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The Society of Authors' Awards

By Amy Joan Sayner and Maisie George

The Society of Authors' Awards is an annual award ceremony that recognises the best and most promising literary voices of the year. It is run for authors and judged by authors, and a prize of over £100,000 is awarded each year for poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and illustration across a variety of genres, from authors at all stages of their careers. On 20 June 2024, at a ceremony at Southwark Cathedral, thirty-one winners shared a prize fund of over £140,000. The winners of the eleven awards are as follows:

The ADCI Literary Prize: positive representation of disability in literature

Mother Sea (Fairlight books) by Lorraine Wilson awarded £1,250

A moving, and at times haunting story about an island community whose ways of life are under threat due to climate change.

ALCS Tom-Gallon Trust Award: a short story of up to 5,000 words

Alexandra Ye was awarded a share of £4,500 for their short story entitled This Story.


Betty Trask Prize: first novels for authors under 35

The New Life (Chatto and Windus, Vintage) by Tom Crewe awarded £10,000.

A historical fiction novel that explores homosexuality and politics, set in late Victorian England.


Cholmondeley Awards: achievement and distinction of individual poets

Joanne Harris (left) and Lemn Sissay (right) with 2022 Cholmondeley Awards winners David Kinloch, Tiffany Atkinson and Menna Elfin at Southwark Cathedral (photograph © Adrian Pope)

The following poets were each awarded £1,400: Fiona Benson, Gerry Cambridge, Julia Copus, Leontia Flynn, Helen Ivory, and Roger Robinson.

Cholmondeley Award judge, Moniza Alvi said, ‘The Cholmondeley Awards have been, since they were introduced in 1966, important honorary awards that recognise poets’ sustained excellence across a body of work. Some of the recipients will already be well-known in the poetry world, while others may be deserving of wider recognition for the distinction of their writing. Many of them will have contributed to the genre in a variety of ways, through their performances and tutoring, for example. The Cholmondeley Awards prove that excellence can be perceived across a wide range of poetry from a diversity of poets. It is hoped that the recipients will feel valued, encouraged and truly celebrated.’


Eric Gregory Awards: a collection by poets under the age of 30

The following poets were each awarded £4,725: Will Barnard, Maia Elsner, William Gee, Yanita Georgieva, Nathaniel King, and Francis-Xavier Mukiibi.

Eric Gregory Awards judge Gwyneth Lewis said, ‘Reading Eric Gregory submissions is always a mind-expanding experience, and this year was no exception. The best manuscripts are utterly up-to-the-minute in their subject matter but, more importantly, in the texture of their poetic lines. Originality stands out a mile and becomes compelling when married with intellectual and emotional rigour. I left our final judges meeting feeling optimistic at seeing poetry breaking new ground and fully meeting the challenges of contemporary life.’


McKitterick Prize: a first novel by an author over 40

The Funeral Cryer (Allen & Unwin, Atlantic Books) by Wenyan Lu awarded £4,000

A poignant novel that explores Chinese tradition. The middle-aged female main character reflects on grief, death, love, and duty.


Paul Torday Memorial Prize: a first novel by an author over 60

Fire Rush (Jonathan Cape, Vintage, Penguin Random House) by Jacqueline Crooks awarded £3,000

Set in the 70s and 80s between London and Jamaica, this novel is the unforgettable story of one woman's search for home.


Somerset Maugham Awards: enabling young writers to enrich their work through experience of foreign countries

The following writers were each awarded £3,200: Iona Lee, Momtaza Mehri, Katherine Pangonis, Cecile Pin, and Phoenicia Rogerson.

The Somerset Maugham Award judges agreed, “This year’s shortlist was made up of young voices who explored history in unique fashions to tell stories that document the present, reveal the author’s psyche, delve deep into our emotions and take us down roads of imaginative brilliance.”


Travelling Scholarships: enabling writers to keep in touch with their colleagues abroad

The winners were each awarded £5,800: Katya Balen, James Byrne, Liz Hoggard, Peter Kalu, Hannah Lowe, and Zoë Skoulding.


The Gordon Bowker Volcano Prize: a novel focusing on the experience of travel away from home

Wild Geese (Footnote Press) by Soula Emmanuel awarded £2,000

A tale of trans life and love from a remarkable new voice in Irish literature.


The Queen’s Knickers Award: an outstanding children’s illustrated book

People Need People (Orchard Books, Hachette Children’s Group)  by Benjamin Zephaniah and Nila Aye awarded £5,000

An uplifting picture book about the power of people, and the importance of connecting with others.


Speaking about the awards, keynote speaker Kate Mosse said, ‘All literary awards celebrate outstanding, exceptional, imaginative, ground-breaking work. What I love about the SoA Awards   is that they honour many authors, working in a whole range of disciplines and at different stages in their writing careers. Now, more than ever, books matter – they offer us the chance to stand in other people’s shoes, to hear about lives other than our own, they encourage empathy and conversation. I know that when we gather together on 20th June, we will do so in the spirit of every voice mattering, every story being something to celebrate.’

For the full list of winners, visit The Society of Authors website. 



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