The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award launches into 2019 with the University of Warwick as its title partner, and Caroline Michel, CEO of literary agency Peters Fraser + Dunlop, becoming its first patron. The leading university, home to the acclaimed Warwick Writing Programme, has been the associate sponsor of the influential prize for young writers since 2017. The award will now be known as The Sunday Times/University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year Award.
The Young Writer of the Year Award was relaunched in 2015, after a seven-year hiatus, to continue its mission to spot – and support – significant writers at the beginning of their careers. Since then, the prize has rewarded authors who have quickly gone on to become household names, adding Sarah Howe (2015), Max Porter (2016), Sally Rooney (2017), and, last year, Adam Weymouth to an alumni list that includes everyone from Robert Macfarlane to Zadie Smith, from Sarah Waters to Simon Armitage. Further strengthening its function as a vital support platform for new writers, the prize signed up the British Council as its international partner in 2017.
In the latest evolution of the prize, Caroline Michel, CEO of Peters, Fraser + Dunlop, the previous sponsors, will become patron of the award. She said: “The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award has always been one of enormous significance and it has been such a privilege and such fun being involved and developing the prize to where it is now. Prizes like this mean so much at the beginning of a writer’s career and it’s been a joy to be involved and continue to be involved as a patron.“
As well as being the titular partner, the University of Warwick, which is consistently ranked in the top 10 universities in the UK and top 100 in the world, offers each year’s winner a 10-week residency at the university, and is also providing year-round digital support to the prize. This has led to a programme of advice and support on youngwriteraward.com, with high-profile authors and literary experts contributing to an engaging, accessible online hub for emerging and aspiring writers. Anne Enright, Ian Rankin and Nick Hornby are among the authors writing articles, alongside Writers’ Tips and a monthly How To Write series, written in the first year by A. L. Kennedy, who is succeeded by Ian Sansom in 2019/2020.
Ian Rowley, Engagement Group Director, University of Warwick, said: “We are delighted to be assuming the title partnership for this hugely important literary prize. As one of the country’s leading universities, we are fully committed to supporting the creative industries and the continued nurturing of our rich literary tradition. The Warwick Writing Programme already plays a leading role in this. Our support for The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award allows us to extend our work for a broad network of aspiring writers. We recognise how challenging it can be for those making their way, which is why we have worked closely with The Sunday Times to make this more than a prize, providing a vital support network, including a residency at the University of Warwick for the prize winner, which is completely tailored to their needs.”
Andrew Holgate, Literary Editor of The Sunday Times, said: “I couldn’t be happier that the University of Warwick have stepped up to become the Young Writer Award’s main partner. And I couldn’t be more grateful to Caroline Michel and Peters Fraser + Dunlop for helping to revive the prize and inject new energy into it. We have all worked so closely together as partners – Warwick, PFD and The Sunday Times – to help champion young British and Irish writers, so it feels entirely appropriate that Caroline becomes Patron, and the University of Warwick becomes lead partner. The award has already come a very long way in the last four years, and with the University of Warwick’s help, and the support of their much-admired Warwick Writing Programme, there is an awful lot more we can do.”
Administered by the Society of Authors, the Young Writer of the Year Award rewards the best work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry by a British or Irish author aged between 18 and 35. Submissions for the 2019 prize are now open until Saturday, 15th June. To qualify for the 2019 prize, books, which can either be published or self-published, must have first come out between June 8, 2018 and June 14, 2019. The 2019 shortlist will be announced in November, the winner crowned on 5th December. ENTER HERE