Faber is launching a new YA science fiction prize to discover stories that "offer hope and spark" to readers, with three publishing contracts up for grabs.
The Imagined Futures Prize aims to spotlight the power and value of the natural world, and imagine the collective outcome the planet faces, at a time when science fiction remains popular in the market, boosted during the pandemic.
First prize will be a worldwide publishing contract with Faber, including a £15,000 advance, while second prize also guarantees a worldwide contract and a £8,000 advance. Third prize offers the same contract with a £5,000 advance. All winners will also be given a tour of the Faber Archive to view first editions of the publisher's science fiction catalogue.
The competition is open to both agented and unagented writers, aged 18 and over, resident in the UK at the time of submission, who may or may not already be published. Submissions must be aimed at 12 to 18-year-olds, and either be a novel or collection of short stories that can, at least loosely, be defined as science fiction. Entrants should apply with either the first 10,000 words and a full synopsis of the novel in 500 words, or a full manuscript and 500-word synopsis.
The publisher has suggested a list of potential themes, including a radical reimagining of a world in which all life has equal importance, humankind playing second fiddle to plantkind, a molecular explosion that completely reconfigures the world and humanity, space habitation and the reality of extraterrestrial life, among others.
Commenting on the new venture, publisher Leah Thaxton said: "Some of the most imaginative, immersive fiction I have read has been science fiction, but there isn’t enough of it! Particularly now when young adults need great escapism that offers hope and that sense of wonder often associated with this genre. So, that is what we’re looking for in launching this prize. We want to leave an inspiring legacy of books that thrill and empower young adults and show them that their behaviour and thinking is enormously important. We want to encourage them to go on to invent and build the solutions that will transform our existence. This is a call for literary environmental action, to refuel hearts and minds!"
The Imagined Futures Prize opens for entries on 8th November 2021 and closes on 9th September 2022.