This year is the 9th annual Creative Future Writers’ Award (CFWA), the UK’s only national writing competition and development programme for all underrepresented writers. The Award celebrates exceptional writing from people who traditionally lack opportunities due to mental health issues, disability, identity, health or social circumstance.
Today, (21 July 2022) thirty-six writers from a wide range of working class, LGTBQIA+, and Global Majority backgrounds have been shortlisted for the prize.
Entrants were invited to submit work on the theme ‘How It Started’ in two categories, prose and poetry. The shortlisted pieces explore sexuality, language and migration, how the world might end and what happens after, pirates and angels in the shower, Scottish Chinese restaurants, and the 1980s miners’ strike.
The judges for the 2022 CFWA are best-selling novelist Dorothy Koomson, and 2021 T.S. Eliot prize winner Joelle Taylor, alongside Aki Schilz (The Literary Consultancy) and Sarala Estruch (Poetry School).
This year the competition attracted a record number of entries, with almost 1400 unpublished writers across the UK entering their work–an increase of 186% on 2018. A third of the entrants had never entered a literary competition before. More than half of the entrants noted mental health issues as a barrier to access. The competition saw a third of entrants from a Global Majority background, with 45% from a working class background, and 40% from the LGBTQIA+ community. Two-thirds faced two or more barriers to access.
The winners of the Creative Future Writers’ Award 2022 will be announced on 13 September. All twelve winners will read their winning work and will be celebrated at a special showcase evening as part of the London Literature Festival on 22 October. The winners will share over £12,000 in cash and development prizes and will be published alongside Dorothy Koomson & Joelle Taylor in ‘How It Started’ our anthology for 2022.
THE FULL SHORTLISTS ARE:
Lerah Mae Barcenilla, To Love and Be Loved as a Language Primer
Viktoria Dahill, Texel, Beltex, Cross
Karen Downs-Barton, Framed by Woodgrain
Jay Farley, I wish we’d won the Miners’ Strike
Arden Fitzroy, To the Performer Hesitating in the Wings
Dillon Jaxx, Gaynesis
V.M.R. MacDonald, Trick No Treat
Jay Mitra, Pirates
Adriano Noble, I did not have chlamydia and was not pregnant, godbless
Oluwaseun Olayiwola, There is nothing like that black voice!
Helen Price, From Dr. Kanner’s office
Carlos Mauricio Rojas, the home secretary’s morning routine
Lotte Rosier, Don’t Start With the Weather
Nnadi Samuel, A Glossary of Artillery Terms
Karishma Sangtani, PAPEETA
Celestine Stilwell, 6 weeks.
Gaston Tourn, I’m tired of being a foreigner
Dina Jane Walker, Black, with a dash of black
Yaa Adansi-Pipim, Life, Interrupted
Tara Anegada, Valentine’s Day
Jack Barnaby, The Transcendence of Dawson Oppenheimer
K Devan, Southport
Kym Deyn, The Seraphim
Anne Rosario Azada Elicano-Shields, Twenty-Four Answers to the Life in the U.K. Citizenship Exam
Mary Fitzpatrick, The Magic Bus
Kathy Floyd, Needs Must
Alice Graham, Abomination
Alex Joynes, Fledglings
Martha Lane, Radgie
Hannah Caitlyn Lee, The Kam Sun
Yvonne McLeod, Flibbertigibbet
Caragh Medlicott, The Ward
Olivia Mark, FISH
C. Castle, In Plain Sight
Shagufta Sharmeen Tania, In The Soup
Archie Woolls, As The World Caves In
Matt Freidson, Creative Future Deputy Director says:
“This year’s entries were exceptionally strong, with a really diverse range of entrants, subjects, styles and approaches. We’re really grateful to everyone who submitted and enjoyed reading them all.”
Since its inception in 2013 CFWA stays in regular contact with all 96 award winners – creating supportive, nurturing relationships that enable underrepresented writers to thrive, build on the confidence garnered as a result of their award, and develop their careers. Previous winners have gone on to secure publication and win notable competitions. Click here to find out more about their success.