Rapper and UK National Treasure, Stormzy, has just announced the return of his esteemed #Merky Books New Writers’ Prize. Looking to be a future Booker Prize winner? This one’s for you. And to help spread the word, The Face have joined forces as the competition’s official media partner for 2020.
Launched last year, the prize invites unpublished and underrepresented writers, aged 16 to 30, to put pen to paper in the hope of securing a publishing contract with #Merky Books. Whether it be poetry, fiction or nonfiction, the initiative wants to platform stories that need to be told – empowering voices that exist at the intersection of race, gender and politics.
“I know too many talented writers that don’t always have an outlet or a means to get their work seen,” Stormzy says of the project. “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.”
Last year there were over 1,200 submissions, with co-winners Hafsa Zayyan and Monika Radojevic receiving the prize. Zayyan’s novel We Are All Birds Of Uganda and Radojevic’s poetry collection Teeth in the Back of My Neck are due for release in January 2021 and May 2021 respectively.
Think your book should be next? Then all you have to do is fill in an application form here by midnight on Friday 30th October 2020. Don’t worry, you don’t have to have a completed manuscript – just a 200 word synopsis and a 1,500 word extract of your writing. Simple.
Following that, a longlist will be announced on 14th December, with those selected being invited to a day long Writers’ Camp. Here they’ll get the chance to mingle with literary agents and bestselling authors, as well as the opportunity to learn more about the publishing process with a series of panel talks and workshops. To top it all off, they’ll even receive personalised one-to-one feedback from Penguin Random House UK editors.
The lucky shortlisters will have their submissions reviewed by guest judges Guz Khan, star and creator of award winning series Man Like Mobeen, Don’t Touch My Hair author and academic Emma Dabiri, 2018 World Indoor Champion athlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson, Make Motherhood Diverse founder Candice Brathwaite, and Big Mike himself.
The shortlist will be whittled down to one (or maybe two – if the competition is steep!), and the winner(s) will have their work debuted on #Merky Books roster. Don’t miss out on the chance for that to be you.