Deadline: 31 January 2014
Open to: international writers 16 years old or over who never have published a novel before
Award: a publishing contract with the publisher Alma Books
Lightship Publishing is an independent publishing company based in Hull, United Kingdom. They aim to promote and develop new writers and publish their literary fiction, non-fiction, poetry and dramatic writing. To discover new voices they run an annual international writing award, Lightship First Novel Prize, in partnership with the highly successful independent publisher Alma Books.
Alma – which is Spanish for ‘soul’ – is a publisher that regards a book as an aesthetic artifact rather than as a mass-produced commodity. The company’s whole emphasis lies on quality over quantity, all the way from choosing projects for publication to creating the physical look and feel of the books. Alma works closely and intimately with authors to develop the best possible finished scripts, and displays a commitment to the kind of professional editing, copy-editing and proofreading that is dying out elsewhere.
There will be four stages to the First Novel Prize:
- Entrants will submit a 300-word synopsis and the first 10,000 words of their novels.
- After the deadline of 31st January 2014 these entries will be judged and a short list of 5 drawn up.
- The 5 short-listed entrants will be asked to submit their full novel to be judged by Nicholas Royle (author of First Novel and six other novels), Robert Kirby (Head of Literary Department, United Agents) and Alessandro Gallenzi (Managing Director, Alma Books) who will choose the overall winner.
- Alma Books will edit the novel, and publish it.
First novel is open to writers of any nationality writing in English. There is no restriction on genre, theme or style. Writers must be 16 years of age or over to enter the competition and must not have had a novel published before in book format, either self-published or published by any publishing company.
Entrants have the chance to win a publishing contract with Alma Books (Winner of the Bookseller’s Independent Publisher of the Year Award, 2013). The publisher has first refusal on purchasing the worldwide publishing rights of the winning First Novel, and may offer an advance of up to £4,000.
The First Novel Prize will close at midnight on 31 January 2014. Any novels submitted after the deadline will not be eligible for entry.
Please note there is an entry fee per each application. Do not enter if your work is not of the highest standard.
First Novel entries should not exceed 10,000 words. An extra 300 words have been allocated for a synopsis (plot summary: situation, complications, resolution). Please insert the synopsis at the beginning of your submission. Any entries into Stage 1 without a synopsis will be disqualified.
It is possible to enter on-line, or by post. No entry form is required:
- Online entry costs £25. Online entries will only be accepted if entered through the website. Please do not send your stories as email attachments. Please note that the cost of an online First Novel entry is fixed at £25 Sterling. Conversion to your local currency will be done automatically by your credit card company, according to the exchange rate at that time. Log in HERE to register and enter.
- Postal entry costs £27. Please put your entry and the cheque in the same envelope. Cheques must be made out in the currency of the country from which they are sent, to the full value of the fee, or the entry will be deemed null and void. Cheques payable to Lightship Publishing Ltd. Send postal entries to: Lightship Publishing Ltd, Meredith Building, 23-33 Reform Street, Hull HU2 8EF, United Kingdom. Receipt of entry will be confirmed by Paypal. First Novel entries will not be returned.
The results will be published on 11 April 2014. Submit your questions to the organizers using their Contact form HERE.
For further information, please visit the official website HERE.