The 2020 Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize will open for entries from Wednesday 18th September 2019 and closes 12 noon Friday 17th January 2020..

Please click here to complete an entry form

Contact Details

Any queries, please check the FAQs or contact Hayley:

Due to the volume of entries received it is not possible for the judges to provide feedback on non-shortlisted entries.

Terms and conditions

  1. 2020 Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize is open to unpublished female writers, aged 21 or over, who live in the UK or Ireland.
  2. We welcome submissions of literary fiction and genre fiction equally. 
  3. Novels for young adults or children (middle grade or above) are acceptable if they are mainly word-based. 
  4. Picture books, jointly authored novels and short stories are not eligible for submission.
  5. The novel must be unpublished, and must not have been accepted for future publication or be self-published (publishing part of the novel on a blog or website eg one chapter makes a novel ineligible for this competition). 
  6. Authors must not have agent representation at the time of submission.
  7. Only one entry per person is permitted for the 2020 Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize.
  8. Authors cannot have a previous novel published.
  9. No current staff member, Fellow or full-time student of Lucy Cavendish College can enter the competition.
  10. Shortlisted authors and the winning author will be expected to participate in promotional activities throughout the year.
  11. The Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize will be expected to be mentioned in any published novels that are associated with the Prize.
  12. Any entrant found to be in contravention of any of the terms and conditions will be automatically disqualified.
  13. The judges’ decision will be final. The judges reserve the right not to award the prize if they think that none of the entries are of sufficient merit.

Sponsored entries for low income writers

Our grateful thanks to author Frances Perkins (writing as Frances Maynard) for sponsoring eight entries for low income writers otherwise unable to afford entry fees. Thanks to the generosity of additional sponsors, the number of pre-paid entries is now ten.  These entries will be available to the first ten entries who meet the criteria as a low income writer.  We are delighted to be able to reach out to low income writers who may not be in a position to be able to enter.

How to apply for a sponsored entry:

To apply, please select the ‘Sponsored Entry’ option in the Entry type of our online entry form. Applicants must be able to provide proof of financial eligibility such as: Jobseeker’s Allowance; Disability Benefit; Income Support; Working Tax Credit; proof of being a full-time student; Housing Benefit; proof of being a full-time carer. This must be uploaded under the Sponsored Entry - Proof of Financial.  We will confirm if you have met the criteria for a sponsored entry. All details will be kept confidential. 

Interested in sponsoring a low income writer?

If you would like to sponsor a low income writer, or have any other queries, please email:

Best of luck!

The Shortlist, the Prize-giving ceremony and the Prize

The judges will draw up a shortlist of submissions. Those entrants, plus one guest per shortlisted entrant, will be invited to the prize-giving drinks reception and awards ceremony. Industry representatives will also be present, as will Fellows and students of the college.

Allison Pearson, Chair of the judging panel, will announce the winner and award the prize of £1,500.00 at a drinks reception at the beginning of the evening.  All shortlistees will have the chance to meet industry representatives at the reception.

All shortlistees will be offered one-to-one consultations with agents at PFD (subject to them not having an existing agent) who will provide editorial feedback and discuss the marketability of their work.

Good luck!

In this section

Laura Marshall, Shortlisted Author 2016

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"I will always be grateful to the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize, as it was really the first step on the road to everything that has happened since" Laura Marshall, shortlisted 2016

More about the Prize

Our Fiction Prize

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Just how did we choose our winner?

Find out more