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Grants and Prizes

The Betty Trask Prize and Awards

Betty Trask left a bequest to the Society of Authors in 1983 to fund a prize for first novels written by authors under the age of 35 in a romantic or traditional, but not experimental, style. The prize money totalling £25,000 must be used for foreign travel.

The 2009 Betty Trask Prize winner

Samantha Harvey for The Wilderness (Cape) – £12,000.

Samantha Harvey was born in Kent and has lived in Ireland, New Zealand and Japan – writing, travelling and teaching. She has an MA in Philosophy and completed with distinction the Bath Spa Creative Writing MA course in 2005, where she was shortlisted for the PFD prize. She now lives in Bath and recently co-founded an environmental charity.

The 2009 Betty Trask Award winner

Eleanor Catton for The Rehearsal (Granta) – £8,000.

Eleanor Catton was born in London, Ontario in Canada but grew up in Christchurch, New Zealand. She has had short stories published in Best New Zealand Fiction Vol. 5 (2008), the new Penguin Book of Contemporary New Zealand Short Stories and forthcoming in The Sovereignty of Words. She is working on a second literary novel and a quartet of fantasy novels for young adults. She received the Adam Award in Creative Writing in 2007 for The Rehearsal and won the Sunday Star-Times Short Story Competition in New Zealand. She is currently on a Fellowship at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.



Judges: Terence Blacker, Rachel Cusk, Joanna Kavenna.



Past winners

The 2010 Betty Trask Prize and Awards

The NEW submissions deadline for the 2010 prize is 30th November 2009. You can download an application form here.

Criteria for entry

  • The author must be a British or Commonwealth citizen
  • The author must be under the age of 35 at 31st December 2009
  • The author must not have had any novel published (other than the one submitted)
  • The work submitted must be in the English language and the work of one author (not a translation)
  • The work submitted must be a novel of “a romantic or traditional nature” (i.e. not experimental)
  • The work submitted may be published or unpublished
  • If published, the work must have been published in the UK in 2009 or be due for publication in 2010 (and not previously have won a Betty Trask Prize or Award)
  • If unpublished, the work must not have been previously submitted for the Betty Trask Prize

How to enter

Published novels: publishers should complete an entry form and return it with five copies of the published book, publisher’s proof (bound or unbound) or manuscript (non-returnable).

Unpublished novels: the author should complete an entry form and return it with one copy of the manuscript (non-returnable).

Download an application form here.

All completed entry forms should be returned to: Paula Johnson, Awards Secretary, The Society of Authors, 84 Drayton Gardens, London SW10 9SB.

Conditions of entry

There will be five judges whose books may not be entered for the awards. They may call in books if they so wish. The decision of the judges (both as to eligibility and the winning entries) shall be final and they reserve the right not to award the Betty Trask 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 Betty Trask Prize and Awards.