GRINDSTONE
LITERARY LTD

The biggest writing competitions. The best opportunities. 

NO ONE DOES IT LIKE WE DO

Grindstone has been helping writers find representation and publication since 2017. To date, more than a dozen authors who have placed in our shortlists have gone on to publish their work. 

And we're just getting started. What about you?

Writing on Her Journal

INTERNATIONAL NOVEL PRIZE

One of largest annual novel prizes for unpublished authors.

We're looking for the opening 3,000 words of any finished or part-finished manuscript aimed at YA audiences or older. Submit your opening by the 28th of September 2021 to be eligible to win.

We also offer optional critical feedback for a small surcharge, if you'd like to receive a critique on your opening. 

This year's prize will be presided over by Hellie Ogden of the Janklow & Nesbitt Agency.

Entry Fee: £20.00

Typewriter

CRUCIBLE FIRST NOVEL AWARD

A brand new, free to enter novel award, designed to highlight up and coming talent in the Crime, Mystery, and Thriller genres.

Submit an elevator pitch and the opening 5,000 words of your finished crime, mystery, or thriller novel, and be in with a chance to have your work presented by us, to a panel of wonderful literary agents, who will select their favourites and request full manuscripts.

This year's judges include agents Catherine Cho, Hellie Ogden, Lucy Morris.

Enter by the 1st of February 2021.

Woman Typing

INTERNATIONAL SHORT STORY PRIZE

The International Short Story prize returns this year, looking for entries of between 1000 and 3000 words. 

Entrants may submit work of any genre aimed at adults, and will gain the chance to have their work published in our annual anthology, as well as receive an invitation to participate in the coveted Atmos Collections. 

We also offer optional critical feedback for a small surcharge, if you'd like to receive a critique on your piece. 

Entry Fee: £10.00

Image by Clem Onojeghuo

HOW IT WORKS

REGISTER AN ACCOUNT

Entrants will need to register a free account in order to submit. This account lets you view your entries, results, and feedack, which means no more missed emails or announcements.

UPLOAD YOUR PDF ENTRY

We accept PDF uploads for our competitions, which can easily be generated in Word, Google Docs, and every other word processing software. It allows us to efficiently judge and read your work.

SUBMIT WITH PAYPAL

We use PayPal as a secure payment option, allowing entrants to either pay using a PayPal account, or by using a debit card. 100% safe, and simple to use, PayPal is trusted the world over.

WAIT FOR THE RESULTS

When the competition announces, you'll see the results of your entry right there in your dashboard. No more waiting for emails or reading blogs. And it'll stay there forever, too.

We make things easier, so you can focus on your writing.

Aerial Forest

WHERE ARE THEY NOW

2019 NOVEL PRIZE:

NIKKI MAY

Nikki May is now represented by Catherine Cho of the Madeleine Milburn Agency. She has just closed a seven-figure two-book deal for her wonderful debut Wahala, which was involved in a nine-way bidding war before landing at HarperCollins Custom House.

2018 NOVEL PRIZE: 

LAURA LAAKSO

Laura has gone on to publish her young adult urban fantasy novel Fallible Justice with Louise Walters Books. The debut was released to a very positive response, and after releasing a sequel, the third novel in this series is scheduled to hit the shelves in 2021.

2017 NOVEL PRIZE:

TIMOTHY JAY
SMITH

Timothy is represented by Mark Cottlieb at the Trident Media Group, based in New York City. His crime novel The Fourth Courier was shortlisted for our prize and published in 2019. The sequel is due to be released in late 2020. 

London City

AGENCIES WE WORK WITH

These are just some of the wonderful agencies we have worked with in recent years. But we are also trusted by many others to spot rising talent, and pass along long and shortlisted work regularly. A full list of the agents we work with can be found on the Crucible Novel Award page.

CURTIS BROWN BOOKS

We have been working closely with Curtis Brown Creative for the last few years. Agents including Emma Finn and Lucy Morris have judged for us so far.

MADELEINE MILBURN AGENCY

We are delighted to have worked with Catherine Cho, who has judged for our Flash Fiction Prize, Novel Prize, and Crucible Novel Award.

JANKLOW &
NESBITT

We are proud to have worked with Hellie Ogden, who is judging both our 2020 Crucible Prize, and our 2021 International Novel Prize.

Writing on Her Journal

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Who judges competitions at Grindstone?

Our judging team is made up exclusively of professional readers and editors with industry experience.

​How does Optional Feedback work?

Entrants who request feedback on their work compete alongside those who choose not to pay for it. Those paying the feedback supplement may include two questions on the front page of their submission to guide their feedback if they wish. Otherwise, our judges will give feedback on what we feel requires the most attention.

How do we receive this?

After the results deadline, entrants who paid for feedback will receive a performance report viewable on their User Dashboard. This contains a series of pre-generated feedback responses designed to give some general advice based on the scores ascribed during the marking and judging period. The Judges Comments at the bottom of the page are the personalised response from your judge.

Is the User Dashboard completely free of charge?

Yes. Registering and maintaining an account at Grindstone is completely free, and will remain that way. There're no hidden charges, no fees, and no bills to pay. Competitions, though, do have entry fees, payable at the time of submission.

Do I have to sign up?

Yes. In order to enter, we require users to sign up for an account. This means you can submit and receive results without hunting for lost emails or missing announcement dates. Your entries stay right there in the dashboard for as long as you have an account and feedback and results will always be viewable.

Do you really show the shortlists to literary agents?

We know that the end-goal for a lot of writers is to have their work picked up by an agent and published. And that's why we work hard to bring onboard top agents to preside over our competitions and read the best entries. But it's not just the agent judging who might be interested. We're in contact with many agencies in the UK who ask to receive our chapbooks. We send them along following competitions, where they're read with interest by agents, who may then reach out to you, should you place in one.

How do the cash prizes work?

You win them, we send them to you. It's as simple as that.

How does copyright work at Grindstone?

You retain the copyright to your work. All that we ask is that you give us permission to publish it either online or in our anthology/chapbooks. But that's optional too. Full details on this can be found on our Terms page linked at the bottom of this page.

Who are you, and how did this all start?

We're writers, like you. We were tired of the same old competition set-up -- emails with attachments, long judging periods and missed announcements, weird payment methods which meant multiple tabs, cheques in the post, and bank transfers to random accounts. And we thought the best way to change that was to do it ourselves. So, we set out to make something great, and it turned into Grindstone. Simple, straightforward, and made with writers in mind. We handle submissions through the website, and then send the best ones to literary agents.

What's the best way to stay up to date?

Registering an account will add you to our mailing list (which can be unsubscribed from using the link at the bottom of our emails), but we also have a thriving social media network. Find us on Facebook and Twitter using the links at the bottom of the page. 

Need something else? Get in touch.

Grindstone Literary Ltd is a privately run company providing literary competitions and opportunities to aspiring authors.

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