McKitterick Prize

Joanne Harris (left) and Lemn Sissay (right) with 2022 McKitterick Prize winner David Annand at Southwark Cathedral (photograph © Adrian Pope)
Joanne Harris (left) and Lemn Sissay (right) with 2022 McKitterick Prize winner David Annand at Southwark Cathedral (photograph © Adrian Pope)
For a first novel by an author over 40

Tom McKitterick, the former editor of Political Quarterly and author of an unpublished novel, endowed the McKitterick Prize which was first awarded in 1990. It is also generously supported by Hawthornden Literary Retreat. It is given annually to an author over the age of 40 for a first novel, published or unpublished.

 The prize money is £4,000 for the winner and £2,000 for the runner-up, with each shortlisted author receiving £1,000 (up to four authors). 

The 2024 McKitterick Prize will close for submissions on 31 October 2023.

The prize money is £4,000 for the winner and £2,000 for the runner-up, with each shortlisted author receiving £1,000 (up to four authors).


Criteria for entry

1. The author must be living and over the age of 40 on the 31 October 2023.
2. The author must not have had any other novel published (excluding works for children).
3. The novel must be a full length work in the English language by one author (not a translation, and not a work for children).
4. The work must be a work of 'fiction or imagination or substantially of fiction or imagination'.
5. The work must either have been first published in the UK between 1 November 2022 and 31 October 2023 (and not first published abroad), or be unpublished.
6. If unpublished, the work must not have been previously submitted for the McKitterick Prize.
7. All submissions must have been written by the author and cannot contain the use of AI generated works.

Conditions of entry

Present employees (or anyone currently connected with the administration of the Society of Authors’ grants and prizes) or members of the SoA Management Committee may not apply for any of the grants and prizes administered by the Society of Authors.

Judges may call in books if they so wish. The decision of the judges (both as to eligibility and the winning entry) shall be final and they reserve the right not to award the McKitterick Prize if, in their opinion, no works entered reach a sufficiently high standard. The publishers of winning books will assist The Society of Authors in the publicity and promotion of the McKitterick Prize.

The prize will be awarded at the annual Society of Authors' Awards ceremony in 2024. For any queries, please email [email protected].

How to enter

For published and self-published entries: Once the following form is completed please send FIVE copies (non-returnable) of the published book or publisher's proof (bound or unbound) to:

The McKitterick Prize,
Prizes department,
The Society of Authors,
24 Bedford Row,

Please note that couriers should use the entrance on Theobalds Road.

Please also upload a digital version of the book when prompted below.  If the file you are using is too large for the form, please complete the rest of the entry form and then send the file via email or WeTransfer to [email protected].

It is a condition of entry that publishers will put “Winner of the McKitterick Prize 2024” or “Shortlisted for the McKitterick Prize 2024”, on the cover of subsequent editions of winning/shortlisted books. We have designed roundels with this information on them if you’d like to use those.

For unpublished entries: Upload to this form one copy of the manuscript formatted in line with the following style guide. Only one manuscript may be submitted per applicant.
- A4 paper size
- 12 point font size
- Title of manuscript should appear on the first page, along with the author’s name.
- Please use page numbers
- Maximum of 30 pages (including any title or contents pages used). Longlisted authors will be asked to provide the full manuscript for the judges consideration.
- Submitted in .doc/.docx/.pdf format
- File name should include the book title

Must be a debut fiction novel and written in English (translated works, children’s novels and other genres such as poetry, non-fiction, or short story collections not included)
For published/self-published authors: the book must have published between 1 November 2022 and 31 October 2023
Entrants must be over the age of 40 on 31 October 2023
Please write a short bio. This may typically include recent publications, the name, date, and details of previous prizes won, education, training, and career background, and pronouns.
For unpublished works only

Entry Submission:

For published work, please upload a digital PDF version of the book.

For unpublished work, please upload one copy of your manuscript formatted in line with the following style guide:
- A4 paper size
- Typed in standard font (e.g. Times New Roman/Arial/Calibri/Helvetica)
- Title of manuscript should appear on the first page only, along with the author’s name.
- Page numbers must be used.
- Maximum of 30 pages (including any title or contents pages used). You may be asked to provide your full manuscript for the judges consideration.
- Submitted in .doc/.docx/.pdf format
- File name should include book title

Click or drag a file to this area to upload.
Please upload a digital PDF version of the book. If the file is too large for the form please email it to [email protected] quoting the prize name and book title in the subject line.
I agree to abide by the conditions of entry. I confirm that the author and novel meet the criteria for entry as detailed above.
By ticking the below you are confirming that you have permission to share all the above information with the Society of Authors. We may invite you to take part in PR activities surrounding the prize but you are under no obligation to do so and we will always contact you to ask your permission before giving your contact details to our media partners. To read our full privacy policy please visit our website:

The 2023 McKitterick Prize Winner

Louise Kennedy for Trespasses published by Bloomsbury Publishing

‘An intelligent, delicately told tale of love under military rule where allegiances and vulnerabilities shift from one scene to the next, as a mis-matched couple lunge towards each other with desire. Told against a backdrop of ruined dreams, alcoholism and discoloured food, Trespasses is a unique account of a period British and Irish history of systematic oppression, challenged loyalties, criminality, alienation and bloodshed.’ —Selma Dabbagh, 2023 McKitterick Prize judge

The 2023 McKitterick Prize Runner-Up:

Liz Hyder for The Gifts published by Manilla Press, Bonnier Books UK

The 2023 McKitterick Prize Shortlist:

Aamina Ahmad for The Return of Faraz Ali published by Sceptre, Hodder & Stoughton

Ayanna Lloyd Banwo for When We Were Birds published by Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House UK

Joanna Quinn for The Whalebone Theatre published by Fig Tree, Penguin Random House UK

Taymour Soomro for Other Names for Love published by Harvill Secker, Penguin Random House UK

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.

With thanks, the judges of the 2023 McKitterick Prize:

© Susan Baker-Smith 

Selma Dabbagh

Selma Debbagh is a British Palestinian writer of fiction. Born in Scotland, she has lived in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, France, Egypt and the West Bank. Her work includes the novel, ‘Out of It,’ (Bloomsbury, 2011) which was awarded the Premio Opera Prize in Spoleto 2019. Her radio play ‘The Brick,’ BBC Radio 4 was nominated for the Imison Award and she and has won various short story awards. Her non-fiction has appeared in the Guardian, GQ and other publications. She is the editor of ‘We Wrote In Symbols; Love and Lust by Arab Women Writers,’ (Saqi, 2021).

Rebecca Foster

© Chris Foster

Rebecca Foster is a freelance proofreader and literary critic. From Maryland, USA, she has now lived in England for over 15 years. Her first degree was in English and Religion; she also has an MA in Victorian Literature from the University of Leeds. An associate editor for Bookmarks magazine, she reviews books for multiple print and online publications on both sides of the pond, including BookBrowse, Foreword Reviews, Shelf Awareness, the Times Literary Supplement and Wasafiri, as well as on her blog, Bookish Beck. She volunteers in her local library and is an avid follower of literary prizes

Gonzalo C. Garcia

Gonzalo C. Garcia is a Chilean writer and Assistant Professor in Creative Writing at the Warwick Writing Programme. His first novel, We Are The End, launched in October 2017 with Galley Beggar Press and was nominated for the Edinburgh Festival First Novel Award 2017. He was also shortlisted for the 2021 Bristol Short Story Prize. He is currently working on his second book and teaching creative writing.

Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott

Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott is a Texas-born author and screenwriter living in London and Los Angeles.  Her debut novel Swan Song was published by Penguin Random House/ Hutchinson in 2018.  She holds a BFA (Directing) from Carnegie Mellon University, studied screenwriting at USC and has been honoured by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as a finalist for the Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting.  A graduate of UEA’s Creative Writing MA, she was the recipient of the Bridport Prize for a first novel.  Swan Song was named a Book of the Year by The Times, was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, shortlisted for the Goldsboro Glass Bell Award and was the winner of the 2019 McKitterick Prize.

Anietie Isong

Anietie Isong’s novel, Radio Sunrise, won the 2018 McKitterick Prize. His collection of short stories, Someone Like Me, won the first Headlight Review Chapbook Prize for Prose Fiction in 2020. He received the Authors’ Foundation grant for his new novel, News at Noon, which will be published in 2022 by Jacaranda Books. Isong has been featured at the Birmingham Literature Festival, Marlborough Literature Festival, Henley Literary Festival, among other literary festivals. He holds a PhD in New Media and Writing.” 

Nick Rennison

© David Lawrence

Nick Rennison is a writer, editor and bookseller with a particular interest in modern history and crime fiction. He is the editor of six anthologies of short stories and has written books on a wide variety of subjects from Freud and psychoanalysis to the history of Bohemian London. His two novels, Carver’s Quest and Carver’s Truth, are both set in nineteenth-century London. He is a regular reviewer for the Sunday Times, for which he has written a monthly column on historical fiction for more than a decade. He has in the past been a judge for the Historical Writers’ Association Gold Crown for historical fiction and for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award


  • Louise Kennedy for Trespasses (Bloomsbury Publishing)
  • Runner up: Liz Hyder for The Gifts (Manilla Press, Bonnier Books UK)


  • David Annand for Peterdown (Little, Brown Book Group)
  • Runner up: Lisa Taddeo for Animal (Bloomsbury)


  • Elaine Feeney for As You Were (Harvill Secker, Vintage) £4,000
  • Runner-up: Deepa Anappara for Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line (Chatto & Windus, Vintage) £1,250


  • Claire Adam for Golden Child (Faber and Faber) £4,000
  • Runner-up: Taffy Brodesser-Akner for Fleishman is in Trouble  (Wildfire, Headline) £1,250


  • Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott for Swan Song (Hutchinson) £4,000
  • Runner-up: Carys Davies for West (Granta Books) £1,250


  • Anietie Isongfor Radio Sunrise (Jacaranda) £4,000
  • Runner-up: Frances Maynard for The Seven Rules of Elvira Carr (Mantle) £1,250


  • David Dyer for The Midnight Watch (Atlantic Books) £4,000
  • Runner-up: Austin Duffy for This Living & immortal Thing (Granta) £1,000


  • Petina Gappah for The Book of Memory (Faber) £4,000
  • Runner-up: Nick Coleman for Pillow Man (Cape) £1,000


  • Robert Allison for The Letter Bearer (Granta) £4,000
  • Runner-up: Paul Ewen for Francis Pug: How To Be A Public Author (Galley Beggar Press) £1,000


  • Gabriel Weston for Dirty Work (Cape) £4,000                                             
  • Runner-up: Gabriel Gbadamosi for Vauxhall (Telegram Books) £1,000


  • Alison Moore for The Lighthouse (Salt) £4,000                                           
  • Runner-up: Caroline Brothers for Hinterland (Bloomsbury)


  • Ginny Baily for Africa Junction (Harvill Secker / Vintage) £4,000
  • Runner-up: Cressida Connolly for My Former Heart (Fourth Estate)


  • Emma Henderson for Grace Williams Says It Loud (Sceptre) £4,000
  • Runner-up: Frances Kay for Micka (Picador)


  • Raphael Selbourne for Beauty (Tindal Street Press) £4,000


  • Chris Hannan for Missy (Chatto) £4,000


  • Jennie Walker for 24 for 3 (Bloomsbury) £4,000


  • Reina James for This Time of Dying (Portobello) £4,000


  • Peter Pouncey for Rules for Old Men Waiting (Chatto & Windus) £4,000


  • Lloyd Jones for Mr Vogel (Seren) £4,000


  • Mark Haddonfor The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (Jonathan Cape) £4,000


  • Mary Lawson Crow for Lake (Chatto & Windus) £4,000


  • Manil Suri for The Death of Vishnu (Bloomsbury Publishing) £4,000


  • Giles Waterfieldfor The Long Afternoon (Headline Review) £4,000


  • Chris Dolan for Ascension Day (Headline Review) £4,000


  • Magnus Mills for The Restraint of Beasts (Flamingo) £4,000


  • Eli Gottlieb for The Boy Who Went Away (Jonathan Cape) £4,000


  • Patricia Duncker for Hallucinating Foucault (Serpent’s Tail) £4,000


  • Stephen Blanchard for Gagarin and I (Vintage) £5,000


  • Christopher for Bigsby Hester (Weidenfeld) £5,000


  • Helen Dunmore for Zennor in Darkness (Viking) £5,000


  • Andrew Barrow for The Tap Dancer (Duckworth) £5,000


  • Alberto Manguel for News from a Foreign Country Came (Harper Collins) £5,000


  • John Loveday for Halo (Harcourt Brace) £5,000


  • Simon Mawer for Chimera (Hamish Hamilton) £5,000

Tom McKitterick

Thomas Edward Maurice McKitterick, also known as T.E.M McKitterick lived in Dartford, Kent and died on the 11 November 1986. He worked as a wartime censor with the French army in the middle East, which later inspired the unpublished novel he wrote at age 65. The novel was also set during war and took place across Lebanon, Algiers and Bordeaux. McKitterick was the joint editor of the magazine Political Quarterly from 1957–1966 and a regular contributor to radio programmes on topics of world service. Along, with Leonard Woolf (under the pen name Kenneth Younger) he was a contributing editor for Fabian International Essays, which was published by Hogarth Press in 1957.

Having written an unpublished novel himself later on in life, Tom McKitterick was keen to celebrate and uphold unpublished and first time authors. He became a member of the Society of Authors on 9 January 1981 and after his death, he left a trust to set up the McKitterick Prize, which was awarded for the first time in 1990.

Hawthornden Foundation

Hawthornden Foundation is a private charitable foundation supporting contemporary writers and the literary arts. Established by Drue Heinz, the noted philanthropist and patron of the arts, the Foundation is named after Hawthornden Castle in Midlothian, Scotland, where an international residential fellowship program provides month-long retreats for creative writers from all disciplines to work in peaceful surroundings. In addition, the Foundation sponsors the annual Hawthornden Prize, one of Britain’s oldest and foremost literary awards, and provides grant support to other literary programs.

Charity number 327891