarded at the gala awards ceremony due to be held in late September in Central London. Last year’s awards were a glittering, star-studded event at the O2, London, attended by TV and film stars, writers of all ages and famous authors including Sir Terry Pratchett who won the Published category award for his book Nation.

    UK entries deadline: 5pm, Friday 25 February 2011
    International entries deadline: 5pm, Friday 25 March 2011
    UK Schools entries deadline: 5pm, Friday 27 May 2011

    Award categories include: Novels • Poetry • Short Stories • Non-fiction • Songwriting • Stage & Screenplay • Writing for Children • Published Novels

    To enter your masterpieces go to the Brit Writers’ Awards website:

  7. #9 by E Thomas on February 23, 2011 - 1:38 pm

    One of our group, Spencer Ratcliff, based in Australia, is being featured on BBC Radio Essex currently – Ian Wyatt, on Saturday mornings. It links the area with his fantastic book, ‘The Voices of Crabtree Lane’.
    Here’s a link:
    Cogratulations, Spencer.

  8. #10 by Leanne Meredith on March 11, 2011 - 9:26 pm

    Hi Sally,

    Here is the link to my latest blog re the BWA cluster group meeting. Please do have a read and feel free to leave a comment: 🙂

  9. #11 by Leanne Meredith on March 22, 2011 - 6:55 pm

    Latest blog: The people behind the blogs: Authors, artists, suffering for our art? Or just people dealing with life’s rich tapestry, as all people are. Links to other BWA authors shared with permission. Please do take a look and feel free to comment:

    Thanks so much! 🙂

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