The Award

The Sunday Times Charlotte Aitken Young Writer of the Year Award is awarded for a full-length published or self-published (in book or ebook formats) work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry, by an author aged 18 – 35 years.

The winner receives £10,000. There are three prizes of £1,000 each for runners-up.

The winning book will be a work of outstanding literary merit. The award is an annual prize, sponsored by the Sunday Times and the Charlotte Aitken Trust. The prize is administered by the Society of Authors. To apply and for more information about the prize please visit the Society of Authors website. [Please note that the applications for this year’s prize are now closed.]

For young writers, a prize makes all the difference: not just the publicity flare, or the tag-line on the paperback jacket, but the jag of confidence it brings. Someone believes in your prose, someone has prized those sentences you spent all those years laying end to end… Nothing crushes the wish to write quite like apathy; nothing boosts it quite like being read and responded to carefully.

[After winning the award in 2004] I started to think I might be able to write another book – that became The Wild Places (2007), and here I am in 2015, six books down and another underway, thinking back more than a decade to the Prize, and the huge boost it gave me.” Robert Macfarlane, winner 2004


  • Submissions for the 2023 Sunday Times Charlotte Aitken Young Writer of the Year will close on Thursday 14 September 2023.
  • UK and Irish citizens and those who have been resident in the UK and/or the Republic of Ireland for the three years preceding the award are all eligible.
  • The author must be between the ages of 18 and 35 years on 31 December 2023.
  • The work submitted must be by one author in the English language.
  • The work submitted must have been first published in the UK and/or the Republic of Ireland, in the English language, between 1 November 2022 and 31 October 2023.
  • The work submitted must be by a living author.
  • Ebooks must be submitted in PDF format.
  • Publishers may enter up to two entries per imprint and may provide a written submission for one further title for possible call in.

Key Dates for 2023 Award

Submission period closed – 14 September 2023

Shortlist announcement – 25 February 2024

Winner announcement –  tba

Young Writer Award @YoungWriterYear

Follow us on twitter. The Young Writer of the Year Award is a prize of £10,000 for a writer under 35.

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