Literary: First Chapters

Literary: First Chapters

Judged by Simon Trewin

1st prize: £1500. 2nd prize: £300. 3rd prize: £100

5000 words max. + One-Pager

A Literary novel has to be just that. Novel, in some ways. New. We want you to aspire to confound reader expectations. Be experimental. Be lyrical. Be political. Subvert the empirical. If you can deliver that, we’ll give you a platform which may help launch a literary career that lasts longer than Andy Warhol’s 15 minutes.

Simon Trewin is the judge of Literary: First Chapters. He has been a literary agent for the last 30 years and has launched the careers of many internationally published novelists, including John Boyne, Andrew Miller, Mary Costello, Chloe Esposito and Sam Blake. He now runs his own boutique literary agency out of London where he is also developing projects for film, theatre and digital platforms.

Simon maintains a keen interest in discovering new literary voices. Even after 30 years, he’s on the lookout for the start of something wonderful and utterly captivating. That special quality. If you’ve written a Literary novel, or have started writing one, send us the first 5,000 words, plus a One-Pager (300-word plot synopsis).

Dare yourself to write something different and enter Literary: First Chapters. To make the long list (final 20) is a credit of note. To be shortlisted in the top 10 will get your name noticed in the Industry. To be adjudged the winner by Simon, or place second or third, is a prestigious international platform which could get you signed to him, or another literary agent, and promoted to a publisher as a serious talent.

"I am looking for the author who makes me forget I am reading a book. The author who innovates, not imitates. The author who takes me to strange lands."

Simon Trewin

The Prizes

First Prize: £1500

The winning Literary: First Chapters entry will be published on The Plaza Prizes website. The winner will also receive a one-to-one tutorial and detailed feedback from the judge, Simon Trewin.

Second Prize: £300

Third Place: £100

Terms and Conditions



  • Deadline: 31st March 2023
  • Writers can enter any number times. (£20.00. Subsequent entry: £10.00)
  • Entries can be in any style or form, but must be in English, and written for adults.
  • Entries must be submitted online. No email submissions. In exceptional circumstances, postal entry may be accepted, as long as a cheque made out for the correct entry fee is sent to The Plaza Prizes Ltd. (Postal address is on Contact Form.)
  • Enter the correct version of your work. If you make a mistake, entry fees will not be refunded. (You will have to enter again.)


Read the rules carefully before entering the competition. Entry implies acceptance of all the rules and failure to comply will result in disqualification.

All entries are judged anonymously. Please do not include your name, address, phone number, email, website, twitter handle etc on the document or in the file name or it will be disqualified.

Entries will be disqualified if they are over the word limit, or have no One-Pager, and there will be no refund.

Entries must be entirely your own work. They may be from an original work-in-progress or a completed novel.

Entries must NOT have been published on any website, blog or online forum, broadcast.

Entries must NOT have won in any other competition. If your entry was long-listed or shortlisted in other competitions it is eligible.

Simultaneous submissions are allowed but if an entry wins a prize elsewhere, is published or scheduled for future publication, prior to the date of prize giving, you must inform us to withdraw immediately. Entry fees will not be refunded.


A 300-word One-Pager (story synopsis).

The opening chapters of your Literary novel. (5,000 words, max).


£20.00 per Literary: First Chapters entry (with One-Pager plot synopsis). (Subsequent entry: £10.00)

Entries must be submitted online. No email submissions.


  • Entries must be typed in Times New Roman 12 pt. font, double-spaced with numbered pages and the title on every page.
  • Save as a Microsoft Word document (.doc or .docx) or PDF file with the title as the file name. Do not include your name in the file name as this will lead to disqualification.
  • Max 2MB file. Include the word count for the One-Pager, and Literary: First Chapters, top right, first page.
  • Do not add cover pages
  • No illustrated work


The judges’ decision is final. No individual correspondence can be entered into. Judges are unable to comment on individual entries. The Plaza Prizes reserves the right to change the judge without notice.


Copyright remains with the author, but The Plaza Prizes reserves the right to publish extracts from winner and runner-up on the website, and also to use quotations from the 10 shortlisted entries for publicity purposes.

Results & Awards

The winner and runner up will be announced on the website and social media on 1st July 2023. Extracts from first, second, and third place memoirs will be published on our website on 15th July.

Bursary Scheme

In 2022-2023, we are offering 50 FREE ENTRY BURSARIES across all our competitions to writers on low incomes, and from underrepresented groups. You can apply for a bursary if low income, class, race, age, gender, sexuality, caring responsibilities, location, disability, or mental and physical health affects your writing. We want to encourage equality to discover quality new writing from diverse voices. Click here to apply for our Bursary Scheme.


The Plaza Prizes expects to be recognised in any long listed or shortlisted Literary novels that are subsequently published.

The Plaza Prizes reserves the right to amend the rules where it deems necessary. Any changes to the rules will be posted on our website.

If you have a query about eligibility, please contact: hello@theplazaprizes.com

Are you ready to share your creation?

Enter now