We are incredibly excited to launch The Gollancz and Rivers of London BAME SFF Award, in partnership with non-profit writing organisation National Novel Writing Month (NANOWRIMO) and with support from The Good Literary Agency.

GOLLANCZ, the UK’s oldest science fiction and fantasy imprint, and Ben Aaronovitch, author of the Sunday Times bestselling RIVERS OF LONDON series, are launching a new writing prize to champion underrepresented BAME voices in the genres of science fiction, fantasy and horror.

Stark statistics show that less than 1% of science fiction and fantasy books published in 2018 were from British BAME writers. We believe that the industry should be doing much more to seek out and foster talent from underrepresented voices and hope this award will be a step in the right direction. Here we are giving British BAME writers the opportunity to submit a short sample of writing within the genres of science fiction, fantasy or horror with the opportunity of being selected as one of seven finalists who will receive monetary and/or mentoring prizes from us in order to support your future writing career. Please read on for more details about the prizes on offer and how to submit.


1st Prize* – £4,000 prize money, a full critique of their submitted work and a year-long mentoring programme** with Gollancz commissioning editor Rachel Winterbottom.

2nd Prize* – £2,000 prize money and a full critique of their submitted work.

Runners up – five runners up will receive £800 prize money and a goodie bag of Gollancz books.

*This will be awarded to one person only, deemed to have submitted a strong writing sample by our panel of judges.
**This mentoring session will consist of a one-hour phone call, once per quarter for a calendar year, with a focus on the writer’s progress and on the publishing process.


Submissions will be read by members of the Gollancz team who will decide on a shortlist of entries based on the quality of work submitted.

A winner, second place and runners up will be decided on by a panel of SFF industry professionals (to be announced in early 2020).

What We Are Looking For

We are looking for entrants to submit 5,000-10,000 words of either a self-contained short story or the opening of a novel which fits into the science fiction, fantasy or horror genres. 

Submissions should include a cover letter which contains a little bit of info about the entrant submitting and a one page synopsis which summarises their story. The cover letter and summary should be included at the front of the submission.

When uploading please ensure the file uploaded is either a Word document and it is named in the format of: your submission title.

All submissions should be in the form of a Word document, in Times New Roman, 12 point and double spaced. Submissions should be saved in the format of: your submission title.

Please note the work submitted should be the entrants own original idea.

See our Terms and Conditions for more information on submissions and judging.

Key Dates

Submissions will open on 00.01 GMT on 1st October 2019.

Submissions close at 23.59 GMT on 31st January 2020.

The shortlisted candidates will be announced on 30th April 2020.

The winner will be announced at an event held in London on 14th July 2020.

Who Can Enter

People who identify as Black, Asian or other ethnic minorities.

People who are are residents of the UK or Ireland.

People who are not under contract or been previously published by a UK publisher.

People who have not had their entry submission previously published or had their submission winning another competition.

People who are over the age of 18.

Only one entry is allowed per person.


Shortlisted candidates will be announced on 30th April

About the Partners:

GOLLANCZ is the oldest specialist SF and Fantasy publisher in the UK. Founded in 1927 and with a continuous SF publishing programme dating back to 1960, this imprint of the Orion Publishing Group is home to a galaxy of award-winning and bestselling authors. Through our long-running SF Masterworks programme, and major digital initiative the SF Gateway, Gollancz has one of the largest ranges of SF and Fantasy of any publisher in the world. Authors include Brandon Sanderson, Ben Aaronovitch, Ursula K. LeGuin, Aliette de Bodard, Nalini Singh, Emma Newman, Joe Abercrombie, Patrick Rothfuss, Scott Lynch, Dhonielle Clayton and Joanne Harris.

BEN AARONOVITCH was a screenwriter for Doctor Who and a bookseller at Waterstones. He now writes full time, and every book in his Rivers of London series has been a Sunday Times top Ten bestseller. He is published in 14 languages and has sold more than 2 million copies around the world. Aaronovitch is also a trustee on the board of Cityread London and is a long-time supporter of Nigeria’s premiere arts and cultural festival, The Aké festival. He still lives in London, the city he likes to refer to as ‘the capital of the world’.

NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that believes your story matters. We provide the structure, community, and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds – on and off the stage.

THE GOOD LITERARY AGENCY is a social enterprise literary agency from the team behind the award-winning book The Good Immigrant. Inspired by a desire to increase opportunities for representation for all writers under-represented in mainstream publishing, the agency is focused on discovering, developing and launching the careers of writers of colour, disability, working class, LGBTQ+ and anyone who feels their story is not being told in the mainstream. The agency is supported using public funding by Arts Council England as well as through support from publishers and other industry organisations and through money raised via their crowdfunding for The Good Journal, a quarterly literary journal for writers of colour. Headquartered in Bristol, the agency is committed to working with writers across the UK and has a focus on helping writers develop their craft as well as helping them find the perfect publisher.

For publicity enquiries please contact Will O’Mullane at will.o’mullane@orionbooks.co.uk

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