New Writers Awards

 Full details 

Applications for the 2025 New Writers Awards are now open. The deadline for applications is 31 July 2024 at noon.

The awards are free to apply to, all travel expenses are covered and awardees are chosen by a panel of judges. We have an Access Fund to help support our awardees with any barriers they may face. The programme is flexible and we work closely with awardees to help them participate as fully as possible.

Apply for the New Writers Awards 2025

How it works

The Awards will run from January 2025–January 2026. During the programme, awardees receive:

  • A £2,500 cash award, allowing them to focus on their work (the bursary will be paid in two instalments)
  • Tailored personal development opportunities, which can include mentoring from writers and industry professionals
  • PR, performance, social media and presentation training
  • The opportunity to showcase work to publishers and agents
  • A week-long retreat offering time, space and the freedom to create new work in idyllic surroundings (subject to circumstances)
  • A year's free membership to Society of Authors as well as an SoA training session

All mentoring, training and performances include an option for remote attendance as needed. We're very happy to discuss anyone's individual access requirements prior to applying.

Entries are invited in English, Scots and a combination of both.

Additional awards

There are also two awards for Gaelic writers, run in association with the Gaelic Books Council. There is a separate application form for writers interested in applying for a Gaelic award.

In 2025, there will also be a place awarded for a Callan Gordon Award and a Next Chapter Award. The Callan Gordon Award is an award that has been set up to celebrate the life of Callan Gordon, a young Scottish writer. Writers between the ages of 18 and 35 writing short stories or poetry are eligible for this opportunity. The Next Chapter Award is an award supporting an emerging writer over the age of 40, entering in any of the five categories.

If you would like to be considered for either of these awards, you’ll be able to opt in as part of the New Writers Awards application form.

The New Writers Awards will only go ahead in 2025 if Scottish Book Trust secure the funding required to run the programme. The retreat is also subject to circumstances and dependent on any applicable travel restrictions.

How do I apply?

First, check out our category guidelines for help preparing your submission. There are five categories:

  • Fiction and Narrative Non-Fiction (also known as creative non-fiction)
  • Poetry
  • Children's and Young Adult Fiction
  • Spoken Word
  • Scots

You can only apply to one category per year. 

Submit your application to the relevant category by noon on 31 July 2024.

Apply for the New Writers Awards 2025

Who can apply?

You can apply if you:

  • Are aged 18 or over
  • Are based in Scotland
  • Are committed to developing your writing, whether that's fiction, narrative non-fiction, poetry, spoken word, YA, picture books or graphic novels (although the panel will only consider your writing, not any associated images)
  • Haven't published a full-length book, collection or show in the category you're applying for

What do we mean by 'haven't published'?

We welcome applications from carers, people who are unemployed or who are unable to work for health reasons. Find out more about our access fund below.

Who can't apply?

You can't apply if you:

  • Have received a Scottish Arts Council New Writers Bursary, New Writers Award, Callan Gordon Award or Next Chapter Award
  • Are currently in receipt of another award from Scottish Book Trust or Creative Scotland
  • Are planning to be in full or part-time formal education during the course of the award (January 2025–January 2026). Short courses and evening classes are fine. If you are an international student in Scotland on a fixed-term course you can apply if you will be in Scotland during the course of the award
  • Are a writer registered on the Live Literature Author Directory. Illustrators and Storytellers who are registered on the directory may apply to work on writing if they fulfil the criteria above. Performance poets who are registered on the directory may not apply for the Poetry or Spoken Word categories but may apply for other categories
  • Already have a book publishing deal in place
  • Have had any of the following published: a novel, narrative non-fiction book (e.g. biography or memoir), collection of short stories or poems, or graphic novel. If this describes you, please look at our Ignite Fellowship
  • Want to focus on plays, screenplays or radioplays
  • Are on staff at Scottish Book Trust

By submitting your application, you're confirming you meet the criteria to the best of your knowledge. Anyone who doesn't meet the criteria will be deemed ineligible and may be asked to return the award or withdraw their application.

Access fund and useful information

'It's extremely important that writing opportunities such as the New Writers Award have access built in, including an access fund. If access is built in and funding is available, it immediately makes disabled people feel welcome and takes the onus off disabled writers to inquire about access (which is a lot of labour, including worry about how an access enquiry will be met).

Disabled writers often have extra costs they need to budget for, such as assistive equipment (for example, a keyboard with wrist support, dictation software etc.); travel costs (including taxis if public transport isn't accessible to them); the cost of travel and accommodation for a personal assistant or companion to accompany them; or the disabled writer may need extra overnight accommodation if, for instance, they have an energy impairment, and need time to recover after travelling. Without these access needs and costs factored in, disabled writers might not be able to access opportunities, which marginalises them and impoverishes the publishing industry and writing communities. 

It's fantastic that Scottish Book Trust realise how important an access fund is, and I hope more organisations follow suit.' 

Ever Dundas, author and co-founder of Inklusion

Access fund and support

Equality and Diversity




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