Abdulrazak Gurnah to chair 2023 DRF Award judging panel as applications open till March 31

Nobel Prize winner Abdulrazak Gurnah will chair the judging panel for the Deborah Rogers Foundation (DRF) Writers Award, alongside Claire Adam and Annalena McAfee.

That is even as applications for the 2023 edition, open since January 1 continue until March 31.

As can be seen on the organiser’s website, details of the Writers Award are as follows:

An award of £10,000 will be presented to a first-time prose writer whose submission demonstrates literary talent and who would benefit from financial support to complete their work:

Submissions should take the form of 15,000 – 20,000 words of a work in progress, fiction or non-fiction, which is not under option or contract

Applicants may not be under contract to any publisher for any work or title in any language

Applications are only open to writers who have not previously published or self-published a full-length book of prose (with the exception of a collection of poetry)

Entrants must write in the English language and reside within the British Commonwealth or Eire

Submissions should be accompanied by a brief synopsis and a short biographical note.

Applicants who submitted work for previous Writers Awards may re-apply but the work submitted must be new

The winner receives a cheque for £10,000 and each runner-up receives £1,000

If your submission is on the longlist you will be notified by email. The shortlist will be announced in October 2023. The winner of the Award will be announced in London late October at an event to which the three shortlisted authors will be invited.

Judges of the 2023 Writers Award:

Gurnah is the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature 2021. He is the author of 10 novels: Memory of Departure, Pilgrims Way, Dottie, Paradise (shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Whitbread Award), Admiring Silence, By the Sea (longlisted for the Booker Prize and shortlisted for the Los Angeles Times Book Award), Desertion (shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize) The Last Gift, Gravel Heart, and Afterlives, which was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Fiction 2021 and longlisted for the Walter Scott Prize. He was Professor of English at the University of Kent and was a Man Booker Prize judge in 2016. He lives in Canterbury.

Adam was born and raised in Trinidad. She read Physics at Brown University and later took an MA in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London, where she gained a distinction. Her debut novel Golden Child was published by Faber & Faber and SJP for Hogarth in 2019, and was listed as one of the BBC’s 100 Novels that Shaped our World. It was awarded the Desmond Elliott Prize, the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award, the Author’s Club Best First Novel Award and the McKitterick Prize 2020. She lives in London.

McAfee worked in newspapers for more than three decades. She was arts and literary editor of the Financial Times and founded the Guardian Review, which she edited for six years. She has written eight children’s books, and has three novels The Spoiler, Hame and Nightshade published by Harvill Secker.


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