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Luke Bitmead Bursary

The Luke Bitmead Bursary is an annual award set up to support and encourage the work of fledgling novel writers. The award, now in its 9th year, is the UK's biggest prize for unpublished authors. Here are our 8 brilliant winners:

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THE GENERATION GAME

Sophie Duffy

Philippa Smith is in her forties and has a beautiful newborn baby girl. She also has no husband, and...

THE GENERATION GAME
THE GENERATION GAME
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SLEEPING PATTERNS

In a run-down student residence in South London, Annelie Strandli, a beautiful but confused designer...

SLEEPING PATTERNS
SLEEPING PATTERNS
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THE WOMAN BEFORE ME - REPRINT

Ruth Dugdall

They came for me, just like I knew they would. Luke had been dead for just three days. Rose Wilks li...

THE WOMAN BEFORE ME - REPRINT
THE WOMAN BEFORE ME - REPRINT
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UNTOUCHABLE THINGS

Tara Guha

For the third time this week he is watching her scream. Watching, not listening.

UNTOUCHABLE THINGS
UNTOUCHABLE THINGS
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LACEY'S HOUSE

Joanne Graham

Lacey Carmichael leads a solitary life. To her neighbours she is the mad old woman who lives at the ...

LACEY'S HOUSE
LACEY'S HOUSE
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WHITE LIES

Jo Gatford

Published 1st July 2014

WHITE LIES
WHITE LIES
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ON THE HOLLOWAY ROAD

Andrew Blackman

Inspired by Jack Kerouac's famous road novel, the two young men climb aboard Jack's Figaro and embar...

ON THE HOLLOWAY ROAD
ON THE HOLLOWAY ROAD
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THE WACKY MAN

Lyn G. Farrell

The winner of the 2015 Luke Bitmead Bursary

THE WACKY MAN
THE WACKY MAN

Luke Bitmead Bursary 2016 – Open for entries on 2nd May 2016.

 

The bursary was set up by Luke’s family shortly after Luke’s sudden and tragic death in 2006, aged just 34. Luke was the first novelist to be published by Legend Press, and we are delighted to work with Luke's family each year on the award to honour his memory and help reduce the stigma attached to mental health issues. The top prize is a publishing contract with Legend Press, as well as a £2,500 cash prize.

As the Luke Bitmead Memorial Fund and ourselves are keen to ensure this important prize continues for many years to come, from this year there will be a £10 entry fee per submission, which will be paid directly to the Luke Bitmead Memorial Fund. 


 

Endorsements from previous winners:


Andrew Blackman, our 2008 winner: 'Without Luke my book would not have existed. Everything I’ve enjoyed over the last couple of years – all the sales, all the readings, the signings, the radio interviews, the film rights – all of it has come about because of Luke and the efforts of his family to create something positive out of the tragedy of his death.'

Ruth Dugdall, our 2009 winner: ‘Winning the bursary was my absolute breakthrough moment, but even knowing that my novel would be published I could never have been prepared for what happened next. Readers told me how moved they were, how the story lingered long after they closed the cover; such feedback is a gift for any writer. And other gifts followed with foreign rights being sold, and the championing of the novel by Amazon. I have also had two other books, The James Version & The Sacrificial Man, published by Legend Press.’ 

Sophie Duffy, our 2010 winner: 'I'll always be grateful to Luke and his amazing warrior mother, Elaine. Winning the bursary and having The Generation Game published gave me validation as a writer. But, more importantly, Luke's story has helped me speak out about my own battle with depression and given me the confidence to challenge the stigma of mental health issues whenever I can. You need guts to be a writer, tenacity if you want to be published. Entering the bursary just might give you the chance to have your turn in the sun.' 

Tara Guha, our 2014 winner: 'The Luke Bitmead Bursary should come with a warning: This award might change your life. Being announced as the 2014 winner certainly changed the whole trajectory of mine – to an intoxicating new world of publishing contracts, copy edits, marketing questionnaires and finally – yes – a book with my name on the cover! To be transformed in a split second from someone who writes to a bona fide writer is a wondrous thing and the equivalent of my Cinderella moment. I will always be deeply grateful to the Bursary, Legend Press and most of all to my fairy godmother, Elaine Hanson.'
 

How to Submit: 

Your entry should be sent using the form below. If you have any problems, or general queries about the Bursary please email: bitmeadbursary@legendpress.co.uk   

To pay the £10 entry fee, please click here. (Note: please retain a copy of your receipt should you be requested for it as proof of entry.)

Guidelines:

  • Novels must be already completed before entry. Unfinished manuscripts will not be accepted.
  • Novels must be 60k words or over to be considered.
  • Entrants must be aged 16 or over.
  • Submissions must be from authors who have not been traditionally published – particularly those who are talented but whose personal or financial circumstances are making it especially hard for them to focus on writing as a career.
  • We are happy to accept submissions from self-published authors and authors who have traditionally published any other form of writing except a novel in the past (eg short stories, poems etc),
  • We only accept submissions of adult fiction, so unfortunately will not consider Children's or YA fiction,
  • Payment of the entry fee must be completed for your entry to be eligible for consideration.

     

Last Year's Winner - Lyn G. Farrell

To coincide with the opening of submissions we are delighted to launch the debut novel of our 2015 winner Lyn G. Farrell. The Wacky Man follows the perspective of a teenage girl struggling for love and happiness in a world controlled by her increasingly violent and abusive father. Her debut is an insightful, deeply personal analysis of mental health and the stigma attached to it. The novel has been described by Man Booker Prize nominated author Clio Gray as her ‘Book of the Year’.

Click here for more information and to order a copy here 

 


 


Submissions are open from 2nd May 2016 to 15th July 2016 

Your submission should include the following (as indicated in the form below):

  1. Synopsis of your work (no more than 1 page)
  2. Personal Statement (This should be approximately 1 to 2 pages long and should be uploaded as a Word or PDF document). The statement is an important part of the application process and we invite you to introduce yourself to the judges and tell us why you feel you would particularly benefit from the bursary.
  3. The first 3 to 4 chapters of your novel (uploaded as a Word or PDF document). If your novel does not follow a conventional format we would suggest you submit the first 50 pages of your novel.