The Women’s Prize Trust, Audible, the Curtis Brown literary agency and Curtis Brown Creative have partnered to run the Discoveries writing development programme for a fourth 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 The programme culminates with awarding the Discoveries Prize for an unpublished novel-in-progress.
Honestly, for me winning is proof that whatever doubts you have, whatever voice in your head tells you ‘you aren’t good enough’, go for it anyway. If I’d listened to my doubts I wouldn’t have entered, and I wouldn’t have won.
Winner of Discoveries 2023
Natasha Brown is a British novelist. Her debut novel Assembly was shortlisted for awards including the Folio Prize, the Goldsmiths Prize and the Orwell Prize for Fiction. Natasha was named one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists in 2023 and one of the Observer’s Best Debut Novelists in 2021. She was also a Women’s Prize x Good Housekeeping Futures Award finalist.
Rowan Hisayo Buchanan
Rowan Hisayo Buchanan is the author of Harmless Like You, Starling Days, and The Sleep Watcher. Rowan is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She has won The Authors’ Club First Novel Award and a Betty Trask Award and has been shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award. Her short work has appeared in several places including Granta, Guernica, The Guardian, The Harvard Review, and NPR’s Selected Shorts. She is the editor of the Go Home! and Dog Hearted anthologies.
Anna Davis is the founder and Director of the Curtis Brown Creative writing school. She is the author of five acclaimed novels which have been published in twenty languages. She has been a journalist and Guardian columnist, as well as a Curtis Brown literary agent. She taught creative writing at the University of Manchester and in many other settings before founding Curtis Brown Creative in 2011.
Jess Molloy joined the literary department of Curtis Brown in October 2019 having previously worked in the talent and comedy department and within talent management for over eight years. She is an Agent in Cathryn Summerhayes’ office, assisting on Cathryn’s extensive and eclectic client list as well as building her own carefully curated list. She joined the team of the Discoveries Prize in its second year and signed the 2022 winner Sui Annukka after falling in love with her writing during the prize submission reading rounds.
Kate Mosse is the author of 10 novels and short story collections. Her books have sold more than 8 million copies worldwide and her fiction – which has been translated into 38 languages and published in more than 40 countries – includes the No 1 international bestselling Languedoc Trilogy (Labyrinth, Sepulchre and Citadel), the No 1 bestselling The Joubert Family Chronicles (The Burning Chambers, The City of Tears and The Ghost Ship), and bestselling Gothic fiction including The Taxidermist’s Daughter and The Winter Ghosts. She has also written four works of non-fiction including the critically acclaimed memoir An Extra Pair of Hands, four plays, contributed essays and introductions to classic novels and collections. Her latest feminist history Warrior Queens & Quiet Revolutionaries: How Women (Also) Built the World was published last Autumn. A champion of women’s creativity, Kate is the Founder Director of the Women’s Prize for Fiction – founded in 1997 to honour, amplify and celebrate fiction written by women from all over the world – and chairs the Discoveries programme. Kate also sits on the Executive Committee of Women of the World, is the Founder of the global Woman in History campaign and is the Patron of several national and local arts organisations.
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 have previously submitted to the prize and have continued working on their stories.
- Submissions are open from 20 September 2023 until 11:59pm on 8 January 2024.
- The longlist and shortlist will be announced in April 2024, and the winner in May 2024.
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).
The winner will be offered representation by Curtis Brown Literary Agency and a cash prize of £5,000.
One promising writer, named the ‘Discoveries Scholar’, will also win a free scholarship to attend a three-month Writing Your Novel course with Curtis Brown Creative (worth £1,800).
All six shortlisted authors will be offered a mentoring session with a Curtis Brown agent, plus a free place on a six-week online writing course with Curtis Brown Creative.
The shortlisted writers will also take part in a studio session focused on writing and recording for audio with Audible.
All 16 longlisted authors will receive a bespoke,two-week online Discoveries Writing Development Course designed by Curtis Brown Creative and taught by Charlotte Mendelson, who was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2008 with When We Were Bad and longlisted in 2022 for The Exhibitionist. This course focuses on the novels-in-progress of the longlisted writers, using live teaching on Zoom, writing exercises and group discussion on Curtis Brown Creative’s online learning platform – plus a one-to-one tutorial will Charlotte. Taking place in the first two weeks of July 2024, the course will culminate in a teaching session with Curtis Brown literary agents.
All 16 writers will also receive an annual Audible subscription.
Winning the Discoveries Prize has been extraordinary. It was hugely encouraging to know that the judges enjoyed reading my work.
Winner of Discoveries 2022
Resources & events
Throughout the 2024 programme, the Women’s Prize Trust and Curtis Brown Creative will provide practical advice, motivation and industry insight to the growing Discoveries writing community through a library of online resources and free writing panels and workshops.
Join us on Thurs 26 Oct for our Your Novel: How to Get Started webinar, an inspiring panel event will advice on preparing your entry to Discoveries 2024 from expert speakers, including Kate Mosse and Anna Davis – with more speakers to be announced.