Somerset Maugham Awards

Enabling young writers to enrich their work through experience of foreign countries

W. Somerset Maugham set up a fund in 1947 to enable young writers to enrich their work by gaining experience of foreign countries. The awards are given for a published work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry.

2021 Winners


  • Akeem Baklogun for The Storm (Okapi Books)
  • Graeme Armstrong for The Young Team (Pan Macmillan, Picador)
  • Isabelle Baafi for Ripe (Ignition Press)
  • Lamorna Ash for Dark, Salt, Clear (Bloomsbury Publishing)


The Somerset Maugham Awards are currently closed for entries. They will reopen for the 2022 round in August 2021.

  • Applicants must be a British national, or ordinarily resident in the UK.
  • Applicants must be under the age of 30 on 30 November 2021.
  • Submissions must have been first published in the UK in 2021.
  • Submissions may be poetry, fiction, criticism, biography, history, philosophy, belles-lettres or a travel book. Dramatic works are not eligible.
  • The prize money must be used for foreign travel .

For any queries relating to the prize please contact prizes@societyofauthors.org

2021

Lamorna Ash for Dark, Salt, Clear (Bloomsbury Publishing) £4,000
Isabelle Baafi for Ripe (Ignition Press) £4,000
Akeem Balogun for The Storm (Okapi Books) £4,000
Graeme Armstrong for The Young Team (Pan Macmillan, Picador) £4,000

2020

Alex Allison for The Art of the Body (Dialogue Books/Little, Brown) £4,000
Oliver Soden for Michael Tippet: The Biography (Weidenfeld and Nicholson/Orion) £4,000
Roseanne Watt for Moder Dy (Birlinn/Polygon) £4,000
Amrou Al-Kadhi for My Life as a Unicorn (4th Estate) £4,000

2019

Raymond Antrobus for The Perseverance (Penned in the Margins) £4,000
Damian Le Bas for The Stopping Places (Chatto & Windus) £4,000
Phoebe Power for Shrines of Upper Austria (Carcanet) £4,000
Nell Stevens for Mrs Gaskell and Me (Picador) £4,000

2018

Kayo Chingonyi for Kumukanda (Chatto Poetry) £5,250
Fiona Mozley for Elmet (JM Originals) £5,250
Miriam Nash for All the Prayers in the House (Bloodaxe) £5,250

2017

Edmund Gordon for The Invention of Angela Carter (Vintage) £5,000
Melissa Lee-Houghton for Sunshine (Penned in the Margins) £5,000
Martin MacInnes for Infinite Ground (Atlantic Books) £5,000

2016

Jessie Greengrass for An Account Of The Decline Of The Great Auk, According To One Who Saw It (JM Originals) £2,500
Daisy Hay for Mr & Mrs Disraeli: A Strange Romance (Chatto & Windus) £2,500
Andrew McMillan for Physical (Cape Poetry) £2,500
Thomas Morris for We Don’t Know What We’re Doing (Faber) £2,500
Jack Underwood for Happiness (Faber) £2,500

2015

Jonathan Beckman for How to Ruin a Queen: Marie Antoinette, the Stolen Diamonds and the Scandal that Shook the French Throne (John Murray) £2,500
Liz Berry for Black Country (Chatto & Windus) £2,500
Ben Brooks for Lolito (Canongate) £2,500
Zoe Pilger for Eat My Heart Out (Serpent’s Tail) £2,500

2014

Nadifa Mohamed for The Orchard of Lost Souls (Simon & Schuster) £4,000
Daisy Hildyard for Hunters in the Snow Glass Delusion (Cape) £4,000
Amy Sackville for Orkney (Granta) £2,000

2013

Ned Beauman for The Teleportation Accident (Sceptre) £2,500
Abi Curtis for The Glass Delusion (Salt) £2,500
Joe Stretch for The Adult (Cape) £2,500
Lucy Wood for Diving Belles (Bloomsbury) £2,500

2012 No award given.

2011

Miriam Gamble for The Squirrels Are Dead (Bloodaxe) £3,500
Alexandra Harris for Romantic Moderns (Thames and Hudson) £3,500
Adam O’Riordan for In the Flesh (Chatto Poetry) £3,500

2010

Jacob Polley for Talk of the Town (Picador) £5,000
Helen Oyeyemi for White is for Witching (Picador) £3,000
Ben Wilson for What Price Liberty? (Faber) £2,000

2009

Winner: Adam Foulds for The Broken Word (Cape) £3,000
Awards:
Alice Albinia for Empires of the Indus: The Story of a River (John Murray)
Rodge Glass for Alasdair Gray: A Secretary’s Biography (Bloomsbury)
Henry Hitchings for The Secret Life of Words: How English Became English (John Murray)
Thomas Leveritt for The Exchange Rate Between Love and Money (Harvill Secker)
Helen Walsh for Once Upon a Time in England (Canongate)

2008

Gwendoline Riley for Joshua Spassky (Cape)
Steven Hall for The Raw Shark Texts (Canongate)
Nick Laird for On Purpose (Faber)
Adam Thirlwell for Miss Herbert (Cape)

2007

Horatio Clare for Running to the Hills (John Murray
James Scudamore for The Amnesia Clinic (Harvill Secker)

2006

Chris Cleave for Incendiary (Chatto & Windus)
Owen Sheers for Skirrid Hill (Seren)
Zadie Smith for On Beauty (Hamish Hamilton)

2005

Justin Hill for Passing Under Heaven (Abacus)
Maggie O’Farrell for The Distance Between Us (Review)

2004

Charlotte Mendelson for Daughters of Jerusalem (Picador)
Mark Blayney for Two Kinds of Silence (Manuscript Publishing)
Robert Macfarlane for Mountains of the Mind (Granta)

2003

Hari Kunzru for The Impressionist (Hamish Hamilton)
William Fiennes for The Snow Geese (Picador)
Jon McGregor for If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things (Bloomsbury)

2002

Charlotte Hobson for Black Earth City (Granta)
Marcel Theroux for The Paperchase (Abacus)

2001

Edward Platt for Leadville (Picador Macmillan)
Ben Rice for Pobby and Dingan (Jonathan Cape)

2000

Bella Bathurst for The Lighthouse Stevensons (HarperCollins)
Sarah Waters for Affinity (Virago)

1999

Andrea Ashworth for Once In a House On Fire (Picador Macmillan)
Paul Farley for The Boy from the Chemist Is Here To See You (Picador Macmillan)
Giles Foden for The Last King of Scotland (Faber & Faber)
Jonathan Freedland for Bring Home the Revolution (Fourth Estate)

1998

Rachel Cusk for The Country Life (Picador Macmillan)
Jonathan Rendall for This Bloody Mary is the Last Thing I Own (Faber and Faber)
Kate Summerscale for The Queen of Whale Cay (Fourth Estate)
Robert Twigger for Angry White Pyjamas (Indigo)

1997

Rhidian Brook for The Testimony of Taliesin Jones (Flamingo)
Kate Clanchy for Slattern (Chatto & Windus)
Philip Hensher for Kitchen Venom (Hamish Hamilton)
Francis Spufford for I May Be Some Time (Faber and Faber)

1996

Katherine Pierpoint for Truffle Beds (Faber and Faber)
Alan Warner for Morvern Callar (Vintage)

1995

Patrick French for Younghusband (Harper Collins)
Simon Garfield for The End of Innocence (Faber and Faber)
Kathleen Jamie for The Queen of Sheba (Bloodaxe Books)
Laura Thompson for The Dogs (Chatto & Windus)

1994

Jackie Kay for Other Lovers (Bloodaxe Books)
A.L. Kennedy for Looking for the Possible Dance (Secker & Warburg)
Philip Marsden for Crossing Place (Harper Collins)

1993

Dea Birkett for Jella (Gollancz)
Duncan McLean for Bucket of Tongues (Secker & Warburg)
Glyn Maxwell for Out of the Rain (Bloodaxe Books)

1992

Geoff Dyer for But Beautiful (Jonathan Cape)
Lawrence Norfolk for Lempriere’s Dictionary (S. Stevenson)
Gerard Woodward for Householder (Chatto & Windus)

1991

Peter Benson for The Other Occupant (Macmillan)
Lesley Glaister for Honour Thy Father (Secker & Warburg)
Helen Simpson for Four Bare Legs in a Bed (Heinemann)

1990

Mark Hudson for Our Grandmother’s Drums (Secker & Warburg)
Sam North for The Automatic Man (Secker & Warburg)
Nicholas Shakespeare for The Vision of Elena Silves (Collins Harvill)

1989

Rupert Christiansen for Romantic Affinities (Bodley Head)
Alan Hollingshurst for The Swimming Pool Library (Chatto & Windus)
Deirdre Madden for The Birds of the Innocent Wood (Faber and Faber)

1988

Jimmy Burns for The Land That Lost Its Heroes (Bloomsbury)
Carol Ann Duffy for Selling Manhattan (Anvil)
Matthew Kneale for Whore Banquets (Gollancz Heinemann)

1987

Stephen Gregory for The Cormorant (Heinemann)
Janni Howker for Isaac Campion (Julia MacRae)
Andrew Motion for The Lamberts (Chatto & Windus)

1986

Patricia Ferguson for Family Myths and Legends (Andre Deutsch)
Adam Nicolson for Frontiers (Wiedenfeld & Nicolson)
Tim Parks for Tongues of Flame (Heinemann)

1985

Blake Morrison for Dark Glasses (Chatto & Windus)
Jeremy Reed for By the Fisheries (Jonathan Cape)
Jane Rogers for Her Living Image (Faber and Faber)

1984

Peter Ackroyd for The Last Testament of Oscar Wilde (Hamish Hamilton)
Timothy Garton Ash for The Polish Revolution: Solidarity (Jonathan Cape)
Sean O’Brien for The Indoor Park (Bloodaxe Books)

1983 Lisa St Aubin de Teran for Keepers of the House (Jonathan Cape)

1982

William Boyd for A Good Man in Africa (Hamish Hamilton)
Adam Mars-Jones for Lantern Lecture (Faber & Faber)

1981

Julian Barnes for Metroland (Jonathan Cape)
Clive Sinclair for Hearts of Gold (Allison & Busby)
A.N. Wilson for The Healing Art (Secker & Warburg)

1980

Max Hastings for Bomber Command (Michael Joseph)
Christopher Reid for Arcadia (OUP)
Humphrey Carpenter for The Inklings (Allen & Unwin)

1979

Helen Hodgman for Jack & Jill (Duckworth)
Sara Maitland for Daughter of Jerusalem (Blond & Briggs)

1978

Tom Paulin for A State of Justice (Faber & Faber)
Nigel Williams for My Life Closed Twice (Secker & Warburg

1977 Richard Holmes for Shelley: The Pursuit (Quartet Books)

1976

Dominic Cooper for The Dead of Winter (Chatto & Windus)
Ian McEwan for First Love, Last Rites (Jonathan Cape)

1975 No Award

1974

Martin Amis for The Rachel Papers (Jonathan Cape)

1973

Peter Prince for Play Things (Gollancz)
Paul Strathern for A Season in Abyssinia (Macmillan)
Jonathan Street for Prudence Dictates (Hart-Davis)

1972

Douglas Dunn for Terry Street (Faber and Faber)
Gillian Tindall for Fly Away Home (Hodder & Stoughton)

1971

Susan Hill for I’m the King of the Castle (Hamish Hamilton)
Richard Barber for The Knight and Chivalry (Longman)
Michael Hastings for Tussy Is Me (Weidenfeld)

1970

Jane Gaskell for A Sweet, Sweet Summer (Hodder & Stoughton)
Piers Paul Read for Monk Dawson (Secker & Warburg)

1969 Angela Carter for Several Perceptions (Heinemann)

1968

Paul Bailey for At The Jerusalem (Jonathan Cape)
Seamus Heaney for Death of a Naturalist (Faber and Faber)

1967

B.S. Johnson for Trawl (Secker & Warburg)
Andrew Sinclair for The Better Half (Jonathan Cape)

1966

Michael Frayn for The Tin Men (Collins)
Julian Mitchell for The White Father (Constable)

1965 Peter Everett for Negatives (Jonathan Cape)

1964

Dan Jacobson for Time of Arrival (Weidenfeld)
John Le Carré The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (Gollancz)

1963

David Storey for Flight Into Camden (Longman)

1962

Hugh Thomas for The Spanish Civil War (Eyre & Spottiswood)

1961

V.S. Naipaul for Miguel Street (Deutsch)

1960

Ted Hughes for The Hawk in the Rain (Faber and Faber)

1959

Thom Gunn for A Sense of Movement (Faber and Faber)

1958

John Wain Preliminary for Essays (Macmillan)

1957

George Lamming for In the Castle of my Skin (Michael Joseph)

1956

Elizabeth Jennings for A Way of Looking (Deutsch)

1955

Kingsley Amis for Lucky Jim (Gollancz)

1954

Doris Lessing for Five Short Novels (Michael Joseph)

1953

Emyr Humphreys for Hear and Forgive (Gollancz)

1952

Francis King for The Dividing Stream (Longmans)

1951

Roland Camberton for Scamp (John Lehmann)

1950

Nigel Kneale for Tomato Cain & Other Stories (Collins)

1949

Hamish Henderson for Elegies for the Dead in Cyrenaica (John Lehmann)

1948

P.H. Newby for Journey to the Interior (Jonathan Cape)

1947

A.L. Barker for Innocents (Hogarth Press)

Charity number 212402