#Merky Books has announced the second annual #Merky Books New Writers’ Prize, a competition that aims to discover unpublished, underrepresented writers aged 16-30 from the UK and Ireland.
The prize, which launched on Monday (14th September) in partnership with WeTransfer and style magazine The Face, is open for applications until 30th October 2020, and the winner will be the recipient of a publishing contract with #Merky Books.
Selecting the winning entry will be a panel of judges comprising Stormzy, author and founder of Make Motherhood Diverse Candice Brathwaite, author and broadcaster Emma Dabiri, comedian and actor Guz Khan, and British Olympian heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson.
The longlist will be announced on 14th December, the shortlist on 5th February 2021, and the winner in March 2021.
Longlisted writers will be invited to the publisher's "writers’ camp" where they will be able to meet literary agents, bestselling authors, learn more about the publishing process through panel talks and workshops, receive personalised one-to-one feedback from Penguin Random House UK editors, and meet the #Merky Books team.
Similar to last year, the winner will receive a publishing contract with #Merky Books. They will also win the chance to write a Literally essay to feature on WePresent, part of a library of commissions curated and created by WeTransfer, in spring 2021.
Stormzy said: "I know too many talented writers that don’t always have an outlet or a means to get their work seen and hopefully #Merky Books can now be a reference point for them to say 'I can be an author' and for that to be a realistic and achievable goal. Reading and writing as a kid was integral to where I am today and I from the bottom of my heart cannot wait to hear your stories and get them out into the big wide world."
During the prize's inaugural year in 2019, over 1,200 fiction, non-fiction and poetry submissions were made by young, unpublished writers across the UK and Ireland. Two co-winners were selected, Hafsa Zayyan and Monika Radojevic, with Stormzy and Malorie Blackman in June 2019; Zayyan's novel We Are All Birds Of Uganda publishes in January 2021 and Radojevic's poetry collection Teeth in the Back of My Neck publishes in May 2021.
To enter the competition in its second year, applicants should submit via the online portal on Penguin's website.