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Young Writer of the Year Award 2020 reveals blockbuster judging panel

Sebastian Faulks, Kit de Waal, Tessa Hadley and Houman Barekat to judge 2020 Young Writer of the Year Award.

Young Writer of the Year Award

The Sunday Times / University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year Award, has signed up a blockbuster judging panel for 2020.

Best-selling novelist Sebastian Faulks; the writer, editor and co-founder of The Big Book Weekend, Kit de Waal; Tessa Hadley, award-winning author of novels, short stories and non-fiction; and the writer, critic and Review 31 founding editor Houman Barekat join Sunday Times literary editor Andrew Holgate on the panel.

The award is for the best British or Irish writer of 35 or under. It opened for digital-only entries last month, and are being accepted until 22nd June. The shortlist will be announced on 1st November and the winner on 10th December.

Sebastian Faulks said: “I’m interested to see if young writers can stand outside their personal experience and the concerns of the present day. What I’m hoping for in the submissions for the Young Writer of the Year Award are style, attention to words, the sense that even if it reads smoothly it has been ferociously worked at.”

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Tessa Hadley said: “Whenever I’ve judged a competition, it ’s forced me out of my comfort zone, got me reading the fiction and poetry and non-fiction I might not have picked up otherwise, seeing slices of worlds unlike mine. This should be especially true of reading new young writers. I’m hoping for something that feels true and inevitable, expressed in language that ’s as clean and strong as possible.”

The winner collects £5,000 in prize money and a 10-week residency at the University of Warwick as well as a year’s membership of The London Library, which will also be offered to all shortlisted writers.

To be eligible, entrants must be aged between 18 and 35 — books must have been published or self-published between June 15th 2019 and June 22nd 2020.

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