Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award shadow panel

I’m delighted to announce that I’ve been invited to be on the official shadow panel for the Sunday Times / Peters Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award, in association with The University of Warwick (to give it its full and proper title). Here’s a bit of background on the prize, from its website:

The prize “is awarded annually to the best work of published or self-published fiction, non-fiction or poetry by a British or Irish author aged between 18 and 35, and has gained attention and acclaim across the publishing industry and press. £5,000 is given to the overall winner and £500 to each of the three runners-up.

“Since it began in 1991, the award has had a striking impact, boasting a stellar list of alumni that have gone on to become leading lights of contemporary literature.  The 2016 Award was presented to Max Porter for his extraordinary debut, Grief Is the Thing with Feathers. Following a five-year break, the prestigious award returned with a bang in 2015, awarding debut poet Sarah Howe the top prize for her phenomenal first collection, Loop of Jade.

Past winners include Ross Raisin, Adam Foulds, Naomi Alderman, Robert Macfarlane, William Fiennes, Zadie Smith, Sarah Waters, Francis Spufford, Simon Armitage and Helen Simpson.

This year’s official judging panel is made up of Andrew Holgate, literary editor of the Sunday Times, and writers Lucy Hughes-Hallett and Elif Shafak.

I’m joined on the shadow panel by four other book bloggers, several of whom you will recognize as long-time friends of this blog:


Here are some key upcoming dates:

  • Sunday October 29th: shortlist announced in Sunday Times
  • November 18th: book bloggers event with readings from the shortlisted authors (Groucho Club, London)
  • November 27th: deadline for shadow panel winner decision
  • November 29th: shadow panel winner announced on STPFD website
  • December 3rd: shadow panel winner announced in Sunday Times
  • December 7th: prize-giving ceremony and winner announcement (London Library)


I’m so looking forward to getting stuck into the shortlisted books and discussing them! I’ll be posting a review of each one in November.

21 responses

  1. This sounds so exciting!


    1. Definitely! Thanks for being excited with me 🙂 It’s one of my dreams to judge a literary prize one day, so I’m making my way there step by step: earlier in the year I formed an unofficial shadow panel for the Wellcome Prize shortlist, which was moderately successful; now I’m on an official shadow panel…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations! Looking forward to reading your reviews.


    1. Thank you! The shortlist is embargoed until Sunday, but I can say that it’s a very interesting set of books. It’s going to be a fun challenge.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Annabel (gaskella) | Reply

    So looking forward to discussing these books with you!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. CONGRATULATIONS!! This is wonderful news!

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  5. Very exciting! Looking forward to getting started ☺

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m anxious for my books to arrive. They weren’t in today’s post…


      1. I haven’t got mine yet either but given that I was only asked to be on the panel last weekend, I figured it might take a bit longer to get them out to me… hopefully they’ll arrive before the weekend!


  6. Congratulations, Rebecca – you’ll do a wonderful job.

    I’ve never heard of this prize so I’m excited to see the short list and find out about them through your eyes!


    1. Thanks, Debbie! There are various prizes out there for under-35 authors; this is not a particularly high-ticket one, but the Sunday Times association does give it a good profile. I’ll be having my in-laws (Times subscribers) save any print coverage for me.


  7. fantastic, congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Fabulous, well done! This will look great on your CV!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This sounds like a good one! Have fun with it! ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Heartiest congratulations. Wonderful news. And what fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Working my way back through a load of posts today so this is so exciting and I follow three of the shadow panel so now I feel very clever and up to date!


  12. […] on the shadow panel for the Sunday Times/PFD Young Writer of the Year Award was a highlight of 2017 for me. I was sad […]


  13. […] on the shadow panel for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award was a bookish highlight of 2017 for me. I’m […]


  14. […] on the shadow panel for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award was a highlight of 2017 for me. I look forward […]


  15. […] on the shadow panel for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award was a bookish highlight of 2017 for me. I’m […]


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