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For Unpublished, Finished, and Part-Finished Manuscripts

Winners Announcement: 1st February 2021

The Grindstone Novel Prize is one of the most prestigious and renowned novel prizes operating in the United Kingdom. Open to entrants from all over the world, our previous winners and shortlists have hailed from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and Canada, to name a few, and have gone on to find much success in the publishing industry.

Our 2019 prize winner was Nikki May, who has gone on to land a seven-figure two-book deal in both the UK and US with her stunning debut novel Wahala.

The 2021 Novel Prize is open to unpublished or self-published, un-represented authors working on a novel aimed at Young Adult or Adult audiences. To be eligible, the finished (or projected finished) length must exceed 70,000 words. Works in progress are accepted in this competition, and entries may be of any genre.

Entrants are asked to submit the opening 3,000 words, accompanied by a short synopsis in the same file. Further details can be found below.

Entrants submitting during the Super Early Bird or Early Bird phases of the prize will receive advanced announcements before the prize ends, informing them of the result of their entries.

This year's competition is being judged by:

Literary Agent Hellie Ogden

Of Janklow & Nesbitt

Check out our interview with Hellie here to get her thoughts on this year's competition.

A full list of this year's prizes can be found below.

Full Prize List

Grand Prize - £1,000 + Full MS Request

Runner Up - £500

4x Shortlisters - £100

All Prize Winners - 25% CBCreative Online Course Discount

The longlisted entries from the initial judging phases may also be presented to agents upon request.

Some of the agencies we work with include;

Janklow & Nesbitt,  Paper Literary, The Madeleine Milburn Agency, The Ampersand Agency, Peter Fraiser Dunlop, Curtis Brown Books, and many more...

A full list of our affiliated agencies can be found at the top of this page. We're currently working on new and exciting ways to connect authors and agents. We hope to share more news with you soon regarding these opportunities.

The winners will be announced on the 16th of December 2021.

Submission Deadlines

Entries submitted during either the Super Early Bird or Early Bird phases of our prize will receive an Advanced Announcement, detailing the result of their entry.

  • Submit your entry during any entry phase to be considered for the prize.

    • Super Early Bird: Submit before midnight GMT on the 1st of April 2021​

      • Receive the result of your submission by the 1st of June 2021.

    • Early Bird: Submit before midnight GMT on the 1st of July 2021

      • Receive the result of your submission by ​the 1st of September 2021

    • Final Submission: Submit before midnight GMT the 1st October 2021

      • Receive the final announcement on February 1st 2022

Advanced Announcements for Super Early Bird and Early Bird entries include the result of your submission and will inform you whether your work is being considered for our longlist, or whether it has not moved forward to the next judging stage.


Entrants paying for feedback during these submission phases will receive feedback along with the result of their submission.


Entrants whose work is not moving forward may then edit and reenter in a later phase of the same prize if they so wish. 

Pricing & Optional Feedback

  • Super Early Bird: £16.00

    • + £8.00 Optional Feedback Supplement​

  • Early Bird: £18.00

    • + £8.00 Optional Feedback Supplement​

  • Regular Submission: £20.00

    • + £8.00 Optional Feedback Supplement​

Entrants submitting without feedback will be required to pay the listed entry fee. Those who wish to receive feedback will be required to pay the feedback supplement of £8.00 at the time of entry and are asked to follow the below guidelines.

If you wish to receive feedback, you may include two feedback prompts on the first page of your submission should you want our judges to answer specific questions or focus on specific areas in their critique. If no prompts are included, feedback will be provided on the areas our judges feel needs the most attention. Prompts cannot be added, requested, or altered after submission.

What To Submit

  • A single PDF document containing both your synopsis and the opening to your manuscript.

    • Page 1: The title of your submission (and if paying for optional feedback, your feedback prompts)

    • Page 2: 300-word synopsis. Please make it informative, covering the broad strokes of the novel, but feel free to add some style and texture to give a flavour of the novel. Note: The synopsis is not judged as part of the submission, but is simply requested to add context to the novel.

    • Page 3: Opening 3,000 words of your manuscript. We allow a 10% margin in order for you to be able to clip to a natural break if necessary.

  • Entrants are asked to submit their work in Times New Roman font, size 12, with either 1.5 or double line spacing for ease of reading. Other readable fonts are acceptable. 

  • Entries must not contain any identifying data as we judge our competitions anonymously.

Entries must be in PDF format. If you need help producing a PDF of your entry, read this blog post. If you have any other questions please get in touch via

How To Submit

  • Entries must be made via Grindstone Literary's online submission Dashboard.

  • Entrants will be required to sign up to use this platform, which is FREE, and requires no payment.

    • It is used solely to allow users to manage their submissions and view the results of the competitions they enter.

  • Entrants may visit: at any time to register an account or log in, or click the 'Dashboard' link at the top of this page.

  • Once an account has been registered and verified, you can submit by clicking the 'Novel Prize' button on the left-hand menu, or by clicking the submit button at the bottom of this page.

  • More information on our User Dashboard system can be found on this blog post.

  • Entry fees must be paid at the time of entry using PayPal. Entrants who do not have a PayPal account may submit using a debit card and selecting the 'Pay As Guest' option at the bottom of the payment window.

  • The winning entries will be announced via email and on social media. You may also view the result of your submission in your user dashboard following the announcement date.


  • The Grindstone Novel Prize is open to unrepresented authors only. Previously published authors are now eligible to enter providing they are not still under contract or agented. Self-published authors are also eligible.

  • Manuscripts which have been published traditionally by either a mainstream or independent publisher are ineligible to be entered.

  • Self-published work is eligible to be entered.

  • Entries which are aimed at either Young Adult or Adult audiences are eligible for entry.

  • Submissions of both finished or part-finished manuscripts are accepted. 

  • Authors must have a projected finish time within 6 months of the final submission deadline to be eligible to enter.

  • Entries must be submitted as PDFs.

  • Entrants may only submit ONE PDF document at the time of entry, and as such the feedback prompts, synopsis, and opening must be included in a single document.

  • Entrants will not be able to revise or alter their entries once submitted and no further documents can be added or attached.

  • Entrants must be 18 or over to submit.

  • Entrants may submit from any country, providing their entry is in English.

  • Entrants may submit as many entries as they wish. Each entry must have a valid fee paid at the time of entry.

  • Entrants who do not pay for feedback will not receive any further information regarding the reasoning for why their entry was or was not chosen to move forward.

  • No disputes or communications will be entered into regarding the results of any submissions.

  • We reserve the right to disqualify entrants if we feel they violate the above terms. 

  • Any work found to be plagiarised, hateful, gratuitous, or offensive may be disqualified at our discretion. 

Please be respectful of both this competition and our readers. We hope that you enjoy competing, and good luck. For any more information, email Please bear in mind that due to a large number of emails, we may take several days to respond.


Grindstone is proud to work with wonderful sites like Almond Press and Christopher Fielden, which provide invaluable resources to aspiring writers.

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