Betty Trask Prize

Joanne Harris (left) and Lemn Sissay (right) with 2022 Betty Trask Prize winner Will McPhail at Southwark Cathedral (photograph © Adrian Pope)
Joanne Harris (left) and Lemn Sissay (right) with 2022 Betty Trask Prize winner Will McPhail at Southwark Cathedral (photograph © Adrian Pope)
For first novels by authors under 35

Betty Trask left a bequest to the Society of Authors in 1983 to fund prizes for first novels written by authors under the age of 35 in a traditional or romantic style.

Each year a single prize winner receives £10,000 and the remaining fund is split between the shortlist.  

The Betty Trask Prize will re-open for submissions in summer 2023

The 2023 Betty Trask Prize Shortlist

Paddy Crewe for My Name is Yip published by Doubleday, Penguin Random House UK

Imogen Crimp for A Very Nice Girl published by Bloomsbury Publishing

Maddie Mortimer for Maps of our Spectacular Bodies published by Picador, Pan Macmillan

Daniel Wiles for Mercia’s Take published by Swift Press

“No judge of a literary prize will tell you that the process has been easy; I can’t think that many have had such a wonderful collection of novels to debate as we did this year. I was struck by how ambitious so many of the books were – again and again there was formal and thematic complexity on show, courageous attempts to give new shape to the novel. Our shortlist is brilliant and wide-ranging, a sign that our literary future is in very good hands.”
Alex Preston, 2023 Betty Trask Prize judge

If you are interested in buying any of the books shortlisted here, please visit A percentage of each sale will go to the Authors’ Contingency Fund, providing hardship grants to authors in financial difficulty.

  • Deadline for entries: 30 November 2022
  • Applicants must be under the age of 35 on 31 December 2022
  • Applicants must be resident in Great Britain and Northern Ireland of the Commonwealth for three years prior to the date of submission for the award, or a British National
  • Applicants must not have had any other novel published
  • Submissions must be in English and must not be a translation
  • Submissions must be of a romantic or traditional nature (i.e. not experimental)
  • Submissions must have been first published in 2022, or be unpublished
  • If unpublished, the work must not have been previously submitted for the Betty Trask Prize.

For any queries relating to the prize please contact [email protected]

2022 Betty Trask Prize Winner

2022 Betty Trask Award Winners

  • Megan Nolan for Acts of Desperation (Vintage Publishing)
  • Natasha Brown for Assembly (Penguin Books)
  • Caleb Azumah Nelson for Open Water (Penguin Books)
  • A. K. Blakemore for The Manningtree Witches (Granta Books)

With thanks, the judges of the 2023 Betty Trask Prize:

Sara Collins

© Rebecca Davidson

Sara Collins studied law at the London School of Economics before qualifying as a barrister in 1994. She worked as a lawyer for seventeen years before obtaining a Master’s degree in creative writing with distinction from Cambridge University in 2016, where she was the recipient of the Michael Holroyd prize.  Prior to publication, The Confessions of Frannie Langton was shortlisted for the Lucy Cavendish prize, and it was published earlier this year by Penguin in the UK and Harper Collins in the US to critical acclaim. It has been sold for translation into more than fourteen languages, as well as being optioned for television, and making an appearance in numerous ‘best of’ lists by Oprah magazine, The Guardian, The Observer, Amazon, Apple and Essence, to name a few

Michael Donkor

© David Yiu

Michael Donkor studied English at Wadham College, Oxford, undertook a Masters in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway and now teaches English Literature at St Paul’s Girls’ School in London. The Observer named him as one of 2018’s best debut authors for his first novel Hold (4th Estate) and in 2019, he was longlisted for the International Dylan Thomas Prize, shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize and selected by Scottish poet laureate Jackie Kay as one of the ten best BAME writers in the UK. He writes and reviews for the Guardian and has appeared on both Radio 3 and 4

Alex Preston

Alex Preston is the prize-winning author of four novels and a book of nonfiction. His most recent novel, Winchelsea, was published to critical acclaim in February 2022. Alex writes for the Telegraph, the Economist and Harper’s Bazaar and reviews books for the Observer. He appears regularly on BBC radio 


  • Prize Winner: Will McPhail for In: The Graphic Novel (Sceptre)
  • Award winners
    • Megan Nolan for Acts of Desperation
    • Natasha Brown for Assembly
    • Caleb Azumah Nelson for Open Water
    • A. K. Blakemore for The Manningtree Witches


  • Prize Winner: Thomas McMullan for The Last Good Man (Bloomsbury)
  • Award Winners
    • Maame Blue for Bad Love (Jacaranda Books)
    • Eley Williams for The Liar’s Dictionary (William Heinemann, Cornerstone)
    • Nneoma Ike-Njoku for The Water House 
    • Graeme Armstrong for The Young Team (Pan Macmillan, Picador)


  • Prize Winner: Kathryn Hind for Hitch – £10,000 (Hamish Hamilton)
  • Award Winners
    • Stacey Halls for The Familiars (Zaffre, Bonnier Books) £5,400
    • Isabella Hammad for The Parisian (Jonathan Cape, Vintage) £5,400
    • Okeychukwu Nzelu for The Private Joys of Nnenna Maloney (Dialogue Books) £5,400


  • Prize Winner: James Clarke for The Litten Path (Salt) £10,000
  • Award Winners
    • Samuel Fisher for The Chameleon (Salt) £2,700
    • Imogen Hermes Gowar for The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock (Harvill Secker) £2,700
    • Ruqaya Izzidien for The Watermelon Boys (Hoopoe Fiction / AUC Press) £2,700
    • Daisy Lafarge for Paul (Unpublished) £2,700
    • Rebecca Ley for Sweet Fruit, Sour Land (Sandstone Press) £2,700
    • Sophie Mackintosh for The Water Cure (Hamish Hamilton) £2,700


  • Prize Winner: Omar Robert Hamilton for The City Always Wins (Faber) £10,000
  • Award Winners
    • Sarah Day for Mussolini’s Island (Tinder Press) £3,250
    • Clare Fisher for All the Good Things (Viking) £3,250
    • Eli Goldstone for Strange Heart Beating (Granta Books) £3,250
    • Lloyd Markham for Bad Ideas\Chemicals (Parthian) £3,250
    • Masande Ntshanga for The Reactive (Jacaranda) £3,250


  • Prize winner: Daniel Shand for Fallow (Sandstone Press) £10,000
  • Award winners
    • Rowan Hisayo Buchanan for Harmless Like You (Hodder & Stoughton) £3,000
    • Elnathan John for Born on a Tuesday (Cassava Republic) £3,000
    • Kathleen Jowittt for Speak Its Name (self-published) £3,000
    • Rob McCarthy for The Hollow Men (Hodder & Stoughton) £3,000
    • Barney Norris for Five Rivers Met on a Wooded Plain (Transworld) £3,000


  • Prize winner: Alex Christofi for Glass (Serpents Tail) £10,000
  • Award winners
    • Irenosen Okojie for Butterfly Fish (Jacaranda Books Art Music) £5,000
    • Natasha Pulley for The Watchmaker of Filigree Street (Bloomsbury Circus) £5,000
    • Lucy Wood for Weathering (Bloomsbury) £5,000


  • Prize winner: Ben Fergusson for The Spring of Kasper Meier (Little, Brown) £10,000
  • Award winners
    • Emma Healey for Elizabeth is Missing (Viking) £5,000
    • Zoe Pilger for Eat My Heart Out (Serpent’s Tail) £5,000
    • Simon Wroe for Chop Chop (Viking) £5,000


  • Prize winner: Nathan Filer for The Shock of the Fall (HarperCollins) £10,000
  • Award winners
    • NoViolet Bulawayo for We Need New Names (Chatto) £3,750
    • Sam Byers for Idiopathy (Fourth Estate) £3,750
    • Mave Fellowes for Chaplin and Company (Jonathan Cape) £3,750 
    • Matt Greene for Ostrich (Weidenfeld) £3,750


  • Prize winner: Grace McCleen for The Land of Decoration (Chatto and Windus) £8,000
  • Award winners
    • Chibundu Onuzo for The Spider King’s Daughter (Faber) £7,000
    • Francesca Segal for The Innocents (Chatto and Windus) £2,500
    • Will Wiles for Care of Wooden Floors (Fourth Estate) £2,500


  • Prize winner: David Whitehouse for Bed (Canongate) £8,000
  • Award winners
    • Kalinda Ashton for The Danger Game (Tindal Street Press) £3,000
    • Elizabeth Day for Scissors, Paper, Stone (Bloomsbury) £3,000 
    • Annabel Pitcher for My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece (Orion/Indigo) £3,000
    • Emma Jane Unsworth for Hungry, the Stars and Everything (The Hidden Gem Press) £3,000


  • Prize winner: Anjali Joseph for Saraswati Park (Fourth Estate) £10,000 
  • Award winners
    • Laura Barton for Twenty-One Locks (Quercus) £6,000
    • Simon Lelic Rupture (Picador) £2,500
    • Robert Williams for Luke and Jon (Faber) £2,500


  • Prize winner: Nadifa Mohamed for Black Mamba Boy (HarperCollins) £10,000
  • Award winners
    • Evie Wyld for After the Fire, a Still Small Voice (Jonathan Cape) £7,000
    • Jenn Ashworth for A Kind of Intimacy (Arcadia) £1,500
    • Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani for I Do Not Come to You by Chance (Weidenfeld) £1,500


  • Prize winner: Samantha Harvey for The Wilderness (Jonathan Cape) £12,000
  • Award Winner: Eleanor Catton for The Rehearsal (Granta) £8,000


  • David Szalay London and the South-East (Jonathan Cape) £10,000 
  • Ross Raisin God’s Own Country (Viking) £6,000 
  • Thomas Leveritt The Exchange Rate Between Love and Money (Harvill Secker) £2,000 
  • Anna Ralph The Floating Island (Arrow Books) £2,000


  • Will Davis for My Side of the Story (Bloomsbury) £10,000 
  • Adam Foulds for The Truth About These Strange Times (Weidenfeld) £2,500 
  • Cynan Jones for The Long Dry (Parthian) £2,500 
  • Julie Maxwell for You Can Live Forever (Jonathan Cape) £2,500 
  • Karen Mcleod for In Search of the Missing Eyelash (Jonathan Cape) £2,500


  • Nick Laird for Utterly Monkey (Fourth Estate/Harper Perennial) £10,000 
  • Peter Hobbs for The Short Day Dying (Faber & Faber) £5,000 
  • Nicola Monaghan for The Killing Jar (Chatto & Windus) £5,000


  • Susan Fletcher for Eve Green (Fourth Estate) £16,000 
  • Helen Walsh for Brass (Canongate) £2,000
  • Diana Evans for 26a (Chatto & Windus) £2,000


  • Louise Dean for Becoming Strangers (Scribner) £8,000 
  • Hannah MacDonald for The Sun Road (Little, Brown) £6,000 
  • Anthony Cartwright for The Afterglow (Tindal Street Press) £3,000 
  • Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi for The Last Song of Dusk (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) £3,000


  • Jon McGregor for If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things (Bloomsbury) £10,000 
  • Sarah Hall for Haweswater (Faber and Faber) £6,000 
  • Stephanie Merritt for Gaveston (Faber and Faber) £4,000
  • Elizabeth Garner for Nightdancing (Headline) £2,000 
  • Zoe Strachan for Negative Space (Picador) £2,000
  • Adam Thirlwell for Politics (Jonathan Cape) £1,000


  • Hari Kunzru for The Impressionist (Hamish Hamilton) £8,000 
  • Rachel Seiffert for The Dark Room (William Heinemann) £5,000 
  • Shamim Sarif for The World Unseen (The Women’s Press) £4,000 
  • Helen Cross for My Summer of Love (Bloomsbury) £2,000 
  • Chloe Hooper for A Child’s Book of True Crime (Jonathan Cape) £2,000 
  • Susanna Jones for The Earthquake Bird (Picador) £2,000 
  • Gwendoline Riley for Cold Water (Jonathan Cape) £2,000


  • Zadie Smith for White Teeth (Hamish Hamilton) £6,000 
  • Justin Hill for The Drink and Dream Teahouse (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) £5,000 
  • Maggie O’Farrell for After You’d Gone (Headline Review) £5,000 
  • Vivien Kelly for Take One Young Man (Arrow) £4,000 
  • Mohsin Hamid for Moth Smoke (Granta) £2,500 
  • Patrick Neate for Musungu Jim and the Great Chief Tuloko (Penguin) £2,500


  • Jonathan Tulloch for The Season Ticket (Jonathan Cape) £10,000 
  • Julia Leigh for The Hunter (Faber and Faber) £7,000 
  • Susan Elderkin for Sunset Over Chocolate Mountains (Fourth Estate) £4,000 
  • Galaxy CrazeBy for The Shore (Jonathan Cape) £2,000 
  • Nicholas Griffin for The Requiem Shark (Little, Brown) £2,000


  • Elliot Perlman for Three Dollars (Faber and Faber) £7,000 
  • Catherine Chidgey for In a Fishbone Church (Picador Macmillan) £6,000 
  • Giles Foden for The Last King of Scotland (Faber and Faber) £4,000 
  • Dennis Bock for Olympia (Bloomsbury) £3,000 
  • Rajeev Balasubramanyam for In Beautiful Disguises (unpublished MS, to be published by Bloomsbury) £2,500 
  • Sarah Waters for Tipping the Velvet (Virago) £1,000


  • Kiran Desai for Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard (Faber and Faber) £10,000 
  • Nick Earls for Zigzag Street (Macmillan) £8,000 
  • Phil Whitaker for Eclipse of the Sun (Phoenix House) £5,000 
  • Gail Anderson-Dargatz for The Cure for Death by Lighting (Virago) £1,000 
  • Tobias Hill for Underground (unpublished) £1,000


  • Alex Garland for The Beach (Viking) £12,000 
  • Josie Barnard for Poker Face (Virago) £5,000 
  • Ardashir Vakil for Beach Boy (Hamish Hamilton) £5,000
  • Diran Adebayo for Some Kind of Black (Virago) £1,500
  • Sanjida O’Connell for Theory of Mind (Black Swan) £1,500


  • John Lanchester for The Debt to Pleasure (Macmillan) £8,000 
  • Meera Syal for Anita and Me (Flamingo) £7,000 
  • Rhidian Brook for The Testimony of Taliesin Jones (Flamingo) £5,000 
  • Louis Caron Buss for The Luxury of Exile (Jonathan Cape) £5,000


  • Robert Newman for Dependence Day (Century) £10,000 
  • Mark Behr for The Smell of Apples (Little, Brown) £8,000 
  • Martina Evans for Midnight Feast (unpublished, MS accepted by Heinemann) £3,000 
  • Rohit Manchanda for A Speck of Coaldust (unpublished) £1,000 
  • Juliet Thomas for Hallelujah Jordan (unpublished) £1,000 
  • Philippa Walshe for The Latecomer (unpublished) £1,000 
  • Madeleine Wickham for The Tennis Party (Black Swan) £1,000


  • Colin Bateman for Divorcing Jack (proof, HarperCollins) £12,000 
  • Nadeem Aslam for Season of the Rainbirds (Andre Deutsch) £10,000 
  • Guy Burt for After the Hole (Transworld) £1,000 
  • Frances Liardet for The Game (Macmillan) £1,000 
  • Jonathan Rix for Some Hope (Andre Deutsch) £1,000


  • Mark Blackaby for You’ll Never be Here Again (Gollancz) £10,000 
  • Andrew Cowan for Pig (Michael Joseph) £7,000 
  • Simon Corrigan for Tommy Was Here (Andre Deutsch) £5,000 
  • Joanna Briscoe for Mothers and Other Lovers (Phoenix) £2,000 
  • Olivia Fane for Landing on Clouds (Mandarin) £2,000


  • Liane Jones for The Dream Stone (Heinemann) £10,000 
  • Peter M Rosenburg for Kissing Through a Pane of Glass (Simon & Schuster) £5,000 
  • Tibor Fischer for Under the Frog (Polygon) £3,000 
  • Eugene Mullan for The Last of His Line (unpublished) £3,000 
  • Edward St Aubyn for Never Mind (Heinemann) £3,000


  • Amit Chaudhuri for A Strange and Sublime Address (Heinemann) £10,000 
  • Mark Swallow for Teaching Little Fang (Macmillan) £7,000 
  • Suzannah Dunn for Quite Contrary (Sinclair Stevenson) £2,000 
  • Lesley Glaister for Honour Thy Father (Secker & Warburg) £2,000 
  • Nino Ricci for Lives of the Saints (W H Allen) £2,000 
  • Simon Mason for The Great English Nude (Constable) £2,000


  • Robert McLiam for Wilson Ripley Bogle (Andre Deutsch) £16,000 
  • Elizabeth Chadwick for The Wild Hunt (Michael Joseph) £3,000 
  • Rosemary Cohen for No Strange Land (unpublished) £3,000 
  • Nicholas Shakespeare for The Vision of Elena Silves (Collins Harvill) £3,000


  • Nigel Watts for The Life Game (Hodder & Stoughton) £10,000 
  • William Riviere for Watercolour Sky (Hodder & Stoughton) £5,000 
  • Paul Houghton for Harry’s Last Wedding (unpublished) £2,000 
  • Alasdair McKee for Uncle Henry’s Last Stand (Chatto & Windus) £2,000


  • Alex Martin for The General Interruptor MS (Viking/Penguin) £6,500 
  • Candia McWilliam for A Case of Knives (Bloomsbury) £6,500 
  • Georgina Andrewes for Behind the Waterfall (Pandora Press) £2,000 
  • James Friel for Left of North (Macmillan) £2,000 
  • Glenn Patterson for Burning Your Own (Chatto & Windus) £2,000
  • Susan Webster for Small Tales of a Town (Simon & Schuster) £2,000


  • James Maw for Hard Luck (Quartet Books) £8,000 
  • Peter Benson for The Levels (proof, Constable) £4,500 
  • Helen Flint for Return Journey (proof, Heinemann) £4,500 
  • Catherine Arnold for Lost Time (Hodder & Stoughton) £1,000 
  • H S Bhabra for Gestures (Michael Joseph) £1,000 
  • Lucy Pinney for The Pink Stallion (proof, Hodder & Stoughton) £1,000


  • Tim Parks for Tongues of Flames (Heinemann) £9,000 
  • Patricia Ferguson for Family, Myths and Legends (Deutsch) £4,500 
  • Philippa Blake for Mzungu’s Wife (MS, Bodley Head) £1,000 
  • Matthew Kneale for Whore Banquets accepted (MS, Gollancz) £1,000 
  • J F McLaughlin for The Road to Dilmun (unpublished) £1,000
  • Kate Saunders for The Prodigal Father (proof, Jonathan Cape) £1,000


  • Susan Kay for Legacy (accepted MS Bodley Head) £12,500 
  • Gary Armitage for A Season of Peace (proof, Secker & Warburg) £1,000 
  • Elizabeth Ironside for A Very Private Enterprise (Hodder & Stoughton) £1,000
  • Alice Mitchell for Instead of Eden (MS, W H Allen) £1,000 
  • Caroline Stickland for The Standing Hills (MS, Gollancz) £1,000 
  • George Schweiz for The Earth Abides For Ever (unpublished) £1,000


  • Ronald Frame for Winter Journey (accepted MS Bodley Head) £6,750 
  • Clare Nonhebel for Cold Showers (MS, Century Hutchinson) £6,750 
  • James Buchan for A Parish of Rich Women (accepted MS Hamish Hamilton) £1,000 
  • Helen Harris for Playing Fields in Winter (MS, Century Hutchinson) £1,000
  • Gareth Jones for The Disinherited (Gollancz) £1,000 
  • Simon Rees for The Devil’s Looking Glass (MS, Methuen) £1,000

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