BAME Open Submission Period

The Borough Press has teamed up with The Good Literary Agency to open submissions for un-agented BAME writers. The winner will receive a £10,000 publishing contract with The Borough Press, representation from The Good Literary Agency, and mentoring from Nikesh Shukla.

The open submission, spearheaded by Assistant Editor Ore Agbaje-Williams, is calling for authors from BAME backgrounds who have written a literary or literary-commercial novel in keeping with the spirit of The Borough Press list – books people want to talk about, either to question or agree; books that span the globe, whether near home or far afield; energetic, modern and eclectic books that inspire passion in readers – to enter the open submission.

Entrants are invited to submit the first three chapters/50 pages of their novel (up to 10,000 words) to from 1st January – 31st March 2019, along with a synopsis of the book and author biography.

The winner of the competition will be selected by judges from HarperCollins and The Good Literary Agency based on their work’s quality and commercial potential.

Ore Agbaje-Williams said: ‘The different backgrounds and heritages of our society are under-represented in various areas across the media, including publishing, and The Borough Press is hugely committed to enabling more of these voices to be heard. That’s why open submissions periods like these for BAME writers are important. To make clear to agents, writers, future editors, and the industry that there is a place for these writers, there are readers who want them. I’m delighted that we can take steps to bring those writers and their stories to a wider audience with The Good Literary Agency.’


Julia Kingsford, Co-founder of The Good Literary Agency said: ‘We’re very excited to be partnering with Borough Press to support them in looking for a great British BAME novelist. We believe that open submissions and competitions can be fantastic ways of increasing opportunities for writers from under-represented backgrounds, especially when they come with ongoing mentoring and support as well as a publishing deal, and when they operate alongside a sustained commitment to change. We can’t wait to see the work of the amazing writers this process will undoubtedly uncover and to working with the best of them on their novels.’


Entered novels do not have to be complete, but must be written in English. All submissions will be read and judged by the imprint’s editors, other members of staff from HarperCollins and The Good Literary Agency.


See full terms and conditions below:


1. This competition is promoted by the Borough Press, a subsidiary of HarperCollins Publishers (“HarperCollins”), The News Building, 1 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9GF
2. This promotion is open to all UK residents and British Citizens (including those residing abroad) without a literary agent except employees of HarperCollins or The Good Literary Agency (or their parent, subsidiaries or any affiliated companies) and their immediate families, who are not allowed to enter the competition.
3. Entrants must be of black, Asian or minority ethnic background, and will need to provide this information in their submission.
4. You must be aged 18 or over to enter this competition.
5. The winner will receive a £10,000 publishing contract with The Borough Press, and representation from The Good Literary Agency
6. All submissions must be sent by email to the designated Open Submission email address:
7. Submissions must be sent between the hours of 00:01 1st January 2019 and 23:59 31st March 2019. No entries received after this date will be accepted. No purchase necessary.
8. Submissions that have been sent by post or means other than email to the correct email address will not be accepted.
9. Each submission should contain:

a) The first three chapters or fifty pages, in either case no more than 10,000 words, of a novel with sequential page numbering included, with the first page being the title page;
b) Synopsis of whole book*, including the complete plot and the story’s end (maximum 500 words); a one paragraph summary of the book; a short list of the main characters; and
c) Author biography, to include any blogs and/or social media information, any creative writing courses attended, short stories published, prizes won, literary or media mentors and contacts, etc. (maximum 1 page).

10. The submission must be in Word format throughout all documents; all documents must be submitted at the same time, attached to a single email (the attachments each to be clearly individually marked as ‘manuscript’, ‘synopsis’, and ‘author biography’); the chapters of the manuscript are to be in one document, NOT sent as separate documents. In addition, each of the three documents should be marked IN THE FILE NAME with the author’s name and the title of the novel and this information should also be marked on every page of each document.
11. In the ‘Subject’ area at the top of an entrant’s submission email, entrants should put the title and their (pen) name.
12. In the body of the email, authors must provide their full name, ethnicity, address, and phone number.
13. Submissions that do not meet requirements of these Terms and Conditions shall not be read.
14. Any submission containing incorrect, false or unreadable information will be rejected.
15. Any submission made on behalf of or for another person, or multiple submissions, will not be read.
16. Novels submitted must be:
a. within the literary or commercial-literary genre, which is to say that novels in other genres will not be considered, thereby excluding – among other genres – children’s and Young Adult fiction, genre fiction (straight science fiction, fantasy, horror or crime) and romantic fiction. Non-fiction will also not be considered.
b. in prose.
c. written in English.
d. not have been previously published/self-published or posted on publishing websites, forums or access platforms such as (but not limited to) Wattpad, Smashwords, Lulu, FanFiction, Completely Novel.
e. not have had an ISBN.

17. No correspondence between The Borough Press, HarperCollins or the hopeful authors can be entered into, unless at The Borough Press’s request, and we will not respond to unsolicited communications.
18. In entering this competition you agree that, if you win, in order to receive your prize you will need to enter into (i) a contract with HarperCollins on its standard author agreement terms, with an advance on royalties of £10,000 (ten thousand pounds) for World rights, and (ii) a contract to sign with The Good Literary Agency, on their standard terms whereby The Good Literary Agency – as the winner’s agent – receive 15% of both the contract advance and novel’s royalty earnings. If more than one entrant is deemed a suitable winner, both or all will receive the same prize. In entering, the winner accepts that they will be contractually obliged to deliver a full version of the novel to HarperCollins and The Good Literary Agency no later than 20th January 2020. In addition to the winner(s), some finalists may have the opportunity to discuss their work with an agent from The Good Literary Agency, who may choose to represent them but is not obliged to, and by entering this contest you agree to be contacted by The Good Literary Agency.

19. The winner of the open submissions period will be notified by 30th June 2019, and an announcement will be made after this time.
20. The prize will be delivered to the winner in four instalments, upon signature of the contracts.
21. The prize is non-refundable, non-transferable and subject to availability. No guarantee is given as to the quality of the prize.
22. No cash or prize alternatives are available.
23. HarperCollins reserve the right in their reasonable discretion to substitute any prize with a prize of equal or greater value.
24. As part of the contract the winning author must be:
a. prepared to undertake editorial work on their novel
b. prepared to undertake publicity and promotional responsibilities
25. There is no obligation on The Borough Press to publish any of the entrants to the Open Submission, in print or in eBook, or to offer any sort of editorial advice.
26. The Borough Press’s decision is final; unsuccessful entrants will be notified but no feedback will be provided on unsuccessful entries.
27. You will retain all copyright in your submission and by submitting your novel you grant HarperCollins and The Good Literary Agency a licence to copy your submission and share it with its affiliates solely for the purpose of reviewing it.
28. Neither HarperCollins nor The Borough Press will be able to return any submissions, so make sure you have a copy stored safely before you submit.
29. Any personal information you give us will be used solely for reviewing your submission and will not be passed on to any other parties without your agreement. HarperCollins’ privacy policy can be found at:
30. HarperCollins and The Good Literary Agency will not be responsible unless required by law, for any loss, changes, costs or expenses, which may arise in connection with this open submission period and HarperCollins can cancel or alter the open submissions period at any stage.
31. HarperCollins’ decision as to who has won the competition shall be final, and no further correspondence shall be entered into.
32. You will retain all copyright in your submission. By submitting your novel you agree that HarperCollins and The Good Literary Agency may share your submission with their affiliates for the purpose of reviewing it.
33. To obtain the name of the competition winner after the closing date, please write to, HarperCollins Publishers, The News Building, 1 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9GF.
34. The entry instructions are part of the Terms and Conditions for this competition.
35. By entering the competition you are agreeing to accept these Terms and Conditions. Any breach of these Terms and Conditions by you will mean that your entry will not be valid, and you will not be allowed to enter this competition.
36. By entering this competition, you are agreeing that if you win your name and image may be used for the purpose of announcing the winner in any related publicity with HarperCollins, without additional payment or permission.
37. All entrants are expected to act fairly and in the good spirit of the competition. HarperCollins reserves the right to investigate any irregularities and disqualify entrants at its absolute discretion.
38. Any personal information you give us will be used solely for this competition and will not be passed on to any other parties without your agreement. HarperCollins’ privacy policy can be found at:
39. Under no circumstances will HarperCollins be responsible for any loss, damages, costs or expenses arising from or in any way connected with any errors, defects, interruptions, malfunctions or delays in the promotion of the competition.
40. Any dispute relating to the competition shall be governed by the laws of England and Wales and will be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.


*For the avoidance of doubt, ‘the synopsis of the whole book’ should give an outline of the books themes and full plot, including spoilers. It is important to show the full story arc and how the characters develop over the course of the book.

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