Author Patrice Lawrence is set to judge a competition, set up by independent publisher Everything With Words, to find a new urban YA novel.
The YA Urban Novel competition will offer one unpublished author a £1,000 and the opportunity to be published by Everything With Words, the independent publishing house which is behind the prize.
Mikka Bott, the founder of Everything With Words, said she set up the competition because she is not “seeing enough novels about young, urban life” that “celebrate and give insight into the multicultural world of today’s Britain”.
“I get so many fantasy books - too many submissions by authors who live in their mind and have no real feel for what life is actually like. I want something that gives an insight into how young people really feel,” she told The Bookseller. “I'm looking for fine, sharp dialogue that's got the feel of “now”. Atmosphere is important, both physical and psychological. I am very interested in a book that would also work as a crossover. The best YA has got something to say to adults too.
“What I’m not interested in is moral commentary and the type of books that, for example, complain about teenagers spending too much time on social media. They are usually written by older people who don’t understand young people today.”
The competition is free to enter and is open to any unpublished authors living in the UK, although they can have agents. Entrants must send their full manuscripts of 40,000 words or more, plus a 500-word synopsis, to Bott via the email firstname.lastname@example.org, with YA urban novel competition in the subject line, by 30th November.
Bott will select a shortlist of three novels and Lawrence will select the winner, which will be announced in February next year.