The Bath Novel Awards
PO Box 5223, Bath BA1 0UR, UK
The Bath Novel Awards were founded in 2013 by Caroline Ambrose, a Bath-based book columnist, public libraries campaigner, & literary events chair. Caroline organises both the Bath Novel Award and the Bath Children’s Novel Award, working closely with writers, readers, Junior Judges and literary agents judges.
The Bath Novel Awards longlist prizes are co-sponsored by Cornerstones Literary Consultancy and Professional Writing Academy.
The Bath Novel Awards papercut was created by Jessica Palmer whose clients include Disney Pixmar and English Heritage. Jessica was commissioned to design a collage which encapsulated the Bath Novel Awards and created a collage inspired by Bath Roman Baths’ Minerva sculpture and incorporating pages from vintage novels.
“When I submitted to the Bath Novel Award, I was simply checking the last box off my list. I was never going to look at this manuscript again. And then, this happened. Within a week, agents began to reach out to me.” Abhishek Prasad, Bath Novel Award 2021 winner for Ghost Time.
“I knew that BNA has an amazing track record for seeing listed writers go on to find agents, but somehow I hadn’t let myself believe that I would be one of them. There’s something truly special about BNA because of the way it’s judged. This win has let me know what industry professionals AND my core audience think about the book, and that is gold dust.” Ruth Moore, Bath Children’s Novel Award winner 2020 for The Enemy Inside
“I put the result into several competitions this year, and there was no question the Bath Novel Award had to be one of them. Looking at the record of successive years, it’s clear to see how it keeps growing in status.” Andrew J King, Bath Novel Award winner 2020 for The Arrow Garden
“Barely a week has gone by since I won the award, and I have an agent already.” Matthew Fox, Bath Children’s Novel Award winner 2019 for The Sky Over Rebecca (Hodder 2022)
“The validation has been everything, to be honest. That a team of expert readers and judges chose my book out of all those hundreds is just the best vote of confidence I could have asked for.” Kate Simants, Bath Novel Award 2019 winner for A Ruined Girl (Viper Books, 2020)
“Writing is a lonely business plagued with self-doubt, so winning over so many entrants gave me a much-needed confidence boost. It’s also landed me my dream agent!” Cassie Powney, Bath Children’s Novel Award 2018 winner for Loops.
“Winning has turned everything upside down. I ended up with five agent offers – honestly, I never thought that would happen.” Sophie Draper, winner of the Bath Novel Award 2017 winner for Cuckoo (Harper Collins/Avon, November 2018)
“One of the most rewarding things about the whole competition was getting my novel into the hands of the junior judges – its intended age-range.” Struan Murray, winner of the Bath Children’s Novel Award 2017 for Orphans of the Tide, (Penguin Books, February 2020)
“There have been so many amazing moments since finding out I’d won, but the best was meeting with Susan Armstrong at Conville & Walsh and being offered representation. I’ve been dreaming of that moment for most of my life.” Kim Sherwood, winner of The Bath Novel Award 2016 for Testament, (riverrun 2018)
“Agents look to these competitions for potential clients, because they know that the competition organisers are great at spotting potential. Even if you don’t win, being longlisted or shortlisted for a prestigious award like the Bath Novel will attract the attention of the industry.” Laura Marshall, runner up for The Bath Novel Award 2016 for Friend Request, (Little Brown, 2017)
“Being shortlisted was the moment everything changed.” Sophie Green, The Bath Children’s Novel Award 2016 shortlisted for Potkin & Stubbs (Piccadilly Press, March 2019)
“I can’t thank you enough for your passion in supporting writers, and for introducing me to my agent, Sallyanne Sweeney.” Lucy Van Smit, winner of The Bath Children’s Novel Award 2015 for The Hurting (Chicken House, September 2018)
“Just do it. It might be the one decision that changes your life.” Clarissa Goenawan 2015 winner for Rainbirds (Soho Press, 2018)
“As a self-proclaimed contest junkie, The Bath Novel Award is one of the most professional and well run contests I’ve entered. Bath is about finding fantastic undiscovered writers and getting their work and names out there.” Hollie Overton, Bath Novel Award 2015 shortlisted for Baby Doll (Century/Hachette 2017)
“When I entered, I was actually thinking of giving up on sending the manuscript out to agents. I was at the end of getting rejections and after years of self-editing, I didn’t feel there was much more I could do with it. I’m so glad I did enter, because that decision changed my life.” Joanna Barnard winner of The Bath Novel Award 2014 for Precocious (Ebury Press, 2015)
“I firmly believe my BNA shortlisting played a vital part in securing my book deal. It raised my author profile that bit higher and meant my agent could go into publishers’ offices waving the shortlisting.” Eugene Lambert, The Bath Novel Award 2014 shortlisted for The Sign of One (Egmont, 2016)
“I would enter the Bath Novel Award every year if I could. One of the best things I ever did.” Catherine Barter The Bath Novel Award 2014 shortlisted for Troublemakers, (Andersen Press, 2017)
FAQ: Frequently asked questions
Who reads the entries?
We employ a hand-picked team of 40 readers including librarians, editors, genre specialists as well as Bath winning and shortlisted novelists. For the Bath Children’s Novel Award a team of Junior Judges aged from 7 to 17 read and vote for the shortlist. The fulls of all the shortlisted novels are read blind by a leading literary agent who judges the overall winner for each award. Read more