Discoveries: our writers’ development programme

Submissions are now open for our 2022 Discoveries writing development programme – enter via the Curtis Brown submissions portal by 11:59pm on 17 January 2022

Discoveries invites unpublished women writers from the UK or Ireland to submit the opening of a novel in English, of up to 10,000 words. Unlike most initiatives of this kind, writers are not required to have finished their novel, and Discoveries is completely free to enter.

In partnership with Audible, Curtis Brown Literary Agency, and the Curtis Brown Creative writing school, Discoveries is more than a traditional prize whereby the winner receives an offer of representation and £5000; 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. 

Terms and conditions of entry can be read here and FAQs here.

Designed to inspire as many emerging authors as possible to enter and to help writers craft their submissions, the Women’s Prize Trust, Audible, Curtis Brown Literary Agency and the Curtis Brown Creative writing school will curate a programme of free content to run throughout the submissions window, including writing tips and insights into the agenting and publishing process, practical advice and inspiration from judges, Women’s Prize for Fiction alumna and publishing professionals. 

Sign up to our newsletter to be the first to hear about these opportunities.

Watch the video below to meet our incredible judging panel and find out what they’re looking for in a winning entry:

The support package offered to the Discoveries longlisted writers has been enhanced for 2022. A brand-new bespoke, two-week online Discoveries Writing Development Course has been designed by Curtis Brown Creative for the 16 writers, to be taught by CBC tutor Charlotte Mendelson, who was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2008 with When We Were Bad. All 16 writers will also receive an annual Audible subscription

The 2022 judging panel will again 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 writing school.

In our inaugural year of 2021, we had over 2,500 Discoveries entries. The winning author, Emma van Straaten, has been signed by Curtis Brown agent Lucy Morris; three other Discoveries longlisted writers have since accepted offers of representation by UK literary agents, and all 16 longlistees have been offered mentoring by Curtis Brown agents and the opportunity to take part in Curtis Brown Creative writing courses.  

The Discoveries longlist and shortlist will be announced in May, and the winner in June 2022.

Kate Mosse, Novelist & Founder Director of Women’s Prize for Fiction, says: “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.”

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