London Writers Awards 2019 Judges’ Top Tips

Special Feature

Our London Writers Awards 2019 author and industry judges share their top tips for writers putting together their applications. There’s all the information you need about applying to the London Writers Awards here…

Rupert Lancaster
“As a publisher of serious but accessible non-fiction, my top tip is for you to consider these questions when putting your application together: Who might read your project? What gap does it fill in the market? Why would a publisher want to take it on? How would the media cover it? I know that these are big questions, but knowing how much sweat and tears goes into writing, having answers to these questions will ultimately help your work reach as many readers as possible.” Rupert Lancaster, non-fiction publisher at Hodder & Stoughton and  judge for Narrative non-Fiction London Writers Awards 2019

Emma Finn “I love to see writing propelled by a striking, original voice and an immersive sense of place. We’re all guilty of judging books on the first few chapters, so make sure that you showcase the central strengths of your book – prose, character dynamics, unusual premise, storytelling, whatever it might be – up front and centre. Whether I’m reading literary fiction, a high concept thriller or narrative non-fiction, I want to be drawn into a compelling story, to feel emotionally engaged, to be wrapped up in other lives and worlds for a few hours… So try not to worry about what anybody else is doing – have confidence in the story you’re telling, take risks and commit.” Emma Finn, literary agent at Conville  and Walsh and judge for Literary Fiction London Writers Awards 2019

Philippa Milnes-Smith“I’m looking for the authors who have different ways of seeing and imagining the world as well as perhaps encountering new fantasy worlds: children’s and young adult fiction is a very inclusive and wide ranging category so it offers a great and varied opportunity to writers who want to engage with this audience. I’m hoping to be confronted by contemporary voices and issues as well as being swept away by powerful and more enchanted forms of storytelling. And, whatever the genre, I want to see words used well: writing that brings people, places and things to life.” Philippa Milnes-Smith, Managing Director, The Soho Agency and judge for YA / Children’s Fiction London Writers Awards 2019

Kate Davies“I’m looking for writing that makes me want to keep reading, with a strong voice and characters I can believe in. My advice is to read your work out loud before you send it in – it’ll make it easier to spot repetition and any awkward passages.” Kate Davies, author and judge for Literary Fiction London Writers Awards 2019

Abir Mukherjee“Write the story which is burning within you. Tell it your way, in your unique voice. And have fun. Writing can be a joyous experience, especially when you’re starting out. Enjoy it!” Abir Mukherjee, author and judge for Commercial Fiction London Writers Awards 2019

Saeida Rouass“In the literary fiction category, I would like to read stories populated by complex characters and set in atmospheric places. The characters don’t have to be likeable and shouldn’t be exclusively one thing, I want to see their contradictions, care about their journey and feel committed to knowing their outcome regardless of my opinion of them. I would like to hear from voices that challenge our definitions of normality and shake our unexamined assumptions.” Saeida Rouass, author and judge for Literary Fiction London Writers Awards 2019

Danielle Jawando“For YA and children’s fiction, I’m looking for a distinct and original voice, an interesting story hook and compelling characters (who I’ll want to follow). I really love those glimpses of raw emotion that you get in fiction – don’t be afraid to go there. Make me laugh, make me cry, take me on a journey!” Danielle Jawando, author and judge for YA / Children’s Fiction London Writers Awards 2019

Published 1 May 2019