Frequently Asked Questions

We answer your questions about Discoveries 2020-21.

Who can enter? 

Discoveries is open to women aged 18 and above residing in the UK or Ireland and writing in English.  

Does it cost anything to enter?  

Discoveries is free to enter.  

Does my novel have to be in a particular genre?  

Discoveries accepts novels in any genre of adult fiction.  

May I enter my YA/children’s novel?  

The novel must be aimed at adults rather than young adults or children.  

Do I have to finish my novel in order to enter?  

Discoveries doesn’t require writers to have finished a novel – only to have started one. Entrants will be required to submit only the first 10,000 words of their novel and a synopsis. The word limit of 10,000 words is a maximum and you are free to submit less if you wish.

When can I submit my entry?  

Discoveries will open for entries from 16 September 2020 and close at midday on 17 January 2021.

I have previously self-published my writing – am I still eligible?  

This novel must be unpublished. If you have previously self-published other work, you are still welcome to enter.  

Since submitting to Discoveries I have been offered representation by an agent / a publishing deal – am I still eligible? 

You are not eligible for Discoveries if you are currently represented by a literary agent. If you accept an offer of representation by an agent or accept a publishing deal after you have submitted your work for Discoveries, then you become ineligible. Please let us know if this is the case, and we will withdraw your entry. 

I have published academic work previously – am I still eligible?  

Yes, you are eligible to enter Discoveries if you have previously had academic work, including monographs, published by an academic press for an academic readership.*

I have published other non-fiction previously – am I still eligible?  

If you have previously published a non-fiction book with a traditional, non-academic publisher, then you are not eligible for Discoveries.  If you have self-published your other writing, or had your writing published in magazines or online, then you are eligible for Discoveries.*

I have published poetry previously – am I still eligible?  

If you have previously published a collection of poetry with a traditional publisher, then you are not eligible for Discoveries. If you have had a poem included in an anthology published by a traditional publisher, or in a publication or magazine, you are eligible to enter.*  

I have had my writing published in magazines or online – am I still eligible?  

If you have previously published your other writing in magazines or online, then you are eligible for Discoveries.  

I have had a short story or short stories published– am I still eligible?  

If you have previously published a short story or short stories in magazines, anthologies published by traditional publishers or online, then you are eligible for Discoveries.  

If I’m having trouble submitting via the online form, what do I do? 

We’re so sorry you’re having trouble with the form! First of all, try refreshing the web page and starting again (we recommend typing your entries into a separate document so that you don’t lose your work if you need to refresh the page). If you are still struggling, you can write to us at and we’ll try to help. Please note that this inbox will be monitored regularly, but you may not get an immediate response. 

My formatting has disappeared when I enter it into the online form – what do I do?  

Please don’t worry if your formatting (italics/bold/indenting) disappears when you enter your text into the online form. It will appear correctly when we view it! 

How will Discoveries be judged? 

A longlist of sixteen and shortlist of six writers will be selected by a judging panel chaired by acclaimed author and Women’s Prize Founder Director Kate Mosse. She will be joined by author Abi Daré, literary agent Lucy Morris, Curtis Brown Creative Managing Director Anna Davis, and Director for Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature Sandeep Mahal. 

What are the prizes?  

The winner will be offered representation by Curtis Brown Literary Agency and a cash prize of £5,000. All longlisted and shortlisted authors will be offered personalised packages of mentorship from a Curtis Brown agent or industry expert tailored to their individual needs, and free or discounted places on Curtis Brown Creative’s writing courses. 

When are the winners announced?  

The key dates for Discoveries are: 

  • March/April 2021: Longlist of Discoveries announced 
  • April/May 2021: Shortlist of Discoveries announced 
  • June 2021: Winner of Discoveries is announced 

I have a question not covered in the FAQs.  

Please email the Discoveries team at

*If you are unsure if these terms surrounding previous non-fiction, academic and/or poetry publications apply to you please email