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It’s great to see an award fly – and I’m loving watching the newly revived Sunday Times/Peters Fraser & Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award, which the Society of Authors has had the delight and distinct honour of working with since its founding, way back in 1991, move confidently on its way to uncovering this year’s outstanding writer under 35.

The very first winner was Helen Simpson with her initial collection of short stories, Four Bare Legs in a Bed.  What has followed, year on year, forms, quite simply,  an exceptional roll call of books, and of authors; this award  has been doing an extraordinary job of singling out now celebrated writers at an early stage in their careers. Caryl Phillips, Simon Armitage, William Dalrymple, Andrew Cowan, Katherine Pierpoint, Francis Spufford, Patrick French, Zadie Smith, William Fiennes, Robert Macfarlane, Naomi Alderman, Adam Foulds and Ross Raisin – these writers perfectly demonstrate the strength of an award that looks for the best and finds it  – in fiction (novels and short story collections), non-fiction and poetry.

Now, in this new year of the award, there is a ground-breaking – for both writers and prize administrators – and vital development to add to the eligibility formula. It’s one of the first times that entry to a major UK award has been open to both published and self-published books.  Another inclusive, and good sign of the times, is that entry has been possible in both book and e book formats. Add to this, that over and above the £5k award for the winner, there are now three runners-up awards of £500 each, and it’s clear that the Sunday Times/PFD Young Writer of the Year Award is increasing in stature. The judges are immersed in reading, beginning to narrow down towards a winner.

Can’t wait. These are exciting times.

Paula Johnson is the Awards Secretary for the Society of Authors, and is administrating the Sunday Times / Peters Fraser & Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award

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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