Thursday, 5 November 2015


Myriad invites entries for its First Drafts Competition for previously unpublished writers, this year with a crime theme and an all-star judging panel of bestselling crime authors:  Peter James, Elly Griffiths, Lisa Cutts, Elizabeth Haynes and Lesley Thomson. 

Now in its seventh year, the competition recognises promising work-in-progress by unpublished writers, be it a short story collection or the first few chapters of a novel. It is at the heart of Myriad’s mission to discover and nurture bold and exciting new writers. This year the competition will focus exclusively on crime and thrillers in celebration of the genre.
Myriad’s First Drafts Competition has uncovered and launched writers who have gone on to enjoy creative and commercial success. These include: Lisa Cutts, whose crime debut Never Forget has since been optioned by a major TV company; Nina de la Mer (author of 4 a.m. and Layla); Hannah Vincent (Alarm Girl), Sara Marshall-Ball (Hush) and S.E. Craythorne (How You See Me), all now published by Myriad. Other success stories include past winner Kirsty Logan (2010), who used her retreat to write a short story that she later expanded to become her novel, The Gracekeepers (Harvill Secker); Juliet West (shortlisted, 2013), whose novel-in-progress Before the Fall was published by Macmillan; American short story writer Owen D. Cluer (winner, 2014), who was signed by literary agent Becky Thomas (Johnson & Alcock); Al Brookes (shortlisted, 2013), whose novel The Gift of Looking Closely was the Guardian’s Self-published Book of the Month; Paul McVeigh (shortlisted, 2013), whose novel The Good Son has been published by Salt; and Kelleigh GreenbergJephcott (shortlisted, 2015), whose novel Swan Song won The Bridport Prize Peggy Chapman Andrews Award for a First Novel.

The prize is a week-long writing retreat in the luxurious surroundings of West Dean College near Chichester, as well as detailed editorial feedback from industry experts and six months’ mentoring from a Myriad author. Last year’s winner, Karly Stilling, says: ‘There aren’t many opportunities for emerging writers to get their work recognised in such a significant way, and the support offered by Myriad will go a long way to bolster my career at this early stage.’

Myriad’s Publisher and MD, Candida Lacey says: ‘This is a fantastic opportunity for new writers to receive encouragement and constructive feedback from publishing professionals and established authors, whether or not they win. There are few competitions for a work-in-progress and we’re proud to be championing emerging talent in this way. Myriad has built a reputation for discovering new voices and launching writing careers so it is especially apt to welcome three of our own bestselling crime authors to the judging panel this year alongside Elly Griffiths and Peter James."

Author and Programme Leader, MA Creative Writing and Publishing, West Dean College, Martine McDonagh says:  ‘Edward James established, in the early 20th Century, a tradition at West Dean College of supporting artists of all kinds in the early stages of their profession, a tradition we are pleased to continue through our creative writing programme. It is an absolute pleasure to work alongside Myriad Editions in this competition, which presents a rare opportunity for committed, but as yet unpublished authors.

Entry criteria The competition is open to all writers who have not yet published or self-published a collection of stories or a novel. The closing date is 31 March 2016 and the winner will be announced at an event in July 2016. Full entry details are available at

For more information please contact Emma Dowson, Publicist: 
020 8715 5043 • 07726 321622 •

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