Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, Eric Ngalle Charles, Kathy O’Shaughnessy, Alvin Pang and Sarah McIntyre are among the judges’ awarding prizes at our annual SoA Awards, the largest literary prizegiving event in the UK
The Society of Authors’ Awards will return to Southwark Cathedral on 29 June, in-venue for the second time since the health crisis. The event will again be hybrid, with livestreaming, BSL interpretation and live captioning for our audiences at home.
The Awards celebrate writers of fiction, non-fiction, poetry and children’s literature, at all stages of their careers, awarding winners and runners-up from a prize fund of more than £100,000 in total.
Hawthornden Literary Retreat generously fund the ADCI Literary Prize, ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award, Paul Torday Memorial Prize and McKitterick Prize this year, meaning winners will receive substantially more than in previous years.
The early works of some of today’s leading literary figures have been recognised by the SoA Awards, including Carol Ann Duffy, Seamus Heaney and Zadie Smith. Last year’s winners included New Yorker cartoonist Will McPhail, for the first ever graphic novel to win the Betty Trask Prize; Sheila Llewellyn, inaugural winner of the Gordon Bowker Volcano Prize; novelist Maame Blue, who received a Travelling Scholarship; and Welsh poet Menna Elfyn, who received a Cholmondeley Award.
They welcome back a number of past SoA award-winners to the judging panels. Among them are Kathy O’Shaughnessy, 2021 winner of the Paul Torday Memorial Prize (awarded to an author over the age of 60 for a first novel), and Anietie Isong, 2018 winner of the McKitterick Prize (awarded to an author over the age of 40 for a first novel).
The 2023 SoA Awards will celebrate the inaugural winner of the ADCI (Authors with Disabilities and Chronic Illnesses) Literary Prize. The award seeks to encourage greater positive representation of disability in literature and is open to authors with a disability or chronic illness, for novels that include a disabled or chronically ill character. On the judging panel are authors Nii Ayikwei Parkes, Penny Batchelor, Nydia Hetherington, Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, Karl Knights, Julia Lund, Vikki Patis and Chloe Timms.
I’m over the moon that after two years of planning, and with the support of the SoA and other organisations, the SoA ADCI prize is now a reality. The prize will make a great difference in highlighting the importance of positive disability representation in our culture, as well as raising the profile of DCI authors and their books to readers and the wider publishing industry. Huge thanks go to my fellow co-founder Clare Christian for coming up with the idea and approaching me with it. I’m humbled to be on the judging panel and look forward to getting stuck in reading once submissions are open.
Penny Batchelor, author and founder of the ADCI Literary Prize
It’s an honour to be asked to judge this exciting new prize. I am very much looking forward to beginning my reading.
Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, judge of the ADCI Literary Prize
ADCI Literary Prize
Judged by Nii Ayikwei Parkes, Penny Batchelor, Nydia Hetherington, Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, Karl Knights, Julia Lund, Vikki Patis and Chloe Timms.
Launched in 2022, and sponsored by ALCS, Arts Council England, the Drusilla Harvey Memorial Fund, the Hawthornden Literary Retreat, and the Professional Writing Academy.
Open to authors with a disability and/or chronic illness, the prize will call for entries of novels which include a disabled or chronically ill character or characters. Total prize fund: £2,000.
ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award
Judged by Claire Fuller, Sophie Haydock, Billy Kahora and Mary Watson.
An annual award for a short story, financed by a bequest made by Miss Nellie Tom-Gallon in memory of her brother and generously supported by Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) and Hawthornden Literary Retreat. The winner will receive £2,000, the runner-up £1,000, and £500 is awarded to each of the shortlist (up to four authors).
Previous winners include Benjamin Myers, Lucy Wood, Grace Ingoldby and Claire Harman. Total prize fund: Up to £5,000.
Betty Trask Prize
Judged by Michael Donkor, Alex Preston and Sara Collins.
The Betty Trask Prize is for a first novel by a writer under 35. Past winners include Zadie Smith, David Szalay, Hari Kunzru and Sarah Waters. Total prize and shortlist fund: £26,200.
Judged by Moniza Alvi, Hannah Lowe, Kei Miller and Deryn Rees-Jones.
The Cholmondeley Awards are awarded for a body of work by a poet. Previous winners have included Seamus Heaney, Carol Ann Duffy, John Agard and Andrew Motion. Total prize fund: £8,400.
Eric Gregory Awards
Judged by Raymond Antrobus, Eric Ngalle Charles, Wayne Holloway-Smith, Sarah Howe, Gwyneth Lewis and Joelle Taylor.
The Eric Gregory Awards are presented for a collection of poems by a poet under 30. Past winners include Carol Ann Duffy, Tom Chivers, Helen Mort and Alan Hollinghurst. Total prize fund: £28,350.
Judged by Gonzalo C. Garcia, Selma Dabbagh, Rebecca Foster, Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott, Anietie Isong and Nick Rennison.
Tom McKitterick, the former editor of Political Quarterly and author of an unpublished novel, endowed the McKitterick Prize which was first awarded in 1990 and is also generously supported by Hawthornden Literary Retreat. It is given annually to an author over the age of 40 for a first novel, published or unpublished.
The prize money is £4,000 for the winner and £2,000 for the runner-up, with each shortlisted author receiving £1,000 (up to four authors). Past winners include Helen Dunmore, Mark Haddon and Petina Gappah. Total prize fund: £10,000.
Paul Torday Memorial Prize
Judged by Kathy O’Shaughnessy, Rasheda Ashanti Malcolm and Andrew Taylor.
Paul Torday published his first novel Salmon Fishing in the Yemen aged 60 and in 2019 his family set up this new prize in Torday’s honour, celebrating first novels by authors aged 60 or over. It is now generously supported by the Hawthornden Literary Retreat.
The winner will receive £3,000, with a set of Paul Torday’s collected works. Runners-up will receive £1,000 and one specially selected Paul Torday novel with a commemorative book plate. The prize is indebted to W & N Fiction for generously providing these books by Paul Torday. Total prize fund: £4,000
Queen’s Knickers Award
Judged by Sarah McIntyre, Ken Wilson-Max and Smriti Halls.
Funded by Nicholas Allan, author of The Queen’s Knickers, the Queen’s Knickers Award recognises an outstanding children’s original illustrated book for ages 0-7. It will be awarded to a book that strikes a quirky, new note and grabs the attention of a child, whether this be in the form of curiosity, amusement, horror or excitement. Total prize fund: £6,000.
Somerset Maugham Awards
Judged by Fred D’Aguiar, Ardashir Vakil and Roseanne Watt.
The Somerset Maugham Awards are for published works of fiction, non-fiction or poetry by writers under 30, to enable them to enrich their work by gaining experience of foreign countries. Past winners include Helen Oyeyemi, Julian Barnes, Zadie Smith and Jonathan Freedland. Total prize fund: £16,000.
Judged by Tahmima Anam, Gabriel Gbadamosi, Anne McElvoy, Alvin Pang and Philip Terry.
The Travelling Scholarships are awarded to British writers to enable engagement with writers abroad. Previous recipients have included Dylan Thomas, Laurie Lee, Margaret Drabble and Helen Simpson. Total prize fund: £8,000.
Gordon Bowker Volcano Prize
Judged by Aamer Hussein, Zeba Talkhani, and Kerry Young.
A prize awarded to a UK or Irish writer, or a writer currently resident in those countries, for a novel focusing on the experience of travel away from home. Last year’s inaugural winner was Sheila Llewellyn. Total prize fund £2,750.