Grime star Stormzy has launched the third year of the #Merky Books New Writers’ Prize.
The annual prize aims to discover unpublished and under-represented writers aged 16-30 from the UK and the Republic of Ireland.
Writers can submit fiction, non-fiction and poetry – with the winner receiving a publishing contract with #Merky Books, an imprint within Penguin Random House UK.
The winning entry will be selected by a panel of judges yet to be revealed.
Lemara Lindsay-Prince, senior commissioning editor at #Merky Books, said: “Now in our third year and going from strength to strength, the #Merky Books New Writers’ Prize is back.
“The prize represents the heart of what we do, publishing bold voices from untraditional spaces, and providing a platform and literary home for new talent.
“As always, the prize will have a standout line up of judges, more on that soon, who are excited to read what’s out there.
“I’m encouraging everyone to apply even if you have the threads of a story, or the first stanza of a poem – your voice matters.”
Those on the shortlist will be invited to a writers’ camp where they will learn more about the publishing process through workshops and panel talks as well as receiving one-to-one feedback from Penguin Random House UK editors and the #Merky Books team.
During the competition’s inaugural year in 2019, Hafsa Zayyan and Monika Radojevic were announced as winners.
Zayyan’s novel We Are All Birds Of Uganda and Radojevic’s poetry collection Teeth In The Back Of My Neck were published in 2021.
Last year, more than 2,000 submissions were received before Jyoti Patel was crowned the winner for her coming-of-age novel The Things That We Lost – which publishes in January 2023.
The deadline for the New Writers’ Prize is September 10.