Following the success of the inaugural award last year, the Bluepencilagency First Novel Award is back in 2018 and submissions are now open.

The award is open to unrepresented and unpublished authors for a novel in any adult fiction genre. All submissions will be overseen by the team at Bluepencilagency. This year’s judges are Madeleine Milburn and Fiona Mitchell, author of The Maid’s Room (Hodder & Stoughton) which Emerald Street described as “A modern-day The Help”.

Authors will need to submit the first chapter(s) of their novel up to 5,000 words. Submissions can be from any genre, with the exception of children’s fiction and non-fiction, although YA is permitted provided there is adult crossover. Most of all, we are looking for a strong voice, an attention-grabbing first paragraph and an original and unforgettable story that grips the reader. If you think your novel would be a good fit, please submit it by 30th June 2018.

The winner will receive £1,000 as well as an introduction to Madeleine Milburn, while the runner up will receive £250 and a manuscript review from a Bluepencilagency editor. Last year’s winner Carolyn Kirby is represented by the Andrew Lownie Literary Agency and her historical thriller Half of You is currently out on submission.

Full details including on the timetable, eligibility and submission process can be found here.