Eligibility and conditions


The prize is open to submissions of work written in World English by writers of any nationality or descent who at the time of entering are permanently resident in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland or United States of America.

Entries must be written by a single author.

The 2020 award will focus on work published between 1 July 2019 and 1 July 2020.

To be eligible, books must have been first published in hardback, paperback or e-book format between these dates in the UK, ROI or USA. Books that have previously been published outside of these territories are not eligible.

Books can be written in any genre, and books that challenge genre are particularly welcome. Works of translation, books for children and poetry are not eligible for the award.

Authors, publishers and agents can submit entries. If an author or agent enters work for the award it will be assumed that she/he does so with the full commitment of the publisher of the book. It is the responsibility of whoever enters the material to ensure that it is eligible.

Self-published books are not eligible and any publisher entering work must be a recognised professional publishing house that publishes a range of authors and titles each year and that distributes these works via recognised channels such as online retailers and through bookshops.

The award is not open to employees of Faber & Faber, New Writing North or members of The Gordon Burn Trust.

Publishers are reminded that it is their responsibility to ensure that all submitted titles are eligible for the prize.

To qualify, a submission must consist of two items: the books and a completed online entry form. Submissions received after the stated deadline will not be considered.

New Writing North will make final decisions on eligibility. Their decisions will be final and no communication will be entered into on the subject.

The judging process

The prize partners will undertake the longlisting of entries for the prize.

The judges and prize partners reserve the right to call in any books that they see fit to consider for the prize.

The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence or discussion about the judging process will be entered into.

A longlist of up to 12 books will be announced by 21 May 2020 and the selected books will be called in for the prize judges.

A shortlist of up to 6 books will be announced by 31 July 2020. Publishers and authors will be informed in advance.

The final awards event will take place at the Durham Book Festival on 15 October 2020 when the prize will be presented.

Media and communications

All shortlisted authors must be available to participate in media and PR for the award between the announcement of the shortlist in July and attend the awards ceremony.

Authors and publishers must be willing to provide cover images and extracts of work that can be used on the awards website and associated promotions.

Copies of the book

Publishers must ensure that copies of their shortlisted titles are available for sale in bookshops and to libraries at the time of the announcement of the prize. The publisher of the winning book must ensure that any reprints of the prize-winning title carry the award’s branding on the front cover.

If a title is shortlisted, we will require ten copies of the book for publicity purposes and review by participating prize reviewers.

Conditions of the award

Shortlisted writers must be available to participate in the prize ceremony in Durham. The submitting author or their publisher must commit to resourcing the travel and accommodation of the shortlisted writer for this event, especially for those entering from outside of the UK.

Publishers must confirm that the author(s) will be present for the Gordon Burn Prize awards ceremony before the shortlist is announced on 31 July 2020. If an author is unable to attend then the publisher must provide a representative for the awards ceremony as well as a high-quality video recording of the shortlisted author. We reserve the right to withdraw a book from the shortlist before it is announced if the author is not available to attend the prize-giving event.

We reserve the right to vary the rules and conditions of entry and to make any amendments to the published schedule as are deemed necessary.

How to enter for the award

A publishing house may enter up to six individual books from each imprint that it runs for consideration for the prize. Authors entering directly may submit one title.

You are required to send five copies of each title that you are entering for the prize. We accept proof copies, manuscripts and final copies.

No book entered by an author or publisher or called in by the judges will be returned.

If a publisher makes an entry it is their responsibility to ascertain that the author of the work is aware of the submission and that she/he has given their consent. If the submission is made directly by an author it is their responsibility to ensure that their publisher knows that they have entered.

Entries must be accompanied by a completed online entry form.

The deadline for submitting entries to the prize is 20 March 2020.

Entries must be submitted to New Writing North at the following address:

Victoria Kundu
Gordon Burn Prize
c/o New Writing North
3 Ellison Terrace
Ellison Place
Newcastle upon Tyne

Entries will be acknowledged promptly by email. If you do not receive an acknowledgement please do not presume that the work has arrived safely.

If you have a query about submissions please email Will Mackie via