Kamila Shamsie, Susan Hill and Andrew Holgate to judge The Sunday Times / Peters Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award 2018

The award-winning novelist Kamila Shamsie, who has just won the Women’s Prize for Fiction with Home Fire, and the novelist and non-fiction writer Susan Hill will join Andrew Holgate on the judging panel of The Sunday Times / Peter Frasers + Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award, in association with the University of Warwick.

The prize – which rewards the best work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry by a British or Irish author aged between 18 and 35 – has become the definitive platform for young writing. Working with a growing network of partners, including the British Council, it provides a vital support system to the very best talent at work right now.

Kamila Shamsie is the author of seven novels, most recently Home Fire, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, shortlisted for the Costa Novel of the Year Award and won the Women’s Prize for Fiction. In 2013 she was on Granta’s list of Best of Young British Novelists. She grew up in Karachi and now lives in London.

Susan Hill published her first novel in 1961 and has been a professional writer ever since. Her books have won the Whitbread (now Costa), James Tait Black and Somerset Maugham Prizes and were shortlisted for the Man Booker. The play adapted from her best-selling ghost story The Woman in Black has been running in London’s West End for 30 years. Susan has been a judge for most British book prizes, and was made a CBE in 2012 for services to literature.

Andrew Holgate has been the Literary Editor of The Sunday Times for nine years, and before that was the Deputy Literary Editor for the same number of years. He has worked in bookselling, publishing and literary journalism, and has judged many other prizes, including the Samuel Johnson Award and the Somerset Maugham.

Kamila Shamsie said:

“There’s a particular excitement to discovering a new voice in literature – the freshness and the promise of greater works to come make for a thrilling combination. I’m very much looking forward to having many such moments of excitement when reading through the prize submissions. It’s a privilege to play a role in alerting many more people to the newest writer in the glittering firmament of those who have won this award.”

Susan Hill said:

“When I started out in 1958 there were no such prizes but what I did receive was massive encouragement and support from other writers and this prize gives that too, and more. Young writers need to feel valued and given a kick-start by just such a prize as this. I am honoured to be a judge of this as it is probably more important than most.”

The Irish writer Sally Rooney was named last year’s Young Writer of the Year for Conversation with Friends (Faber & Faber), which went on to be shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize, the Swansea University International Dylan Thomas Prize, and the British Book Awards. Rooney followed Max Porter, who won with his genre-bending Grief is the Thing with Feathers (Faber & Faber), and the poet Sarah Howe, who was awarded in 2015 for her first collection, Loop of Jade (Chatto & Windus), which went on to win the T.S. Eliot Prize. This year’s winner will join these three exceptional writers, and a list of alumni that includes everyone from Robert Macfarlane and Simon Armitage to Zadie Smith and Sarah Waters. 

Generously sponsored by literary agency Peters Fraser +  Dunlop, the Young Writer of the Year Award is running in association with the University of Warwick – home to the acclaimed Warwick Writing Programme – who are offering a bespoke 10-week residency for the award’s winner, and a year-long programme of digital support. The British Council is the international partner of the prize, opening doors for the shortlisted authors abroad.

The shortlist of the 2018 prize will be announced on 4 November, the winner revealed with a ceremony at the London Library on 6 December.

The award has a reputation for spotting the literary stars of tomorrow, boasting an incredible line-up of past winners, including: Ross Raisin, God’s Own Country (2009); Adam Foulds, The Truth About These Strange Times (2008); Naomi Alderman, Disobedience (2007), Robert Macfarlane, Mountains of the Mind: a History of a Fascination (2004); William Fiennes, The Snow Geese (2003); Zadie Smith, White Teeth (2001); Sarah Waters, Affinity (2000); Paul Farley, The Boy from the Chemist is Here to See You (1999); Patrick French, Liberty or Death: India’s Journey to Independence and Division (1998); Francis Spufford, I May Be Some Time: Ice and the English Imagination (1997); Katherine Pierpoint, Truffle Beds (1996); Andrew Cowan, Pig (1995); William Dalrymple, City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi (1994); Simon Armitage, Kid (1993); Caryl Phillips, Cambridge (1992); and Helen Simpson, Four Bare Legs in a Bed and Other Stories (1991).

Keep up to date with the award and join the conversation, via:
youngwriteraward.com | twitter.com/youngwriteryear

For all media enquiries please contact Daniel Kramb and Charlotte Tuxworth at FMcM Associates on +44 207 405 7422 or email danielk@fmcm.co.uk, charlottet@fmcm.co.uk

Notes to Editors

The Sunday Times / Peters Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award:

Founded in 1991, the award recognises the best literary work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry by a British or Irish writer of 35 and under. £5,000 is given to the winner, and £500 to each of the three runners-up. The award was suspended in 2008, but with the generous sponsorship of Peters Fraser + Dunlop it was revitalised in 2015, building on the remarkable legacy of the prize by introducing  two significant and exciting innovations: extending its reach by including writers from Ireland and including self-published works as well as those from publishers – putting the prize in tune with the changing landscape of British publishing. In 2017 the prize secured two further partnerships with the University of Warwick and the British Council.

The Sunday Times:

The Sunday Times is the UK’s largest circulation quality Sunday newspaper. Renowned for its technological innovation, The Sunday Times is available for download on all platforms and devices including Android, Amazon Kindle and iOS. The Sunday Times has a reputation for award-winning, courageous and campaigning investigative journalism, breaking many major world exclusives. The newspaper offers great value to readers and it is recognised not only for breaking news but for its unrivalled coverage of sports, business, the arts and entertainment.

Peters Fraser + Dunlop:

Peters Fraser + Dunlop is one of the oldest and most established literary and talent agencies in London. We are proud to represent authors, journalists, broadcasters, speakers and estates with specialist expertise in the fields of literature, film, television and radio, public speaking, digital platforms and journalism. We offer our clients the best people to work with and the expertise to develop long-term value in their work across all media while protecting their rights in today’s changing market. Our business is about creativity, enhancement, innovation and service.

The University of Warwick:

The University of Warwick offers a bespoke 10-week winner residency, a festival of events, and a year round programme of digital support for the prize. The University of Warwick is consistently ranked in the top 10 universities in the UK and top 100 in the world, with the Warwick Writing Programme ranked No1 in the UK by The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018. It is one of the UK’s leading universities, with an acknowledged reputation for excellence in research, teaching and innovation alongside pioneering links with business and industry. It is home to the acclaimed Warwick Writing Programme, the largest and most comprehensive of its kind in Europe, which is currently home to renowned authors such as: Will Eaves, Maureen Freely, Michael Hulse, A.L. Kennedy, Tim Leach, David Morley, Sarah Moss, Ian Sansom, Jonathan Skinner, and David Vann.

The British Council:

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities. We work with over 100 countries in the fields of arts and culture, English language, education and civil society. Last year we reached over 65 million people directly and 731 million people overall including online, broadcasts and publications. We make a positive contribution to the countries we work with – changing lives by creating opportunities, building connections and engendering trust. Founded in 1934 we are a UK charity governed by Royal Charter and a UK public body. We receive 15 per cent core funding grant from the UK government.

The Society of Authors:

The Society of Authors is the UK trade union for all types of writers, illustrators and literary translators, at all stages of their careers. They have more than 10,000 members and have been advising individuals and speaking out for the profession for more than a century. In 2017, they will award more than £400,000 in prizes and grants (for fiction, non-fiction, poetry and translation), and also administer The Sunday Times / Peters, Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award, along with the Women’s Prize for Fiction and The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award.

For all media enquiries please contact Daniel Kramb and Sophie Goodfellow at FMcM Associates on +44 207 405 7422 or email danielk@fmcm.co.uk, sophieg@fmcm.co.uk