We are excited to launch The New Stories Award competition, in partnership with Amazon Publishing – to address issues around inclusion and representation in commercial fiction.

#NewStoriesAward

OWN IT! has a strong reputation for our commitment to finding and supporting up-and-coming talent.

We care about contributing to creating an ecosystem where universal stories can come from a truly representative community of eclectic voices and diversity is measured through creativity. However, we understand that to do this, we first need a more level playing field so that all writers from all backgrounds feel valued and are given equal opportunities.

The team at Amazon Publishing is passionate about connecting readers with great books. This competition allows the team to work outside typical channels to discover writers who can bring a fresh and distinct perspective to commercial fiction. Amazon Publishing is especially keen for the opportunity to connect with under-represented writers from around the world.

So what are you waiting for? Send us YOUR story. #BecauseStoriesAreLife

FAQ’s

Q1. Are entries anonymous?

A1. No, please submit your name with your entry. A nom de plume or pen name is fine.

Q2. I don’t have an agent. Can I still enter?

A2. Absolutely. Please write ‘None’ in the agent box.

Q3. I’ve previously self-published the manuscript I want to submit. Is that allowed?

A3. Unfortunately not. We don’t mind if an author has previously self-published other books, but we’re looking for previously unpublished entries.

Q4. My novel has a prologue. Should I still submit the first 2,000 words?

A4. A short prologue can be included in addition to the first 2,000 words. If your prologue is longer, it should be counted as one of your three chapters, if you would like to include it; otherwise please just submit the first 2,000 words.  

Q5. Who reads my work? How does the voting and judging process work?

A5. All entries will receive an initial read-through by OWN IT! organisers. This is to confirm that each entry adheres to the specific entry requirements. Following this, OWN IT! organisers will comprise a longlist of the strongest entries. Editor at Amazon Publishing, Leodora Darlington, will then review the longlist with OWN IT! organisers to select the winning entry and runners-up.

Q6. Is there an entry fee?

A6. No, this competition is free to enter.

Q7. Which genres are eligible?

A7. This competition is focused on finding new voices in commercial fiction. We are interested in fiction of any kind, but are particularly interested in fiction that falls under one of the categories below:

  • Crime, thrillers and mystery
  • Romance
  • Historical fiction

If you have any questions or queries about whether your submission matches the competition requirements please get in touch with the team, prior to submitting your manuscript, at [email TBC] before [DATE TBC].

Q8. What do you mean by ‘under-represented’ writers?

A8. We define writers from backgrounds that are currently under-represented in publishing as:

• Being from a BAME background

• Being a member of the LGBTQ+ community

• Having a disability

• Having a low household income

• Being working class

•   Having experienced a lack of academic and/or vocational training opportunities – i.e. having not been able to study/train to their full potential due to low income, ill health, being a carer etc.

• Being or having been a carer

• Having experienced homelessness

• Being a single parent

  • Being neurodivergent

Q9. Which countries is this competition open to?

A9. This competition is open to writers over the age of eighteen living in the UK or Ireland.

Q10. Are co-written manuscripts eligible?

A10. Yes, though the prize money and offer of publication will be split amongst co-writers.

Q11. Do you have to be a debut author to win this award?

A11. No. Previously published authors are eligible so long as the manuscript entered has never been published.

Q12. Are the finalists or the winner guaranteed to receive a publication offer from Amazon Publishing?

A12. No, although Amazon Publishing will consider the winner for a non-binding offer of publication at Amazon Publishing’s sole discretion.

Q13. How do I submit my entry to the award?

A13. Please follow the step-by-step instructions on the OWN IT! website [enter link].

Q14. Why is Amazon Publishing sponsoring this award?

A14. The team at Amazon Publishing is passionate about connecting readers with great books. This competition allows the team to work outside typical channels to discover writers who can bring a fresh and distinct perspective to commercial fiction. Amazon Publishing is especially keen for the opportunity to connect with under-represented writers from around the world.

Q15. Where can I address specific questions about the award?

A15. Please email [enter email].

Q16. Who will sit on the judging panel for the award?

A16. Amazon Publishing Editor Leodora Darlington will serve on the judging panel for the award, alongside OWN IT! agents. 

Q 17. Who is OWN IT!?

A 17. OWN IT! Literary, TV and Film Agency was founded by Crystal Mahey-Morgan with the mission of representing original and authentic stories. Among OWN IT!’s recent publishing successes are Selina Godden (MRS DEATH MISSES DEATH, Canongate), Derek Owusu’s Desmond Elliott Prize-winning THAT REMINDS ME (Merky Books, Stormzy’s PRH imprint), and Courttia Newland’s A RIVER CALLED TIME (Canongate).

Q18. Who is Leodora Darlington?

A18. Leodora Darlington is an editor for the Thomas & Mercer and Lake Union Publishing imprints in the UK and a 2021 Bookseller Rising Star. Before joining Amazon Publishing in 2021, Leodora was commissioning editor at Canelo, where she acquired authors like #1 bestseller Kathryn Croft. Prior to that, Leodora was publishing executive at Bookouture, where in addition to commissioning bestselling author M. M. Chouinard, she worked on audiobook production and account management. Outside of the office, Leodora loves live music, theatre and cooking. Follow Leodora on Twitter.

Q19. What is Amazon Publishing?

A19. Amazon Publishing is a leading trade publisher of fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books with a mission to empower outstanding storytellers and connect them with readers worldwide. We publish emerging, bestselling, and critically-acclaimed authors in digital, print, and audio formats. With Amazon’s drive for innovation and passion for books, we merge technology and art to support our authors and help their stories change the world. Learn more here.


Funmi Adebanjo

Funmi Adebanjo recognises the vast power that widely accepted narratives have – to build cultures and shape identities – and that these narratives are heavily driven by media and entertainment. As someone who’s often felt underrepresented, Funmi’s passion has always been to combine this awareness with her deep interest in understanding others and her love of storytelling. As well as to write stories with well-developed characters and inclusive storylines, showcasing multifaceted representation.

Funmi tells stories that lean toward positive and aspirational because she believes that using our best efforts to promote the most productive narratives into this world is one of the key ways to contribute to the success, self-esteem, and positive identities of the next generations.

Funmi mostly writes comedy and drama across TV and feature film scripts, although her writing also spans into shorts, poetry, prose, and even a little animation. No matter what she writes, Funmi focuses on being the change she wants to see, and this approach allows her to subtly weave educational and aspirational elements. For example, rather than discussing certain issues, the narrative will act to carefully navigate normalising solutions.


Funmi recently found success with a story in an untapped space, with a feature film commission on a festival-based rom-com script themed in the multifaceted nature of modern Black-Britishness, celebrating food, family and culture. One of her passion projects is a university-based comedy drama, and her pilot script was placed in the top 2% of BBC Comedy Writersroom.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Introducing the latest edition to the OWN IT! agency: Funmi Adebanjo

Welcoming writer, Funmi Adebanjo to the OWN IT! family. Funmi mostly writes comedy and drama across TV and feature film scripts, although her writing also spans into shorts, poetry, prose, and even a little animation.

Funmi Adebanjo recognises the vast power that widely accepted narratives have – to build cultures and shape identities – and that these narratives are heavily driven by media and entertainment. As someone who’s often felt underrepresented, Funmi’s passion has always been to combine this awareness with her deep interest in understanding others and her love of storytelling.

Funmi tells stories that lean toward positive and aspirational because she believes that using our best efforts to promote the most productive narratives into this world is one of the key ways to contribute to the success, self-esteem, and positive identities of the next generations.

Funmi mostly writes comedy and drama across TV and feature film scripts, although her writing also spans into shorts, poetry, prose, and even a little animation. No matter what she writes, Funmi focuses on being the change she wants to see, and this approach allows her to subtly weave educational and aspirational elements. For example, rather than discussing certain issues, the narrative will act to carefully navigate normalising solutions.


Funmi recently found success with a story in an untapped space, with a feature film commission on a festival-based rom-com script themed in the multifaceted nature of modern Black-Britishness, celebrating food, family and culture. One of her passion projects is a university-based comedy drama, and her pilot script was placed in the top 2% of BBC Comedy Writersroom.

Congratulations to Salena Godden the Fiction Winner for the Indie Book Awards 2022, with her intoxicating debut: Mrs Death Misses Death

#BooksAreMyBag

GET YOUR COPY HERE

Mrs Death tells her intoxicating story in this life-affirming fire-starter of a novel

Mrs Death has had enough. She is exhausted by her job and now seeks someone to unburden her conscience to.

She meets Wolf, a troubled young writer, who – enthralled by her stories – begins to write Mrs Death’s memoirs. As the two reflect on the losses they have experienced (or facilitated), their friendship flourishes. All the while, despite her world-weariness, Death must continue to hold humans’ fates in her hands, appearing in our lives when we least expect her . . .