Founded in 2013, The Bath Novel Awards are two annual £2,500 prizes open to unpublished and self-published novelists worldwide.
The Bath Novel Award is for adult fiction. Submissions are invited from December to May with the winner announced in September.
The Bath Children’s Novel Award is for children’s fiction. Submissions are invited from June to November with the winner announced in February.
FAQ: Frequently asked questions
Who runs the awards?
Both awards were founded and are organised by Caroline Ambrose, a Bath-based book columnist, public library campaigner, & regular chair for literary festivals and events.
Who reads the entries?
We have a hand-picked team of 20 professional professional 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. Both reading teams reflect a range of ages, nationalities and backgrounds and all our readers vote independently for the novels they enjoyed the most. The fulls of all the shortlisted novels are read blind by a leading literary agent who judges the overall winner for each award.
The competition rules say entrants must not have had a novel accepted for publication by a traditional publishing house. What does ‘traditional publishing’ mean?
By ‘traditionally published’, we mean where a writer has accepted a book deal which includes a payment in advance for their novel. If in any doubt, drop us an email before submitting at firstname.lastname@example.org
“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, Spring 2019)
“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, (Quercus / riverrun lead literary title, 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)
The Bath Novel Awards are sponsored by Cornerstones Literary Consultancy