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.

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


Both published and self-published books may be entered for the award, and may be sent by post or via email (as PDFs if in ebook format).

  • UK and Irish citizens and those who have been resident in the UK and/or the Republic of Ireland for the past three years preceding the award are all eligible.
  • The author must be between the ages of 18 and 35 years.
  • The work submitted must be by one author in the English language.
  • To be eligible books must have been first published in the UK and/or the Republic of Ireland, in the English language, between 23 June 2020 and 31 August 2021.
  • ebooks must be submitted in PDF format. Note for publishers: Publishers may enter up to three entries per imprint and may provide a written submission for one further title for possible call in.

To Be Announced

Key Dates for 2021 Award

Submission period opened – 19 April 2021

Submission period closed – 31 August 2021

Shortlist announcement – 23 January 2022

Winner announcement –  24 February 2022

Young Writer Award @YoungWriterYear

Follow us on twitter. The Young Writer of the Year Award is a prize of £5,000 for a writer under 35.

This site uses cookies to ensure the best user experience. Read More

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.