Audible has launched a £10,000 audio-exclusive writing grant for unpublished writers.
The Audible New Writing Grant: The Crime Edition invites crime writers to submit an unpublished thriller of 50,000 words or more to a panel including two-time Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel Of The Year winner Mark Billingham; CWA Dagger In The Library winner Sharon Bolton; The Girl On The Train and The Widow narrator Clare Corbett, the Daily Telegraph’s crime critic Jake Kerridge and Audible’s director Of content Laurence Howell.
Free to enter, a shortlist of three candidates will be announced in early 2018. Applicants will be able to download a free copy of one of Audible's "best-selling" crime novels, The Widow by Fiona Barton (Bantam), during the first week of submissions, for a “little extra inspiration”.
The winning author will receive a £10,000 advance, accountable against royalties, for an exclusive Worldwide English language audio publication deal, as well as mentoring from Audible’s panel of judges.
Laurence Howell, senior director at Audible, said the grant is part of the company's aim to "nurture the next generation of writing talent".
“Audio offers enormous potential for creators to connect with new listeners, and we’re always looking for ways to delight our members with gripping new debuts. This New Writing Grant marries those two aims together perfectly. It allows us to support, daring, innovative storytelling whilst also giving our listeners access to exclusive audio stories we know they’ll love. We’ve commissioned original works from Philip Pullman, Robert Caro and Tom Rachman amongst others, now we’re looking to nurture the next generation of writing talent.”
Mark Billingham, author of the Tom Thorne series, added: “What’s special about this kind of storytelling is the intimate connection with the listener. We’ll be looking for stories that create suspense and tension through classic techniques such as the cliffhanger and the twist, but more importantly we’ll be looking for strong, multidimensional characters that really engage and resonate with the listener. Everyone loves being told a great story and that is exactly what we’re looking for.”
Clare Corbett, narrator of The Girl On The Train, emphasised the importance of rhythm and variety in sentence structure in submissions. She said: “There are certain elements that are key to whether a novel will work in audio. Writers should think about how they would naturally speak - we rarely talk as formally as we write and rhythm is really important. A bit of variety in sentence length and structure will hold a listener’s attention and leaving space for silence is central to tension-building. These are some things we’ll be considering throughout the judging process.”
To enter, applicants must email (in Word or PDF format) a copy of their manuscript, submission letter and synopsis of the story to firstname.lastname@example.org before 23:59 on 30th November 2017. Full terms and conditions can be found at the Audible website.
Last week, Audible announced the launch of a $5m (£3.89m) transatlantic theatre grant in order to "further its commitment to supporting emerging talent" in the creative arts.