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Welcome to Discoveries 2022

Discoveries is a pioneering programme seeking the most talented and original new female writing voices in the UK and Ireland.

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The Women’s Prize Trust, Audible, Curtis Brown Literary Agency and Curtis Brown Creative writing school have partnered to run the Discoveries writing development programme for a second year.

Discoveries is more than a traditional writing prize, it is a pioneering development initiative which offers practical support and encouragement to aspiring female novelists of all ages and backgrounds, from across the UK and Ireland. The programme culminates with awarding the Discoveries Prize for an unpublished novel-in-progress.

In its inaugural year of 2021, we were delighted to receive over 2,500 entries. The winning author, Emma van Straaten, has been signed by Curtis Brown literary agent Lucy Morris.

How to enter the prize

Discoveries invites all unpublished women writers aged 18 and up, currently residing in the UK or Ireland and writing in English, to submit their works of adult fiction to the Discoveries Prize. The prize doesn’t require writers to have finished a novel – only to have started one – and it is free to enter. We’re looking for writing that shows real potential, not necessarily polished drafts. We would also like to encourage applications from writers who submitted to the prize last year and have continued working on their story.

The programme culminates with the awarding of the Discoveries Prize in June 2022 for an unpublished novel-in-progress.

The prize will accept novels in any genre of adult fiction and entrants will be required to submit only the first 10,000 words of their novel with a synopsis of up to 1,000 words (but if you can, keep it shorter than that – 500 words is plenty).

Submissions close at 11.59 pm on 17 January 2022.

If you’d like to enter, click the button below (or go to discoveries.curtisbrowncreative.co.uk/).

Please read our Terms and Conditions here.

Any questions? Please see our FAQs here.  

Judges

The 2022 judging panel will be chaired by Kate Mosse, international bestselling novelist and Founder Director of the Women’s Prize; and includes esteemed writers Ayisha Malik and Irenosen Okojie; Lucy Morris, Curtis Brown literary agent; and Anna Davis, Founder and Managing Director of Curtis Brown Creative.

Kate Mosse is the author of nine novels & short story collections, including the No 1 multimillion selling Languedoc Trilogy – Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel – and No 1 bestselling Gothic fiction including The Winter Ghosts and The Taxidermist’s Daughter, which she has adapted for Chichester Festival Theatre for 2022. Her latest No 1 bestselling historical adventure series includes The Burning Chambers and The City of Tears.  Her books have been translated into 38 languages and published in more than 40 countries. Non fiction includes the highly-acclaimed An Extra Pair of Hands and she is working on a major book about women’s history, inspired by her 2021 global ‘Woman In History’ campaign. In 2022, she will publish The Black Mountain as part of the Quick Reads Programme and is one of twelve authors commissioned to write a new Miss Marple story. Mosse a Visiting Professor in Creative Writing & Contemporary Literature at the University of Chichester and an Ambassador for Parkinson’s UK.

Ayisha Malik is the author of the critically acclaimed novels, Sofia Khan is Not Obliged, The Other Half of Happiness, and This Green and Pleasant Land. She was a WHSmith Fresh Talent Pick and Sofia Khan was a London CityReads choice in May 2019. Her contributions have included, A Change is Gonna Come, A Matchmade in Heaven and The Sunday Times bestselling Conversations in Love. She has written a re-telling of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Part – part of Hachette’s Awesomely Austen children’s series – and the children’s book, Seven Sisters. Ayisha is winner of The Diversity Book Awards and has been shortlisted for the Asian Women of Achievement Award, Marie Claire’s Future Shapers Awards and h100’s Awards for Publishing and Writing. Her fourth adult novel, The Movement, is to be published in summer 2022.

Irenosen Okojie is a Nigerian British writer. Appointed to the Royal Society of Literature as a Fellow in 2018, her short stories have been published in the US, Africa and the UK. Her debut novel, Butterfly Fish, was published in 2015, for which she was a recipient of a 2016 Betty Trask Award. Her short story collection, Speak Gigantular, was published in 2016. It was shortlisted for the 2016 inaugural Jhalak Prize and the 2017 Edge Hill Short Story Prize. A collection of short stories, Nudibranch, was published in 2019. It was longlisted for the Jhalak Prize 2020. The story ‘Grace Jones’ won the 2020 AKO Caine Prize for African Writing. In 2021 she was awarded an MBE For Services To Literature. A novel, Curandera, is forthcoming in 2022.

Anna Davis is the Founder and Managing Director of the Curtis Brown Creative writing school. She is the author of five acclaimed novels which have been published in twenty languages. A former journalist, Guardian columnist and university lecturer, she has also worked as a Curtis Brown literary agent, and has served on the management committee for the Association of Authors’ Agents.

Lucy Morris is a literary agent at Curtis Brown, where she represents a list of commercial and literary fiction, and narrative non-fiction. Lucy joined the Curtis Brown Books Department in September 2014 from Bloomsbury Publishing. Her clients include Hazel Barkworth, Cash Carraway, Chịkọdịlị Emelụmadụ and Gillian McAllister.

Prizes

First prize

The winner will be offered representation by Curtis Brown Literary Agency and a cash prize of £5,000, plus have the opportunity to workshop their manuscript with an Audible commissioning editor, who will be specifically matched to their writing style and genre.

Shortlist

One promising writer from the shortlist of six will be named the Discoveries Scholar, this writer will win a free scholarship place to attend a three-month Writing Your Novel course with Curtis Brown Creative (worth £1,800).

All six shortlisted writers will be offered a mentoring session with a Curtis Brown agent plus free enrolment on a Curtis Brown Creative six-week online course (worth £210).

The shortlisted writers will also take part in studio sessions with Audible.

Longlist

All 16 longlisted authors will be invited to join the two-week online Discoveries Writing Development course, which has been designed by Curtis Brown Creative. The course will be taught by acclaimed author Charlotte Mendelson and it focus on the works-in-progress of the longlisted writers, using one-to-one tutorials, live teaching on Zoom, writing exercises and group discussions on Curtis Brown Creative’s online learning platform.

All 16 writers will also receive an annual Audible subscription.

Supporting Writers

Every novel starts with a first line, every career with a first moment of inspiration and we want to reach out to writers in their communities to offer them encouragement and practical support at the beginning of their creative journeys.

As well as the prize this programme includes free online content. This will include everything from interviews with publishing industry professionals to practical advice and inspiration from former winners and shortlistees of the Women’s Prize for Fiction, as well as a series of teaching notes by Curtis Brown Creative Writing School to help writers craft their submissions.

Online workshops will also be hosted with a range of partners to reach as many aspiring authors as possible. Interested writers are invited to attend our free ‘How To Get Started’ on 4 November, 7.00pm-8.30pm, featuring a panel of Curtis Brown agents, authors and Discoveries judges – find out more and sign up below.

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A few words about Discoveries

‘I am surprised and delighted – it still doesn’t feel real. I’m incredibly grateful to the judging panel for the faith they are putting in me, and am really excited to have the support and guidance of Curtis Brown as I work to turn my submission of 10,000 words into something more.’

Emma van Straaten
Winner of Discoveries 2021

‘When the Women’s Prize Trust launched the Discoveries writing programme in 2021, we were blown away by the response from so many talented and inspiring writers and it’s been hugely gratifying to see a number of them go on to receive representation from agents. We are absolutely thrilled to be building on last year’s success and to be creating an enhanced programme in 2022, with the aim of receiving even more submissions from all over the UK and Ireland. As well as welcoming budding writers, we also hope to inspire women who haven’t picked up the pen before, who perhaps haven’t had time or the opportunity to explore their creativity.’

Kate Mosse
Chair of judges and Founder of Women’s Prize for Fiction

‘We at Curtis Brown Creative are thrilled to take part in Discoveries 2021. With Covid hopefully easing its grip, we are keen to try to reach even more women who are writing – or who want to start writing – than we were able to last year, and to help them to develop their work through the provision of free writing resources and online workshops. We’re particularly excited to be creating the brand new two-week online course for the longlisted writers. We consider that one of the very best things we do at Curtis Brown Creative is to bring writers together in mutually supportive groups which stay in touch long after our courses are over. We relish the opportunity to bring together and work with 16 talented women writers in this way.’

Anna Davis
Discoveries judge and founder of Curtis Brown Creative

‘We are delighted to be launching Discoveries for a second year, to reach thousands more writers and offer support and encouragement as they work towards finishing their novels. We have an exciting new prize offering this year, but two core principles remain exactly the same: whether you began five decades, five years, five months or five minutes ago, we want to hear from you; it’s originality and imagination that our readers and judging panel will be looking for – potential, not polish.’

Lucy Morris
Discoveries judge and Curtis Brown Literary Agent