Your novel doesn’t have to be finished. We initially need only 5,000 to 8,000 words plus a 300 word synopsis. If you’re long listed we’ll ask for a total of 15,000 words, including your original word count. Shortlisted? Then we need a total 30,000 words, again including your original entry and long listed word count. It all adds up to an incredible opportunity.

The story I wrote for the competition was the first time I felt I found that elusive thing – my ‘voice’. Without the Bridport Prize I would probably not have found my agent and quite possibly wouldn’t have written Behind the Scenes at the Museum so I have a lot to be thankful to it for.

Kate Atkinson MBE
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First prize: £1,500

Mentoring by The Literary Consultancy, consultation with literary agent AM Heath and publisher Tinder Press. invitation to the awards ceremony. Publication in the Bridport Prize anthology with access to other high value competitions. Ongoing publicity.

Runner up: £750

Manuscript assessment and editorial advice from The Literary Consultancy, invitation to the awards ceremony, a chance to meet the judges and agents. Publication in the Bridport Prize anthology with access to other high value competitions. Ongoing publicity.

£150 x 3 awards

Three shortlisted writers each will benefit from publication in the Bridport Prize anthology with instant access to other high value competitions, an invitation to the awards ceremony, the chance to meet judges, agents and other writers, plus ongoing publicity.

Background Elements

The Novel Award is now open to writers aged 16 and over living in Britain (including the Channel Islands and Isle Of Man) and Ireland (Northern Ireland and Republic Of Ireland) and British writers living overseas.

For the purposes of the competition, we define “British writers” as:

  • British citizens living, working or studying abroad either permanently or temporarily.
  • British citizens overseas who hold dual citizenship.
  • Residents of the 14 British Overseas Territories: Anguilla; Bermuda; British Antarctic Territory; British Indian Ocean Territory; Caymen Islands; Falkland Islands; Gibraltar; Montserrat; Pitcairn, Henderson, Ducie and  Oeno Islands; St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha; South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; Sovereign Base areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia on Cyprus; Turks and Caicos Islands; British Virgin Islands.

Discover details of the novel results timetable here.

You must not be represented by a literary agent or currently under contract with an advance paying publisher, at the point of submission or at the long listing or shortlisting stages. We will ask you to re-confirm eligibility if selected.

If you receive an offer of representation while your novel is under consideration, you must inform us and withdraw.

Work must not have won or been placed – 1st, 2nd, 3rd – in another competition. Commended work is eligible.

You can enter a part-written or completed novel in any adult fiction genre. This includes fiction for young adults providing there is a genuine crossover for adult readership.

Non-fiction and fiction for children is not eligible.

Entries must be entirely the work of the entrant and by submitting you are confirming the work is your own. Any evidence to the contrary will result in disqualification. Co-authored work is not eligible.

Entrants must not have previously published a novel, although self-published novels and self-published e-books are accepted. Entrants who have had other types of books traditionally published e.g. poetry, memoir or non-fiction are eligible. Published means where a publisher has selected a work on editorial grounds for their list and that list publishes different writers as opposed to it being comprised of one author’s works, and where the author has not paid that publisher to do so.

If your entry has been long listed, shortlisted or commended in other competitions it is still eligible.

Simultaneous submissions are allowed but will become ineligible should they win a prize elsewhere or be published prior to the prize giving. Entry fees will not be refunded. You must inform us immediately should your entry be published or win a prize elsewhere.

Translations into English are eligible provided the source text is the entrant’s own original work and has not been previously published.

Authors with work published abroad in other languages are eligible provided this is their English language debut.

Entries submitted posthumously are not eligible.

Please ensure you read the rules carefully before entering the competition. Entry implies acceptance of all the rules and failure to comply may result in disqualification.

IMPORTANT: All entries are judged anonymously. Please do not include your name, address, phone number, email, website, twitter handle etc on the document.

General

Entries can be on any subject in any style or form. We do not recommend poems and stories written for children. You can enter any number of poems, short stories, flash fiction stories or novels in each category. Please check you are submitting the correct version of your work before uploading as mistakes cannot be rectified later. If you find you have submitted the wrong version or have made a mistake in the work, you can withdraw it and resubmit a corrected version with the word FINAL included in the file name. Please note a further fee would be payable. Entries can be withdrawn by notification in writing. Entry fees will not be refunded.

Disqualification

We disqualify entries if they are named, over the word limit or have no synopsis. If you forget to add the title or word count your entry will NOT be disqualified.

Length

8,000 words max, 5,000 minimum taken from the opening chapters. PLUS 300 word synopsis, which should form the first page/s of your entry.

Fees

£20 per novel. There is no limit to the number of novel submissions.

Submissions & Synopsis

The first page/s of your entry must be a synopsis of 300 words maximum. Begin with a brief summary paragraph, followed by the rest of the synopsis. The 300 word limit is for the entire synopsis. How To Write A Synopsis

Long listed entrants will be asked to submit 15,000 words for the next stage of the judging process. Entrants unable to comply will be disqualified.

Shortlisted entrants will be asked to submit 30,000 words for the final stage of the judging process. Entrants unable to comply will be disqualified.

Entries must be submitted online or by post. No email submissions.

Format

Entries must be typed in Arial 12 pt black font, double-spaced with numbered pages and the novel’s title on every page. Save as a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx) with the novel title as the file name. Please do not include your name in the file name. Max 2MB file. Include the word count for the synopsis and submission on the top right first page.

Entries must be in English.

  • Do not add cover or title pages
  • Do not send illustrated work
  • No handwritten submissions

Postal Entries

Postal entry forms can be downloaded from the website Please send one copy of your manuscript and a completed form. Amendments or substitutions cannot be made after submission. If you wish to correct errors, you must submit a new entry marked FINAL VERSION on the first page, enter again and pay the fee. No correspondence about amendments will be entered into. Entries cannot be returned. Please keep a copy. If you want to know your entry has arrived safely, please include a stamped self-addressed postcard with ACKNOWLEDGEMENT in the top left hand corner.

It is not possible to confirm receipt of entries by phone or email.

Terms & Conditions

The novel must be unpublished and not accepted for future publication. Self published authors are welcome to submit self-published or new work as long as they do not have an agent and have not had a traditional publishing contract. The judging agent may contact long listed and shortlisted authors before the winner is announced

The Bridport Prize expects to be recognised in any published novels associated with us.

Any entrant found to be in contravention of the terms and conditions will be disqualified.

If you have a query about eligibility, please contact [email protected]

Judging

The judges’ decision is final and no individual correspondence can be entered into. Judges are unable to comment on individual entries. The Bridport Prize reserves the right to change the judge without notice.

Copyright

Worldwide copyright remains with the author but the Bridport Prize has the unrestricted right to publish extracts from the twenty long listed novels in our anthology and any relevant promotional material.

The Bridport Prize reserves the right to amend these rules where it deems necessary. Any changes to the rules will be posted on our website.

PLEASE DO

  • Carefully read the rules, entry requirements and eligibility before submission
  • Check you’re submitting the latest version of your piece
  • Check spam as our emails might land there
  • Get in touch with any questions well before the 31 May deadline. For website & submissions [email protected]  All other enquiries [email protected]

PLEASE DON’T

  • Forget to include a 300 word synopsis with your novel
  • Worry if you omit the word or line count. You won’t be disqualified
  • Be alarmed if your entry confirmation email isn’t immediate. Log in and check your order history. All submitted entries are listed in date order
  • Get concerned if your postal entry fee hasn’t been taken. We open entries in batches and a delay is not unusual

Q: Can I make changes after submission?
A: No. If you want to submit a more recent version you have to enter again and pay the fee. We can withdraw your original entry on request.

Q: Do you accept email attachments?
A: No. You can only submit online or by post.

Q: An earlier version of my work was shortlisted in another competition but I’ve changed it. Can I submit it?
A: If the work was not published, you did not receive a cash prize and it has been substantially altered including a title change, then yes it is eligible.

Q: My work was long listed in another competition and published in an online anthology. Can I submit it?
A: No. Previously published work is not eligible.

Q: My work was previously shortlisted in this competition. Can I re-submit it?
A: Yes.

Q: Are simultaneous submissions to other competitions allowed?
A: Yes, though if you submit your entry at the same time, it’s on the understanding you will immediately withdraw from the Bridport Prize if it wins elsewhere. Equally, if you win with us you should withdraw from any other competitions.

Q: How many pieces can I enter?
A: You can enter any number of pieces in each category.

Q: What about copyright?
A: Worldwide copyright remains with the author but we have unrestricted rights to first publish winning and highly commended poems, short stories and flash fiction in the Winners’ Anthology and extracts from the long listed novels in the Novel Longlist Anthology. Plus we use extracts for promotional material.

Q: Must entries be unpublished?
A: Entries to categories – except the novel – are not eligible if published. Novels that have been self-published are eligible.

Q: Does the novel on my blog count as publication?
A: Yes.

Q: Are translations allowed?
A: An author’s translation of their work into English is eligible but someone else’s translation of the work is not.

Q: My novel was previously published in another language. Can I submit it in translation?
A: Yes, providing substantial amendments have been made to the original work and it was not published in the UK.

Q: How do you sort entries if they’re anonymous?
A: Postal entries are coded then matched to an entry form once the judges have made their decision. Online entries are automatically tagged with a number connected to personal details.

Q: Can I use a pen name?
A: Yes. But please submit your piece in your real name. When winners are selected we check what name you want to use.

Q: Can I send the same novel I entered in last year’s competition?
A: Yes.

Q: I accidentally included my details on the novel. Will it be disqualified?
A: Yes. You need to start over.

Q: Are entries returned after judging?
A: No. They are deleted or shredded.

Q: When are winners notified?
A: During September. The full results are posted on the website and social media . The shortlists and novel long list are available as downloads. All winning and shortlisted poetry, short story and flash fiction writers will be contacted during September.

Q: How do I get an entry form?
A: Download and print it from our website or email [email protected] to get one posted.

Q: What happens if I send my postal entry close to the deadline?
A: Entries postmarked on 31 May deadline date but arriving later will be accepted. Late entries are not.

Q: What if I forget to add a word count?
A: Don’t worry. We check if the work is shortlisted.

Ready to submit your entry?

The Bridport Prize is a way into the publishing industry. But more than that it’s a real confidence boost. Just being on the shortlist is a great achievement.

Euan Thorneycroft. Literary Agent, AM Heath
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