Grants and Prizes

The 2009 Somerset Maugham Awards

W. Somerset Maugham set up a fund in 1947 to enable young writers to enrich their work by gaining experience of foreign countries. £12,000 are awarded each year to British authors under the age of 35 for a published work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry. The prize money must be used for foreign travel.

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) and Helen Walsh for Once Upon a Time in England (Canongate) – £1,000 each.

Born in London, Adam Foulds holds an MA in Creative Writing from UEA. His first novel, The Truth About These Strange Times, won a Betty Trask Award in 2007 and also The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award in 2008. His second novel, The Quickening Maze (Cape), was published earlier this year. The Broken Word won the Costa Poetry Prize and the Jerwood Aldeburgh Prize in 2008, and was shortlisted for both the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award in 2009. 

Alice Albinia was born in London and studied English Literature at Cambridge and South Asian history at SOAS. She worked for two and a half years in Delhi as a journalist and editor. Empires of the Indus was awarded an RSL Jerwood Award in 2005.

Rodge Glass was born in Cheshire but has lived in Scotland since 1997. He is the author of two novels, No Fireworks (2005) and Hope for Newborns (2008). He spent three years as a personal assistant to Alasdair Gray before writing his first work of non-fiction, Alasdair Gray: A Secretary’s Biography.

Henry Hitchings, theatre critic of the London Evening Standard, is the author of Dr Johnson’s Dictionary, which won the Modern Language Association’s prize for the best book by an independent scholar in 2005. The Secret Life of Words was awarded the 2008 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and was also shortlisted for the 2009 Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award.

Thomas Leveritt, half American, half English, half painter and half writer, was a soldier before he turned to writing and painting, and holds awards from the National Portrait Gallery and the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. The Exchange Rate Between Love and Money, his first novel, also received a Betty Trask Award in 2008. He lives in London.

Helen Walsh was born in Warrington and now lives in the Wirral. Her first novel, Brass, received a Betty Trask Award in 2005, was also shortlisted for the Portico Prize and is being translated for the screen by writer/director Andrea Arnold. She is adapting her second novel, Once Upon A Time in England, for the screen, whilst working on her next novel.

Judges: M.J. Hyland, Rory Stewart, Matt Thorne.

The 2010 Somerset Maugham Awards

Criteria for entry

  • The author must be a British subject by birth but not a national of “Eire or any of the British Dominions”
  • The author must be ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
  • The author must be under the age of 35 at 31st December 2009
  • The work submitted must be a full-length book and have been first published in Britain in 2009
  • The work submitted may be poetry, fiction, criticism, biography, history, philosophy, belles-lettres or a travel book. Dramatic works are not eligible

How to enter

Entry is by publisher. Entry forms are available to download here. The NEW submissions deadline for the 2010 prize is 30th November 2009.

For each entry, complete the entry form and return it with four copies of the book (non-returnable) to:

The Awards Secretary, The Society of Authors, 84 Drayton Gardens, London SW10 9SB.

Conditions of entry

There will be three judges who 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 Somerset Maugham Awards 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 Somerset Maugham Awards.